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Scattering Digital Citizenship Lessons Into Your Curriculum


Our students are "digital natives" meaning they're born into a culture of technology and are able to use it from a young age. However, as rapidly as the technology is changing, the methods of teaching students responsible use of these devices simply hasn't evolved as quickly. That's why teaching Digital Citizenship is increasingly important. Below are a few sites that offer Digital Citizenship lessons, along with a few suggested activities you can do to accompany those lessons. These would be best suited in a homeroom or AP class, but if you're able to integrate them into your general curriculum, they would hold even more importance.

The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

When introducing Digital Citizenship, it's nice to have a place to begin. This website breaks down all of the components of digital citizenship into nine different themes. Each one is defined and an explanation of a practical use is explained. Start by discussing these themes/elements so that students have a greater understanding as the discussion continues.

The ISTE Method of Digital Citizenship

The International Society for Technology in Education has developed several resources and lessons for Digital Citizenship. In fact, when they released the ISTE Student Standards, Digital Citizen is one of them. Reviewing this material with students not only adheres to that standard, but also allows students to gain a broad understanding of it. This site offers news articles and resources to share with your students.

BrainPOP Educators

This is a neat lesson that is given in a game format. BrainPOP Educators, along with Common Sense Media, has developed this game that allows students to choose from eight different characters who are each facing a different Digital Citizenship issue. Additionally, there is an introductory video to turn this into an enjoyable and engaging lesson from start to finish.

Be Internet Awesome with Google

The big news this year at ISTE from Google was the release of their Digital Citizenship Curriculum, Be Internet Awesome. In it, there are lessons that can be taught about different aspects of Digital Citizenship. In addition, and similar to BrainPOP, there's a game known as Interland that has four different activities. You could also check out the Be Internet Awesome Curriculum that features several different activities you can do with your class that are quick, easy, and teach valuable lessons.

Common Sense Media

The possible "go-to" digital Citizenship site is Common Sense Media. They have really jumped in and analyzed each aspect of Digital Citizenship and turned them into engaging lessons that cater to all different ages and grade levels. What's the best about this site is their Scope and Sequence lessons. These are broken into Units with Individual Lessons within them that offer videos, discussion prompts, and classroom activities. If you want, there are also quizzes available at the end of each unit. This site is extremely user-friendly and enjoyable for students, especially as they learn about the important topic of Digital Citizenship.

Digital Citizenship Project Ideas

As you're discussing Digital Citizenship with your students, you may want to take the lesson even further and offer them some application. Here are a few project ideas that you could try with your students:

- Create a poster using Google Drawing about an aspect of Digital Citizenship

- Have students record a Flipgrid response offering a "commercial" for students to be Internet safe

- Use Google Docs to create a "Digital Citizenship Contract" that they could have their classmates sign

- Use Google Docs to develop a list of resources that teach additional lessons on Digital Citizenship

- Use Google Slides to create an e-book on Internet safety and Digital Citizenship

- Use Google Forms to quiz their classmates, or create a survey on Internet use among their peers

- Interview local authorities to offer tips on how to remain safe when using technology

- Hold a Google Hangout with a national expert to discuss ways to prevent identity theft and promote the smart use of technology

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