Interested in teaching digital citizenship skills and habits to your youngest students? Join us to learn about some resources you can utilize to reach this goal in your K-5 classroom.
In this course, leaders will learn about the history and current state of digital citizenship education. Leaders will then critically evaluate the explicit, implicit, and null curriculum around digital citizenship in their schools. Throughout the course, participants will dive deep into each of the six competencies of a digital citizen by growing in their own competency knowledge, examining resources to bring into their schools, and considering how each competency can be further supported. Leaders will finish the course by developing an action plan to improve digital citizenship education that addresses immediate, short-term, and long-term goals.
This course will take 6 hours to complete with a one hour break for lunch. Completion of this workshop will result in 1 AA credit or 6 PD Hours.
Note: This article was originally published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) on February 5, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission, and the permission of the author. You can read the original here.
Today is Safer Internet Day, an occasion to recommit to best practices for protecting digital identity. In the spirit of this important celebration, we’re proud to feature an article by the LTC’s Nicole Zumpano, originally published by ISTE. Each of its timely resources and recommendation will help you make digital literacy and internet safety a cornerstone of your classroom year-round.
As adults, we do everything possible to keep our computers, bank accounts and families safe. Our list of to-dos continues to grow as our use of digital technologies increases. While these tasks are rote to most adults, we can’t expect that our students will follow our lead.
It is our responsibility as educators to make sure learners know how to do more than surf the web and consume media. All educators — from classroom teachers to technology coaches and school administrators — should lead the discussion on digital literacy. Here are some ways to make sure our students stay safe and secure online:
Teach students to conduct data mines (on themselves)
Students should do this every 3-6 months. While many will Google their names, we need to teach them to dig deeper. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Log out of internet browsers before searching (staying logged in can affect the results).
- Search (using quotation marks) full legal names, nicknames and usernames.
- Search Google Images with names/usernames.
- Use multiple browsers, such as Chrome, Bing, Yahoo, Safari and Firefox.
- Look beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep until the name/username no longer appears. Take note of what kind of results appear (presentations/social media/images/etc.).
Here’s an exercise I give to graduate students, but it can easily be replicated for high school students.
Check privacy settings on social media accounts
Because many sites may be blocked during school hours, allow students to check privacy settings on those that are not. At a minimum, show students how to access privacy settings (perhaps through a screencast or screenshot). On each social media site, students should:
- Check privacy settings to see who can view posts.
- Go through “friends” lists and remove people who should not be there.
- Search posts and remove any that they wouldn’t want a parent, teacher, employer or college official to see.
- Look at tagged images that others have posted.
Watch the video below to seen how Katrina Traylor Rice taught students about digital privacy while teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights.
Teach digital literacies
Digital literacy is a term that has many moving parts. Students need guidance on varying types of literacy, including media (how to “read” media), social (how to interact in an online environment), and information (the ability to locate, evaluate and properly use information).
Safety falls into this category as well. Students need to know, understand and apply password algorithms as well as recognize scams and understand how their data is being tracked and used by companies.
Stress the importance of digital maintenance
This is the spelling list or cursive practice of the digital world. It’s not glamorous to teach but essential for students to know:
- Teach students how to download Google Drive files to an external drive.
- Remind them to backup Drive files, important emails, smartphone photos/apps/etc. at least once a month.
- Make sure parents have access to account passwords in the event of emergencies. Have them write the accounts/passwords on a piece of paper and place it in an envelope in a safe yet visible place.
- Reiterate the importance of logging out of accounts, not simply closing the browser window.
Teaching digital responsibility is not just for middle school teachers or library media specialists. It’s everyone’s duty, and we must start with kindergartners. Consider developing a digital media scope-and-sequence to address what should be taught at each grade.
This is something that can be developed by teachers, students and parents alike. At a minimum, make a commitment with grade-level colleagues that you’ll help teach students how to be safe and secure digital citizens. A good place to begin is by reviewing the ISTE Standards for Students.
