Common Sense Media defines digital citizenship as the “ability to think critically, behave safely and participate safely in the digital world.” With 1:1 becoming common among districts, it is important to think about the management of devices and knowing the tools to integrate into our curriculum. However, it is critical we also think about how our students and teachers will be interacting with the internet. With instant connection to the global world at their fingertips, we have to teach them proper online communication and appropriate internet searching. No, our students really don’t have these skills the moment the device gets into the hands. Parents and teachers should model and discuss the culture and community of being online just like we would teach this to our own classroom community. Rather than thinking of Digital Citizenship as a separate entity, let’s think about how to take a couple of minutes during the lesson to have the conversation with students while it is relevant. Think about those strategies you use with your students during Morning Meeting, Advisory Class, or simply when a situation arises. Can you use the same strategy while modeling online behavior and talk through the process? With maybe a few tweaks, I believe you can use the same strategy.
It is also critical that you familiarize yourself with the district’s RUP/AUP. This document discusses the expectations of technology use with district-issued devices. Using the same language written in the RUP/AUP will help reinforce the importance of being safe and smart while on a device. If your district does not have one yet, maybe your class can create their own Digital Citizenship Rules or Code of Conduct. Here is an example of a poster that was created that emphasizes the essential components of Digital Citizenship.
As I pursue my learning with both Common Sense Media and Netzsmartz my goal will be to blog about each of the topics, listed below, as a way for me to process and reflect on my own learning. My hope is for you, as the reader, to learn some basic information about digital citizenship in order to start modeling and talking about it with your students.
- Internet Safety
- Digital Footprint/Reputation
- Self Image & Identity
- Information Literacy
- Creative Credit & Copyright
- Cyberbullying & Digital Drama
- Relationships & Communication