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Digital Citizenship Week: 6 Resources for Educators

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Considering how ubiquitous smartphones and tablets have become, especially in high school and middle school, questions about managing use and educating students about digital etiquette are on a lot of educators' minds.

This year, in conjunction with October’s Connected Educator Month, Common Sense Media is sponsoring Digital Citizenship Week from October 18 to October 24. And we wanted to pull together some of the best resources to help educators talk about digital responsibility and safety online. Here, you'll find resources that cover today's digital landscape, ideas for student activities, and strategies for engaging parents. There are plenty of valuable resources for educators and parents to share, but here are six of my favorites:

  • Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum for K-12: Common Sense Media’s interactive curriculum offers something for every grade level. Check out the "Scope & Sequence" tool to find the perfect lesson for your classroom. Plus, you can incorporate Digital Passport activities in lessons for students in grades 3-5. The interactive assessments and videos are super engaging, as well.
  • Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum From iKeepSafe and Google: Co-produced by iKeepSafe and Google, this digital-literacy curriculum for middle school and high school students provides three lessons to help kids find reliable information online, manage their reputations, and recognize scams. Additionally, check out iKeepSafe's educator resources for professional-development modules for teachers and a variety of activities to use with students.
  • CyberWise Resources for Parents and Educators: CyberWise is a hub of information related to all things digital. The site's focus is on educating parents and educators about digital trends, and there are topic hubs for a range of subjects including Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying, and Online Security. If you're new to the subject, this is a wonderful place to jump into the conversation.
  • Lessons for Teaching Digital Citizenship From Cable Impacts: InCtrl is a series of lessons for students in grades 4-8 designed to introduce digital-citizenship concepts. Topics covered include media literacy, copyright laws, and privacy. Teachers can browse lessons by subject and topic, and each lesson includes plans and materials.
  • Resources for Teaching Digital Literacy From Digizen: Digizen is a repository of useful and engaging resources to teach students of all ages about becoming upstanding digital citizens. Produced by the U.K.-based child safety nonprofit ChildNet International, Digizen features videos, lesson plans, and games, and there are different sections for parents, students, and teachers.
  • Digital Citizenship Videos From Teaching Channel: This Teaching Channel playlist of 30 videos, developed in cooperation with Common Sense Media, highlights ways classroom teachers are introducing digital citizenship concepts to students. There are resources here for every grade, and each video provides a lesson plan, as well.

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Diana Graber's picture
Diana Graber
Co-Founder, CyberWise.org

Thanks so much Edutopia for including us in your round-up on this important topic. Like you, we believe every child (and parent!) should be taught how to be a good digital citizen! Thanks for shedding light on all the great tools there are to help educators do just that. Hoot, hoot!

Melanie Link Taylor's picture
Melanie Link Taylor
Educator, Blogger, Southern California

Excellent article. It is true, the power of the peer group is now overwhelming due to the digital age. A hurtful nickname from seventh grade can now follow a student over state lines--and that's minimally what can happen. Aggressive kids can organize and harass with the expertise of a D Day invasion. Hopefully, with parents and schools collaborating with specialized supervision and counseling, the effects can be minimized.

BxNS_Kevin's picture

Not only should we be teaching about digital citizenship, but citizenship and character in all aspects of our lives. "Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education" Martin Luther King Jr.

Lindsey Gale's picture

I really enjoyed all the resources you provided. My favorite resource is the Media Smarts because it gives you so many choices. Digital Citizenship is so crucial in schools now because more and more technology is being used to teach. Thank you for providing this many resources for to explore and use.

Tina Lewis's picture

Excellent resources!! I teach K-5 and have found that it's difficult to find material to teach citizenship to such a wide range of ages. It's so important to start this early with children. It simply cannot wait until students are in 5th grade or higher. I want to instill in my students early on what it means to be responsible and use appropriate behavior on the internet. I'm very impressed with the Common Sense Education and especially the Digital Passport resource. Thank you for sharing so many ideas!

Kimberly Blackburn's picture

These are wonderful resources. Teaching digital citizenship is so important in this day in age where students in many cases have round the clock access to the internet. Teaching students how to use technology responsibly is essential, whether it is teaching them email etiquette or how to act responsibly with social media sources. Digital citizenship is something that students need to know and is a lifelong skill that they will be able to hopefully continue to use.

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