Being alert — being aware of online actions, and knowing how to be safe and create safe spaces for others online — is one of the five competencies of the #DigCitCommit campaign. Watch the video below to learn how you can get involved in the movement.
Digital Citizenship Week 2020 (October 19-23) has come and passed, but that doesn’t mean your students have missed out on an opportunity to grow their 21st century skillset. Many leading EdTech companies and organizations offer resources and tools for year-round digital citizenship education.
If you’re still looking for ways to include digital citizenship essentials in your class’ curriculum, be sure to check out the following resources and tools while drawing up your lesson plans.
What is Digital Citizenship?
In essence, “digital citizenship” is a collection of thoughts and actions that promote positive, honest, and critical discussions among digital community members. Often, digital citizenship takes the form of adaptable routines that allow an individual to safely and securely navigate digital content – both in and out of the classroom.
Without a doubt, digital citizenship is important for students to learn year-round. Even a lesson or two on the core principles of digital citizenship can help students implement it in their daily lives. Building awareness for these principles starts in the classroom, though, which is why educators across the spectrum should consider utilizing the following digital citizenship tools and resources.
Resources for Year-Round Digital Citizenship
Be Internet Awesome
Be Internet Awesome is a recent Google-led initiative to empower students to make educated decisions online.
This initiative’s curricular materials focus on teaching students both the knowledge and practical skills needed to be smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online. Each lesson has also been designed to stand on its own. As a result, educators who want to make the most of their classroom time can drop a lesson into their pre-existing curriculum.
Google has also produced a high-quality, interactive adventure – Interland – that students of numerous grade levels can enjoy. Each Be Internet Awesome curriculum lesson is capped with an Interland experience, so students will be able to immediately put what they’ve learned into practice.
Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education has recognized an ongoing need to build flexible, contemporary skillsets for navigating the open internet. That’s why they’ve created a variety of curricular resources for grades 5-18 – each of which include age-appropriate activities that will help students take ownership of their digital lives.
Common Sense Education’s digital citizenship content is also designed with simplified incorporation in mind. That’s why they’ve also put out this useful Implementation Guide for free. In it, you’ll find planning guides, case studies, and classroom posters that can help your department form a unified approach to teaching digital citizenship.
New for 2020
This year, Common Sense Education again added to their Digital Citizenship Week catalogue of free resources. In particular, their Digital Citizenship Week 2020 collection includes new ways to engage grade, middle, and high school students. This includes short and long lessons centered around open-ended questions, such as “how am I being a digital citizen today?” and “how can I think critically about the things I see, create, and share?”
All of these new resources can be implemented efficiently, as well. Each set of lessons comes with a customizable planning calendar and student activity sheets that align with each lesson’s goals.
Tools for Supporting Digital Citizenship
One key aspect of digital citizenship revolves around the prevention and elimination of cyberbullying, as well as other negative online behavior patterns. While that can take some practice over time, Securly’s Auditor engine can support an educator’s efforts to spot violence and graphic content in student-related communications before they become a problem.
At the same time, Auditor can help identify at-risk students early on. In particular, Auditor’s interface allows educators to continuously scan emails, attachments, and documents – all within Google Suite. Any tagged material is then brought immediately to an admin’s attention via a responsive alert system.
Impero’s back:drop is another well-regarded digital classroom management platform that digital citizenship-focused educators should take note of. This free-forever platform is FERPA-, COPPA-, and HIPAA- compliant, making it ideal for use in schools where student data security is a top priority.
Purchasing Opportunities through ILTPP
Several of the companies mentioned above – including Impero and Securly – are vendor partners of the Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP). ILTPP is an LTC cooperative program that aggregates buying power and expertise to procure technology products and services for educational institutions across the state.
Through ILTPP, your school or district may be able to obtain a discount when purchasing several of the digital citizenship-building resources and tools outlined above. Check out their website to learn more about ILTPP’s current purchasing opportunities.
The LTC also provides additional support and resources for educators who are looking to enhance their curricular offerings. Be sure to check our website often for new online courses, PD opportunities, and more.
