How can we teach kids to use technology responsibly when the technology is changing faster than we can keep up? How can we help students — and teachers — understand that good digital citizenship also involves using digital tools to do good things in the world?
Grappling with these questions is just the beginning of the digital citizenship conversation. Most educators recognize the need for it, but many struggle with the best way to teach it.
In classrooms where digital citizenship is taught effectively, teachers have two things in common: They model ethical technology use for their students on a daily basis, and they naturally incorporate conversations about it whenever technology is part of their lesson plan. In other words, they weave digital citizenship seamlessly throughout their curriculum. Here are some resources to help:
1. Infographic: I'm a digital citizen!
Schools have long woven citizenship lessons into their curricula, but now that much of our social interaction happens online, educators need to understand how to teach students about responsible digital citizenship as well. In this infographic, learn about the five competencies of #DigCitCommit, is a movement created by a coalition of organizations committed to giving all educators the tools to prepare students to stay safe, solve problems and become a force for good. DigCitCommit wants to change the conversation around digital citizenship to focus on the do's not the don'ts.
2. Don’t teach digital citizenship — embed it!
Educators know that kids do best when they can learn something authentically, by figuring out their own answers to real-world problems that are relevant to their lives. In this blog post, educator Heather Marrs writes, digital citizenship is a key skill for living and working in a connected world. And if students don't learn this important skill set in an authentic way, it will be just another abstract idea that becomes real only when they run into problems down the road.
3. Help students take ownership of their digital lives
All students need digital citizenship skills to participate fully in their communities and make smart choices online and in life. Empower students to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in a digital world with Common Sense Media’s K-12 curriculum.
4. Digital Citizenship in Action
This ISTE U course will guide you in exploring various sets of learning standards, identifying frameworks for digcit education, integrating digcit across content areas, and even sharing how students can connect online to participate in social justice and sustainability projects.
5. 7 tips and 1 activity to help students interact respectfully online
In this blog post, Kristen Mattson, Ed.D., shares some useful classroom activities that help students learn how to interact online in a thoughtful, productive manner.
6. What prevention science tells us about cyberbullying
It's easy to focus on the screens. Screens follow some rules, they can be tucked away, they can be banned. But if your solution to cyberbullying rests only on the screen, you're missing the larger point. In this blog post, digital citizenship expert Carrie Rogers-Whitehead writes that if programs and training on digital citizenship do not focus on risk factors, they will never fully address the problems that stem from technology use.
7. A new twist on cyberbullying
How do we teach digital citizenship to older students, who don’t respond well to lecturing and finger pointing? Instructional technology coordinator Cynde Reneau shares her strategies for guiding students to draw their own conclusions about cyberbullying.
8. Teach digital citizenship all year, every year
While many schools address digital citizenship through the occasional school assembly or one-off lesson plan, administrators at Rowan-Salisbury School District knew they needed to go bigger. In this blog post, find out how they paid 25 teachers from around the district to develop a comprehensive K-12 digital citizenship curriculum.
9. Teaching fact vs. fiction
How do we teach our kids to tell fact from fiction when deep-fake technology has created a world where seeing is no longer believing? As with most things related to social media, the internet and media literacy, it’s complicated, but not impossible. In this blog post by authors Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgins, you learn tips for helping students navigate this treacherous terrain.
This is an updated version of a post that was first published on Dec. 24, 2014.
Nicole Krueger is a freelance writer and journalist with a passion for finding out what makes learners tick.