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How do we teach Digital Citizenship?

Whitney Hoffman Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

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?

Comments (13)

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Education Consultant

Digital citizenship is so

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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?

Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal

We just had a conversation

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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. :-)

Content Writer - Academic Wrtier - Business Plan Writer - Article Writer

It good to see the post here

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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.

Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Jones- Thanks for

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Hi Jones- Thanks for contributing- please feel free to add more information to this thread!

You are exactly right- Digital citizenship is a whole mindset adults and students need for dealing with a world where technology, and communicating and collaboration will be driven and mediated by technology. It's foundational to what we need to be teaching students at all levels, in the course of all their other academic instruction.

Content Writer - Academic Wrtier - Business Plan Writer - Article Writer

Dear Whitney, Thanks for

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Dear Whitney,
Thanks for appreciate, sure I will add more information about digital citizenship but right now I helping university student because he is worrying about his marketing assignment and he have to submit in this current week, so currently I am working on his custom assignment. But I will add more.
Thanks for accept my comments.
Take Care

Co-Director East Bay WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

I find that high school

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I find that high school Freshmen (my context) benefit from an incremental approach to this issue. We start with Edmodo accounts, and making agreements as a class about how we will use the space, and hold it well. The students very often agree that safety, respect and responsibility are appropriate and reasonable. I have them work in small groups of four on the development of our norms. As we use Edmodo, we then begin talking about how to use other tech tools like which can lead to Twitter. We also set up wikis as digital portfolios . One of our first projects is to create a Voki and a Glogster. E discuss the importance of not putting too much personal info on their wikis, so that they cannot be identified too easily by people who do not know them, thus bringing up the issue of safety. As we do each digital project, we remind each other (the students will remind me a well!) of our agreements, and we begin talking about plagiarism, intellectual property rights, and appropriate citation protocols. Lastly, as we pair our French classes with classes in other countries, we speak about cross cultural issues, mutual respect, and such. Embedding these important concepts into real life tasks and projects has been a very successful way to help students understand their responsibilities in our global community .

How about others? How do you invite your students into reflection about digital safety, respect and responsibility?

Best wishes,

Teacher, Leader, Edcamper, Learner

Based on some of the research

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Based on some of the research that I've seen, I don't think we're spending enough time teaching digital citizenship as a whole. This is something that should be subject-independent and grade-independent. Common sense has some great resources to help here:

Digital Resource Curator at Edutopia

Just chiming in to add some

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Just chiming in to add some information about a webinar on this topic on October 24 that might be worth checking out: Empowering Students to be Digital Citizens. The webinar will be conducted by and Common Sense Media for Connected Educators, as part of Connected Educator Month.

Senior Manager of Video Programming, Production, & Curation at Edutopia

There are some great

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There are some great resources out there for this incredibly valuable and ever-changing topic. If you're a Twitter user, the hashtag #digcit will turn up some good resources and conversations.

Also, I know Common Sense Media has been mentioned a few times, but I wanted to link directly to their K-12 Digital Citizenship curriculum:

And here's a short video that introduces it:

Another intriguing Digital Citizenship package for teachers is the one created by Google and YouTube, this one specific to secondary students:

I recently wrote a guest blog

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I recently wrote a guest blog post for Cable in the Classroom entitled "Teaching Digital Citizenship Everyday"

I am also participating in a free webinar taking place on Wednesday, October 23rd at 4:00 PM EST. You can register to attend here:

Thanks. It is an important discussion that we needs to have with our students.

Eric Langhorst
Liberty, Missouri

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