In the second week of our ongoing series about Brightbytes,an online platform that helps schools determine the impact of their technologies on student learning, we continue to focus on Teacher Use of the 4 C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity). This week, we are inviting educators to consider how they offer students a voice in the conversation regarding digital citizenship. 

(Image credit: Wesley Fryer) 

Why do we teach digital citizenship?

Here are just a few reasons from the EdTechReview:

  • Due to the fact that a lot of young kids embrace technology every day without examining the consequence of implementation, we must bring digital citizenship lesson in the curriculum. Students continue to use devices whether the device has been embraced in their curriculum or not. They are in touch with technology even after the surveillance of teacher i.e after school. Therefore, there is a need to teach them digital citizenship.
  • Today, with digitalization, employers judge prospective students or employees for their social media profile. So, it is important to teach students how to create online personas that project positive and constructive image.
  • Cyber-bullying is another reason for teaching digital citizenship. We can only prevent cyber-bullying by educating students about digital citizenship. Lack of awareness about digital citizenship can lead to the cyber-bullying which has grave consequences at times.
  • Information Search and Analysis is an important aspect of Digital Citizenship. There are lots of resources available over the Internet and not all is authentic. Digital citizenship teaches students how to look out, select, and streamline information and how to choose a real and authentic source of information.

How do we teach digital citizenship?

This is an ongoing conversation. There are lots of great resources out there, but two highly recommended ones are Common Sense Education and Be Internet Awesome. Additionally our district is currently part of the Applied Digital Skills pilot for Google (secondary aged students only) so please contact Heather Sanders or Lindsay Foster to get access to the program materials and try them with your middle or high school students.

Whose responsibility is it to teach digital citizenship?

Everyone has a responsibility in teaching digital citizenship. When the “teachable moment” arises, use it. Your LT team is working to build lessons and incorporate digital citizenship within the scope and sequence of your lessons so that it is embedded just as teaching appropriate social behaviors and manners are part of your classroom. However, you are not limited to those lessons; take the teachable moment and help our students. In addition, add them to the conversation…

Give Students a Voice in the Digital Citizenship Conversation

The Challenge

If you ask your students, you’ll likely find that they know the basics of right from wrong in their online behavior. But they don’t always act according to this knowledge and aren’t always able to see the long-term consequences of their online activity. As Don Orth writes in Independent School Magazine, “we cannot predict what technology will look like in 20, 10, or even 5 years. But we do know that children will always need our guidance in managing and navigating the increasingly complex digital world.”

What You Can Do

Help students articulate what they know about digital citizenship through multimedia projects like those found on Common Sense Education. Start by having discussions with students about what it means to be a good digital citizen and brainstorm the topics that they think are at the forefront for the school community. Have them use the Common Sense Education videos as inspiration, and make arrangements for them to conduct interviews or create another form of public service announcement that will be shared with the school community or beyond.

Take time to involve both students and adults at the school in order to convey the message that this topic is important to everyone. Once students have finished producing the videos, organize a school-wide showcase. Then use the topics students identified to create lessons and address the issues that they are struggling with. You can even use the videos throughout the year to start discussions about the improvements students have made in their online and technology use and gauge where they still need more practice or instruction.

Check out The Global Digital Citizenship Foundation for a resource library that can be used for various audiences.

For a downloadable PDF of the information shared, please click here.

Lindsay Foster

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#Why Brightbytes: Digital Citizenship

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