Students are spending more time learning online than ever before. How do we help students do so safely, appropriately, and effectively during remote learning? How can teachers develop safe and secure online learning environments? Join Lisa Schwartz and Matt Jacobson for a discussion of tips and resources to help you promote Digital Citizenship while learning remotely.
Matt Jacobson is the Online Learning Specialist for the Learning Technology Center of Illinois. Matt develops engaging synchronous and asynchronous online and in-person training opportunities for educators and administrators. He also provides coaching, consulting, and training services for schools developing online and blended learning activities for students and staff. Matt provides administration and coaching on a variety of Learning Management Systems and many other online tools.
Matt provides almost three decades of experience in helping students and schools innovate. Prior to working with the LTC, Matt was a middle school consultant and has worked as a teacher, administrator, coach, and trainer for preK-12 schools in central Illinois.
What is Digital Citizenship?
Digital Citizenship is more than just teaching students how to be safe online. Good digital citizens know how to use technology to foster better online communities with both local and global relationships. They can identify the validity of information and use technology to communicate responsibly and respectfully, even with individuals who don’t share their views. Good digital citizens use technology in a positive way to share ideas and participate both locally and globally.
Why is Digital Citizenship Important?
Data (2019) from Cyberbullying Research Center shows that 37% of students – more than 1 of every 3 – have experienced some form of unwanted harassment or mistreatment with technology. This represents an increase of 35% over studies from 2016. Research done by the Pew Research Center suggests this number may be much higher among teens, perhaps up to 59% of this age group has been affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those affected by bullying have increased risk of depression, anxiety, academic problems, and a number of other factors that lead to decreased quality of life.
According to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), teaching digital citizenship can “help create thoughtful, empathetic digital citizens who can wrestle with the important ethical questions at the intersection of technology and humanity.” Helping our students develop into good citizens, digital or otherwise, empowers our communities to become more positive places in the future.
Digital Citizenship Teaching Resources
A number of resources are available to support educators and parents as they work together to improve students’ digital citizenship skills.
- Common Sense Education has developed a free, comprehensive digital citizenship curriculum for all grade levels. Resources include both online and offline activities, and parent engagement ideas are also available. Make sure you check out LTC’s webinar discussing these resources!
- Google’s Be Internet Awesome curriculum is also free and is supported by a series of fun and challenging interactive games called Interland.
- Edutopia has curated an extensive listing of resources that can be used by educators and community groups to support digital citizenship.
- ISTE had developed a variety of resources supporting digital citizenship in schools, including classroom resources, professional publications, and an online course on teaching digital citizenship.
Teaching digital citizenship has never been more important to building a positive, collaborative, and safe online community. In addition to the resources noted above, follow the hashtags #DigCit and #DigCitCommit on social media to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and trends in digital citizenship instruction.
- Anderson, Monica. (September 27, 2018). A Majority of Teens Have Experienced Some Form of Cyberbullying. Pew Research Center. www.pewinternet.org/2018/09/27/a-majority-of-teens-have-experienced-some-form-of-cyberbullying/. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying-factsheet508.pdf. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Common Sense Education. www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Edutopia. Digital Citizenship. www.edutopia.org/topic/digital-citizenship. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Google, Inc. Be Internet Awesome. beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en_us. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Google, Inc. Interland. beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en_us. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- International Society for Technology in Education. Digital Citizenship in Education. www.iste.org/learn/digital-citizenship. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Patchin, Justin. (July 9, 2019). 2019 Cyberbullying Data. Cyberbullying Research Center. cyberbullying.org/2019-cyberbullying-data. Accessed 10/11/2019.
- Patchin, Justin. (May 29, 2019). 2019 Cyberbullying Data. Cyberbullying Research Center. cyberbullying.org/school-bullying-rates-increase-by-35-from-2016-to-2019. Accessed 10/11/2019.
Today’s students have access to more information than ever before. Many students enter the data-rich world with few skills to manage the myriad of opportunities and pitfalls they might encounter. This is when the concept of Digital Citizenship becomes relevant and evermore important.
