Thursday, May 7, 2015

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is such an important topic when working with students.  Too many times, we hear heart-breaking stories on the news: how a child was abducted by someone they met online, a suicide that was caused by cyberbullying, and more.  Our students do not realize that what they do and say online can haunt them forever.  It is our responsibility as educators and technical staff to teach our students how to protect themselves online.  Fortunately, there is a tremendous amount of quality resources online to help us.

There are nine elements or themes of Digital Citizenship.  Each one is as important as the other and need to be addressed in our schools.  They are:

  1. Digital Access - full electronic participation in society
  2. Digital Commerce - electronic buying and selling of goods
  3. Digital Communications - electronic exchange of information
  4. Digital Literacy - process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology
  5. Digital Etiquette - electronic standards of conduct or procedure
  6. Digital Law - electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
  7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities - those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world
  8. Digital Health and Wellness - physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world
  9. Digital Security - electronic precautions to guarantee safety

Common Sense Media's mission is "dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology."  They provide quality resources for both parents and school for educating students of all ages.  This is a free resource for teachers. On their website, there is a gadget that you can use to explore appropriate movies, games, tv shows, books, apps, websites and music by age level.   They also have their "Top Pics" for each of these forms of electronic media.  For parents, they help provide answers to questions about social media, cybersafety, privacy and internet safety and more.  For educators, they have developed curriculum to help teach online safety to children of all ages in a safe, but informational way.  You can even become a Common Sense Certified Educator.

They have also developed a platform called Graphite that helps educators "discover the best apps, games, and websites for classroom use."  I particularly like that you can search their Common Core Explorer by CCSS (currently only Math and Language Arts, Science coming soon!) for all grade levels for appropriate electronic resources that align to the standard(s) you are working on. They have Lesson Flows which are lesson plans with age-appropriate apps tied into the lesson.

i-SAFE was established as a non-profit Internet safety organization since 1998.  According to their website, they have "developed one of the most extensive e-Safety education curriculum libraries in the world."  I have previously used their curriculum in the past and found it to be very complete and thorough.  They have a new version of their curriculum which is web-based.  I've not found it as easy to use or to preview.  They have been very big on student involvement via assemblies and campaigns.  I've found their videos to be current and well made.  This program is not free, unlike Common Sense Media,

TeachInCtrl is a series of free standards-based lessons that were originally developed by Cable in the Classroom.  These lessons cover key digital citizenship concepts for students in grades 4-8.  These lessons involve inquiry-based activities and opportunities to collaborate with others.  Lessons include Communication & Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Privacy, Media Literacy, Cyberbullying, Ethics/Copyright and Information Literacy.  There are also subject-specific ideas on how to integrate digital citizenship topics in to your classroom.  Lesson materials are provided for teachers.  

Even our friends at Google have a series of lessons for teachers on how to strengthen digital literacy skills in their classroom.  They offer an Introduction and a Basics module to help teachers understand how to address Digital Citizenship in class.  I have found Google's trainings on other topics to be very good.  I think that it is important to note that Google feels that it is important for those working on their Google certifications to be exposed to this as well.

Twitter chats are one of my favorite forms of professional development for teachers.  One of the most popular chats is #digcit.  This chat takes place every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at 7pm eastern.  Archives of the chat as well as resources for addressing Digital Citzenship in your classroom can be found there.

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