George Lucas Educational Foundation

How do we teach Digital Citizenship?

How do we teach Digital Citizenship?

Related Tags: Digital Citizenship
More Related Discussions
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

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.

Comments (13) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

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.

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

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

Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

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,

Kristen Swanson's picture
Kristen Swanson
Teacher, Leader, Edcamper, Learner

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:

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

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.

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

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:

Eric Langhorst's picture

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

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

This looks great Eric! I will try to stop by!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I had a great discussion with friends this morning that I think is important.
We talk about kids being Millenials and Digital Natives, but all that means is that they have grown up with this technology. It doesn't mean they automatically know how to use it well, or to its highest purpose. As an analogy, I've had a crock pot and microwave for years, but it's only now that I need to save time that I've learned to use them effectively rather than occasional soup pots.
As educators and parents, we're just learning how to use this tech and how to be comfortable with it ourselves (if we are comfy with it at all, which some are not.) So maybe part of the discussion is not only teaching them digital citizenship, but also teaching aspects of it to parents and other educators as well.
It's easy to assume adults know about this, but I run into folks that clearly don't understand even how boolean search works and how to improve their use of Google, let alone using social media and cultivating a good digital footprint.
So the next question is how do we teach the community as a whole, and where do we start? How basic and how advanced do we get? How do we make sure everyone has the same basic skill or tool set, when the tools change and evolve daily?

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; Elementary Library Media Specialist

Whitney, I like these questions!
"So the next question is how do we teach the community as a whole, and where do we start? How basic and how advanced do we get? How do we make sure everyone has the same basic skill or tool set, when the tools change and evolve daily?"

I think it's less about the individual tools than it is about learning to be a problem solver and a learner. I'm reminded of my early grades "computers" classes from when I was a child. There was a HUGE emphasis on learning BASIC. We spent a lot of time on learning programming language which is essentially obsolete at this point. Was it a waste? Maybe- but I learned the basics (heh- see what I did there?) of how computers function, I learned that I had to be specific and exact in my commands, and I learned that technology wasn't anything to be afraid of- all lessons that I use every day.

So I guess we use the specific tools available to us today to teach kids how to use tools in general- how to seek them out, how to match the tool with the task, how to assess whether the tool actually does what we need it to do- and then we trust that they'll transfer those skills when the time comes.

(Btw- thanks for noting that Digital Natives aren't necessarily digital savants, born with an innate understanding of how to fix your iPhone. We don't do kids any favors when we assume they have a level of proficiency that may not exist.)

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.