In our digital world we are expected to portray ourselves in a positive manner. Yet how can we expect students to understand how to portray themselves without role models and teachings from educators and parents? That is why it so crucial for schools to become advocates for digital citizenship courses and even more crucial for schools and parents to work together in teaching children to be prepared to behave in a digital world. Fortunately for schools, educators, and parents there are useful online resources and tools to help teach about digital citizenship.
One of those useful tools is Digital Driver’s License (DDL), this program is online and free to use for schools, educators, and parents. The DDL program takes students through digital citizenship lessons and at the end of the program students can earn their digital driver’s license. DDL is geared more towards middle and high school students, but it does a good job of ensuring students are mastering digital citizenship skills, because after each lesson topic it assesses the students knowledge. By doing this, a teacher or parent can identify where a student is struggling and can discuss those areas to ensure the student understands the material.
Another online resource/tool is Common Sense Media. This website has a K-8 curriculum which is set up through a scope and sequence, so if schools would like to use the scope and sequence for their digital citizenship program they may or teachers can pick and choose from a list of topics by grade level. Every lesson can be downloaded in printable format and they are easy to follow with digital citizenship objectives and essential questions. Also each lesson comes with a letter that can be sent home to parents to ensure parents know what is being taught and to help the parents reinforce skills at home. Part of the Common Sense digital citizenship program is its digital passport program. The digital passport is aimed for students in grades 3-5. This program allows teachers to assign certain digital citizenship skills, of which there are six. Each skill has a short video told from a student’s perspective and after each video there is a game quizzing the students about the digital skill.
Other digital citizenship resources/tools I found are: Kings Canyon Unified School District and Google Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum. Kings Canyon School District has their digital citizenship lesson plans on their website, everything is laid out by grade level from K-12. There philosophy is to teach two lessons a year to K-2nd grade students. The first lesson is to be taught in January and the second in May. For grades 3-12 they teach four lessons a year in August/September, October, January, and May. Their lesson plans are easy to access and they also offer supplemental resources for each lesson. The Google Curriculum is for middle school students. It offers three 50-minute lesson plans based on evaluating the credibility of content online, the importance of online citizenship, and how to conduct yourself online.
Being an elementary education teacher I find the Common Sense Media more to my liking. I like how they have a curriculum scope and sequence in the K-8 program. I appreciate that they have the digital passport program as a tool to go along with the lesson plans. I have already started using some of the Common Sense lesson plans in my classroom. Last week I started teaching digital citizenship. As a class we discussed what students already knew about digital citizenship and what they want to know about it. We also used the Common Sense Media lesson Staying Safe Online. During the lesson my students learned about Internet safety. I was pleased to see most of my students already had a good grasp on Internet safety and that if anything seems inappropriate to let their parents or an adult know. In my classroom the digital citizenship concepts I plan to teach my 3rd graders are: digital footprint, privacy and security, relationships and communication and Internet safety. Commons Sense Media has been a critical resource to help me teach my students digital citizenship.
Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Retrieved March 2, 2014 from
Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Digital passport by common sense media.
Retrieved March 2, 2014 from https://www.digitalpassport.org/educator-registration
Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Staying safe online. Retrieved March 2, 2014
Digital Driver’s License. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2014 from
Google. Google digital literacy and citizenship curriculum. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2,
Kings Canyon Unified School District. (2006). Digital citizenship lessons k-12.
Retrieved March 2, 2014 from http://www.kcusd.com/Page/54