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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How do we teach Digital Citizenship?

How do we teach Digital Citizenship?

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Everyone- parents, teachers and students- can agree that being a "good citizen" is important. We try to teach children these skills early on at home, in the classroom, and even on the playground. Now, our students socialize as much through text messages and Facebook posts as they do in the hallways, and often times these conversations happening outside of the classroom effect the environment inside of the school as well.

While we are all aware of cyberbullying, are we also taking the time to teach kids about internet safety, being informed consumers with internet commerce, or what is or is not okay with digital intellectual property rights and remix?

How do you define a good digital citizen, and how do we teach these skills? When should we start teaching skills to students? Are these skills that parents need to take on, or are they something integral to the classroom?

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Becky Fisher's picture
Becky Fisher
Education Consultant

Digital citizenship is so important to teach both in and out of schools. It's important to start teaching kids these skills from the first day they touch a digital device, which is probably before they can even talk. Kids see their parents on phones, tablets, and computers. Once kids begin to use these on a regular basis, it's important to begin teaching them how to be good citizens in the digital space.

There are tons of resources for teachers and parents. Here are a few on

Resource Roundup:

A few months ago, Launchpad Toys teamed up with Common Sense Media to promote digital citizenship through a toon-creating contest. You can check out what the kids made here:

What other resources are out there for teachers and parents? Should parents be starting to teach digital citizenship as soon as kids start using technology?

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

We just had a conversation about this yesterday in a meeting at Antioch. We've been reframing our PBL and EdTech programs so they better inform one another and the concept of Digital Citizenship was a new one for some of the folks in the meeting. Ultimately, we agreed that we needed to approach it as we would approach any other skill or disposition we wanted to teach kids- define it in clear, observable, kid-friendly behaviors, provide problems for kids to solve that allowed them to practice those behaviors, and help kids to reflect upon their experiences.

I think the trickier part is that many grown-ups don't have a clear understanding of what the term means. :-)

Jones Murrey's picture
Jones Murrey
Content Writer - Academic Wrtier - Business Plan Writer - Article Writer

It good to see the post here about Digital Citizenship.
I would like to add some more information regarding this topic.
Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately.
Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology.
Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology but not sure what to do.
The issue is more than what the users do not know but what is considered appropriate technology usage.

If you are interested in additional information so do not hesitate to contact me.

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