May is a great time of year, isn’t it? The weather is changing, spring flowers appear, and many educators are excited about another school year coming to a close. There’s much to do, lots of spring cleaning, packing up, and getting things in order before summer break.
We focus on our physical environment when we think of organization, but how about digital organization? Have you done any “spring cleaning” or tidying up of your digital life? As our existence incorporates more technology it’s important to keep up with what is out there and how organized it is! I’ve developed a checklist detailing what I do each month to stay digitally organized. Below are a few of my favorites that I would recommend.
- Run Who has Access– This website scans your Google Drive and shows you who has access to your Drive contents. If you see folks that no longer need access, they can be removed directly in the report. The service deletes its own access to your Drive along with your Drive data from its servers 24 hours after running your report. This tool is especially useful for school administrators who may have a change in personnel each school year. https://www.whohasaccess.com
- Check your Social Media Settings– we visit these sites daily, often popping in and out several times to catch glimpses into what is happening around our world. When was the last time you took the time to go through your privacy settings? How about your followers? Go a step further and do a self-audit of your social media posts. Look at the last 15 things you posted. Was your overall message positive? Do they represent the image you want others to have of you? Here are some resources to get you started on your self-social media audit.
- Password Protection– Generate a list of passwords for the family. (This may sound morbid but social media and email platforms require extensive documentation to shut down accounts without passwords due to the death of a user). Have everyone in the family write down all known passwords. If some are reluctant to share, have them create the list and place it in a sealed envelope (don’t open it) and keep it someplace it can be easily accessed if something happens to you or a family member. I keep it in our safe. Get a list of passwords for everyone in the family but be sure to have clear conversations AND FOLLOW THEM if there is a privacy concern.
These are just a few of the many ways I try to keep my digital-self organized. If you’d like to see the full list, it is available here: http://bit.ly/Tech-Check
What would you recommend?
How many advertisements do you come across in one day- ten, fifty, hundreds, thousands? Some sources say we encounter 4,000–5,000 ads a day all trying to persuade us to do something, believe something or buy something (while making money for their shareholders). We may not be consciously aware of seeing these ads, nor are our students who are exposed to the same content we are on a daily basis. Are students equipped to recognize when they are being manipulated? Probably not. Media literacy is a skill, not a topic. It is the responsibility of every educator; in every subject, in every school.
The goal of teaching media literacy is to educate our students on how to question what they see. Media literacy has dozens of “subtopics” that can be explored year-round in your classroom. This post shares some fun media facts, concepts, and resources to get you started.
Media Literacy “Fun Facts”
- Media is not good or bad; it is just a tool that delivers content.
- Adults spend 12 hours, 7 minutes a day consuming media.
- It is estimated that 6 companies own close to 90% of media.
- Magazines print different editions for different areas and demographics.
- Advertisers focus on women’s bodies as “parts of a whole”, so they always have something to fix.
- Personification in advertising plays to our emotions and seeks to have us form “relationships” with products, giving alcohol names such as ‘Jim Beam’ to imply that we are not drinking alone).
Media Literacy Concepts
- Media constructs our culture.
- Media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
- Media uses different “persuasion” tactics to get you to do something, buy something or believe in something.
- Media constructs fantasy worlds.
- No one tells the whole story.
- Media messages reflect the values and viewpoints of the media maker.
- Individuals construct their own meanings from media.
- Media messages can be decoded.
- Media messages contain “texts” and “subtexts”. Each person creates subtext based on prior experiences, prior knowledge, opinions, attitudes, and values.
Nicole’s Favorite Resources
- The Monkey Business Illusion: https://youtu.be/IGQmdoK_ZfY .We “see” what we focus on, or what we choose to see. If you have not watched this video before, be sure to follow the instructions the first time you watch.
- A “Brand” New World: http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0910/investigations/coursework.shtml. How many brands can you identify based on the image? While students may not recognize many of these brands, there are alphabets out there with newer symbols. This is a great discussion starter on how symbols are linked to products to help us remember them
- Hidden Images: https://twentytwowords.com/hidden-images-in-company-logos/ (Note: the McDonalds image may not be appropriate for students.)
