Creating a Culture of Digital Citizenship

Looking for new and engaging digital citizenship resources? Common Sense Education has revamped its Digital Citizenship Curriculum, which helps prepare young learners to critically develop thinking skills and mindful habits as they face dilemmas in the digital world. It addresses current issues students face, including cyberbullying, online privacy, hate speech, news literacy, and more. New lessons include real-life scenarios, videos, and engaging activities that help students explore complex topics. Take-home advice and activities are provided for parents. The curriculum is guided by the research of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is free to all schools.

In this webinar:

  •  Learn about 6 six main digital citizenship topics 
  •  Explore teaching tips on skill development and positive dispositions in students
  •  Identify ways to implement digital citizenship into your classrooms, schools, or districts

About the Presenter

Jessica Lura, Director of Teaching and Learning, Bullis Charter School and Common Sense Education Ambassador.

A National Board Certified Teacher, Jessica has worked in education for twenty-one years teaching 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 8th grade. She designs and presents professional learning experiences for educators and students that focus on sparking curiosity and developing the skills, attitudes, and knowledge necessary for students to become active and ethical global participants.

 She is a Common Sense Education Ambassador and believes that schools and educators play an essential role in supporting students and parents in learning how to become responsible digital citizens.

Resources to Teach Digital Wellness & Online Safety

Event Description

As our world moves more online, students are faced with learning to balance their online and offline lives while preparing for a technology-driven future. Students spend an average of 8.5 hours using technology every day, so it’s important to prepare them to be Digital Citizens who can navigate the online world safely and appropriately in both their academic and personal lives. In this session, teachers will be given free access to Ignition, a brand-new online course from EVERFI that teaches students about digital wellness. Ignition helps students acknowledge the benefits of digital communities and resources while guiding them to successfully navigate potential pitfalls in their digital lives. Teachers who attend will gain full access to the online course, supplemental offline resources, and ongoing technical and curricular support, all at no cost. Best fit for grades 6-9.


Lauren Pingul – Senior Schools Manager, EVERFI

Tech Check: Get Your Digital Life Organized

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. 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:

What would you recommend?

Be Internet Awesome

Event Description

In today’s world, students are immersed in technology. From social media to cyber bullying to fake news to strangers online, students encounter countless technological challenges on a daily basis. How can we as educators help our students be outstanding digital citizens? Are we doing all we can to teach students the skills they need to safely navigate the World Wide Web? In this workshop, teachers will gain insight and learn about how to help students “Be Internet Awesome.”


Ben Sondgeroth, Regional Educational Technology Coordinator for the LTC

Digital Citizenship Week Recap

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.

For more great resources, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

3 Great Resources to Teach Digital Citizenship

Understanding how to interact with the digital world is more important than ever. Being an outstanding digital citizen is vital for our kids today. In this post, I’ve collected my favorite three websites that can help you, as an educator, prepare your students to be good digital citizens! The first website gives you, the teacher, background information and resources for your class. While the following two websites give kids a space to learn at their own pace, digital citizenship information through interactive quests or games. 21 Things 4 Teachers For any teacher who is new to teaching digital citizenship in their classroom, this website provides great resources on the nine themes of digital citizenship. The nine themes of digital citizenship are broken down into three categories, Respect, Educate and Protect.

Respect Yourself/Respect Others

  • Digital Access
  • Digital Etiquette
  • Digital Law

Educate Yourself/Connect with Others

  • Digital Commerce
  • Digital Communication
  • Digital Literacy

Protect Yourself/Protect Others

  • Digital Rights & Responsibilities
  • Digital Health & Wellness
  • Digital Security

This background information leads into the quests the students can do for 21 Things 4 Students. 21 Things 4 Students Students can participate in quests to learn about the digital world through project-based activities. This curriculum is free and allows students to go at their own pace. The students will watch videos, read the material, complete surveys and see the results, and reflect on what they learn through various activities.  Each “thing” is standalone to the other “things”, so you may choose to assign certain topics from the 21 Things 4 Students activity list. Common Sense Digital Passport Common Sense Digital Passport has six interactive games for grades 3 – 5. Each game allows students to learn more about digital citizenship, safety, and etiquette. If you are hesitant about how to incorporate this into your curriculum, Common Sense has an educator guide to help you plan. The topics that are covered in the six interactive games include:

  • Security
  • Multitasking
  • Privacy
  • Upstander
  • Search
  • Creative Credit

Encourage Digital Media Literacy with Listenwise and Allsides

In today’s world, our students continually face claims of fake news and information from biased or unreliable sources. While this is often difficult for adults to deal with, it can be extremely challenging for students to navigate the constant stream of information available to them. An important aspect of digital citizenship is learning how to decipher what is quality sourced information, and what is not.

As teachers, we have the ability to leverage online tools in our classrooms that teach our students how to critically think through and evaluate online content. While there are many resources available on the internet, two stand out as great tools to assist students in learning how to consider the reliability of the information with which they come into contact. This quick video features Listenwise and AllSides as two great websites that assist students in recognizing arguments and critically thinking through their content.


What Does Your Tattoo Say About You?

Do you have a tattoo?  What’s the story behind it?  What does it say about who you are?  Tattoos have been around for over 5,000 years.  For centuries people have been marking their bodies for a variety of purposes; love, status, tribute, and medical just to name a few.  Today the tattoo industry is busier than ever, although an internet search for “tattoo removal” proves there are clearly some that regret the decision.  Is our online existence that much different? Do we not post statuses that declare our love, tribute, medical dilemmas and more, much like people tattoo their skin?  If that is the case, do we not regret some of our social media posts as well?

The term “digital footprint” is well known and represents what trace of us we leave behind when we are visible and active online.  It is a catchy phrase, but in my opinion not completely accurate. Footprints can be washed away. They can be covered over so they are no longer visible.  A tattoo is much more difficult to make disappear. Even in attempts to remove tattoos, there is always some trace of the scar (or ink) that remains. It is important to teach our students that what they do online never truly goes away. What better place to start than with us, the educators. As such, it is our responsibility to know what our online reputation looks like so we can help guide our students in developing theirs. As an adjunct professor my courses always include data mining. Sometimes, I give my students a “stranger” (aka a friend of mine that they don’t know) to find as much information on as they can (what’s fun about this one is I have them make a slideshow of their results and send it to the actual friend!). Sometimes I have them create a curriculum vitae of their online persona, using only the data they find about themselves online (that one can be an eye-opener!). In all instances, my graduate students (who are almost all in the education field) have a chance to take a “deep dive” into their online brand. The purpose of this activity? Once we have a clear understanding and feel the emotion of what we find online, albeit positive or negative, we are better equipped and invested in passing this on to our students.

Following are tips and resources to get started on your own data dive.


  • Log out of all internet browsers before searching (being logged in will skew your results)
  • Use quotation marks when searching (i.e. “Nicole M Zumpano”)
  • Search using multiple search engines and browsers (i.e. Google, Firefox, Safari, Bing, Internet Explorer)
  • Search using your professional name (I go professionally using my middle initial; Nicole M Zumpano)
  • Search images
  • Search using your social media usernames
  • If married, search using your maiden name

Help Documents: (This one lists several sites you can use to conduct a data mine on yourself) (This one is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” related to digital tattoos) (Finally, clean up your digital life! This is a monthly “to-do” list to keep your digital existence in order!)

Being aware of the image you portray (or don’t portray) online is one of the first steps to a healthy digital literacy diet. Happy mining!

Happy Digital Citizens Week!