- The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Brands: https://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/
- 8–12 Grade Marketing and Branding Lesson Plan: http://mediasmarts.ca/lessonplan/marketing-teens-gotta-have-it-designer-brand-names-lesson
- Wordless News: http://wordlessnews.com/. Have students determine the headline/topic of this current event based on the image alone
- What’s Going on in this Picture? https://www.nytimes.com/column/learning-whats-going-on-in-this-picture
- What Picture Would They Use http://iftheygunnedmedown.tumblr.com/ .Note: High School only. This Tumblr page sparks the discussion about how the media chooses what image they use of a person who is accused of a violent act. This gallery can spark a fascinating conversation about media and the choice they make when highlighting stories.
- How People Define Beauty: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-19-different-countries-define-beauty-2014-6. See the same image photoshopped by 19 different countries based on what they define “beautiful” as.
- How to Analyze a Commercial: https://understandmedia.com/topics/media-theory/110-how-to-analyze-a-television-commercial
- Deconstruct Media Message: https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/deconstruct-media-messages
- Play an Advertisement Game: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/Admongo/index.html
The Learning Technology Center of Illinois participated in Digital Citizenship Week October 15th-19th, 2018. Throughout the week, LTC staff curated and shared various digital citizenship resources through social media channels. Here are the full collection of resources from Regional Educational Technology Coordinators for use with your students.
- Digital media literacy is an important skill to teach students. Ben Sondgeroth shares two great resources, Listenwise and AllSides, in this quick video: https://youtu.be/uUigbgpe8n4.
- Digital Compass from Common Sense takes your students through a choose-your-own-adventure digital citizenship game. Designed for middle schoolers, Digital Compass takes them through the experiences of digital life: https://www.digitalcompass.org/.
- Through animated videos, short films, games and interactive comics, NetSmartz Teens teaches tweens and teens about making safer choices online: https://www.nsteens.org/.
- Check out these 9 themes of digital citizenship for teachers from 21 Things 4 Teachers: http://www.21things4teachers.net/21-things/digital-citizenship/ .
- There are many issues students face on the web, 21 Things for Students has “quests” for students to go on. The quests allow them to learn about different digital citizenship topics: http://21things4students.net/.
- Code.org has a 30-minute lesson to teach digital citizenship: https://code.org/curriculum/course3/20/Teacher.
- Media Smarts has a #digitalcitizenship game for children ages 7–9. It’s never too early to start teaching students how to be good digital citizens: http://mediasmarts.ca/game/privacy-pirates-interactive-unit-online-privacy-ages-7-9.
- Nicole Zumpano has a great “to-do” list for being safe, responsible digital citizens. Give her blog post a read here: http://zumpanotechlab.blogspot.com/2017/12/tech-check-yearlong-technology-to-do.html.
- Nicole Zumpano created a list of Digital Safety Resources for 6–8th grade students and guides for parents on digital citizenship: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mQkRj_iMqXwVoIeNBzXpc24DGLr_qwqn1b6jZNbLwMc/edit?usp=sharing.
- We love this interactive set of games from Common Sense that teach digital citizenship issues in grade 3–5: https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-passport.
- Google for Education wants your students to Be Internet Awesome. Learn all about this awesome digital citizenship curriculum in this blog post from Ben Sondgeroth: https://ltcillinois.org/google-wants-your-students-to-be-internet-awesome/.
- Joe Cipfl is a former middle school teacher who used three great tools with his students to promote digital citizenship. Learn all about them in this post: https://ltcillinois.org/happy-digital-citizens-week/.
- A lot of people call it a “digital footprint”, but on social media it might be more appropriate to call it a “digital tattoo.” Nicole Zumpano shares how and why you should regularly check what your “digital tattoo” says about you: https://ltcillinois.org/what-does-your-tattoo-say-about-you/.
- Lisa Schwartz shares her favorite three digital citizenship resources in her blog post: https://ltcillinois.org/3-great-resources-to-teach-digital-citizenship/.