Happy Digital Citizens Week to my fellow educators! Joe Cipfl here — I am a Regional Educational Technology Coordinator for the Learning Technology Center with three excellent Digital Citizenship resources specifically geared for middle school teachers and students. As a former middle school teacher myself, I know just how daunting of a task it can be finding reliable, age-appropriate material for middle school kids. These are outstanding, ready-to-use resources and lessons to help you get the most out Digital Citizens Week with your tween and teen students.

Digital Compass is an animated gaming platform produced by Common Sense Education, taking your students through choose-your-own-path adventures. Designed for middle schoolers, Digital Compass takes them through the experiences of digital life.  Students play through the perspective of one of eight characters, each of whom is facing a different digital citizenship dilemma. Students can play multiple times with multiple characters and earn badges as they complete each section.

Personally, I have used Digital Compass with 5th and 6th grade students. What I like most about it is that the learning objectives, material, and design are research-based and the in-game assessments are both quantitative and qualitative. Additionally, Digital Compass provides a very detailed and exhaustive Educators Guide, making planning a snap.

NetSmartz Teens is produced by the NetSmartz Workshop, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It provides animated videos, short films, games, and interactive comics teaching middle school students valuable lessons about making safer choices online. Netsmartz Teens also provides engaging quizzes that will really make your adolescent students think carefully about how they interact with technology.

What drew me to NetSmartz Teens was the sheer volume and diversity of material available for my students. The site truly is multimedia, engaging students in a variety of different ways. There certainly is enough material to provide your middle schoolers with many activities for each day of Digital Citizens Week.

If there’s one thing middle school teachers could use more of, it’s time. Are you looking for a quick 30-minute lesson to teach digital citizenship? Look no further than this great lesson plan from What’s more? The lesson is totally unplugged. No computers necessary for students. The focus of the activity is safe, responsible, and respectful behavior online. Furthermore, there’s a great art element to this lesson in which students get to cut, color, and glue.

I have been using as a resource with my students for several years. The material is always excellent, well-researched, and is aligned with ISTE and Common Core standards. And as a middle school teacher, only seeing my students for 45-minute class periods, I was always under a time crunch and couldn’t spare much time away from my core curriculum. This is a great lesson on digital citizenship if you can only spare one class period.

Hope everyone has a productive and meaningful Digital Citizenship Week 2018!! Please check back here at the LTC website often for more great edtech resources or you can follow us @LTCIllinois and me @LTCJoeC.

Google Wants Your Students to Be Internet Awesome!

In today’s society, most of our students are immersed in technology. From cell phones to devices in school to tablets and computers at home, students are accessing technology constantly. During this interaction, students are liable to encounter strangers, fake news, spam, cyberbullying, and the potential to say or post something they might regret later. Our students today face an online world that many adults cannot imagine. They face continual challenges and the threat of engaging in a bad online situation always there. So how can we, as educators, help students navigate these online situations properly? One option comes from Google’s Be Internet Awesome Digital Citizenship and Safety Curriculum. Google designed the Be Internet Awesome curriculum in collaboration with iKeepSafe with the goal of teaching students the five fundamentals of digital citizenship.

  • Share with Care
  • Don’t Fall for Fake
  • Secure Your Secrets
  • It’s Cool to Be Kind
  • When in Doubt, Talk It Out

This curriculum provides teachers with two methods to integrate these fundamentals with their students. The first is a fully written curriculum, complete with lesson plans and activities for teachers to bring to their classrooms. The written curriculum covers the five fundamentals of digital citizenship extensively, giving the teacher many different talking points to discuss with their students.

The crown jewel of the curriculum comes in the form of the web-based game Interland. Interactive and fun, the game puts students into situations in which they may find themselves while navigating the internet. In order to advance through the game, students must correctly answer questions from the curriculum. If not having Chromebooks worries you, don’t fret! Interland is available through any web browser, including on iPads!

If you have been looking for a manageable way to create learning opportunities around digital citizenship lesson in your classroom, I encourage you to explore the Be Internet Awesome website where you will find a wide variety of FREE resources that will help you get started today!