While everyone with an internet connection is a digital citizen, not everyone has the understanding and skills to be a good citizen online. A recent article on FutureLearn.com does a great job of explaining that digital citizenship is a two-sided fundamental skill for all. Students and educators must be knowledgeable about how to “safely and responsibly access digital technologies, as well as being an active and respectful member of society, both online and offline.” This includes many possible elements including how technologies work, online privacy, digital footprints, communication, information literacy, cyberbullying, and more.
Digital Citizenship Week is a great time to focus some lessons on digital citizenship elements to emphasize their importance. It is also a fantastic time to begin your integration of digital citizenship into your already planned lessons. Where can you add small elements or change vocabulary to incorporate digital citizenship? How can you sustain that integration throughout the school year?
eMediaVA can help with its numerous digital citizenship resources such as the #DigCit Resources from Above the Noise collection, Net Safe Utah resources, and more. Through these resources and lessons from talented educators, students can grow and learn to be better digital citizens and allies to those around them that witness the negative side of technology. Common Sense Education also offers a complete curriculum, SEL resources with a nod to technology, and other digital citizenship resources. Google’s Be Internet Awesome is another free curriculum and resource that can be a teacher’s primary resource when teaching these vital digital skills and concepts to students.
As we teach and learn about digital citizenship and all the elements within, we have to keep a watchful eye on our students concerning the digital divide (access and knowledge of devices and their uses) and media/technology balance. Technology can be an amazing tool that enhances lessons and student opportunities but can be equally powerful when used for deceit, bullying, or withdrawal. Let us all be a force for good and exemplary models of digital citizenship. The resources throughout this post and below can help you along this path to educate both yourself and your students, our future leaders, innovators, and educators.
Patrick Hausammann is the Supervisor of Instructional Technology and an ITRT for Clarke County Public Schools and an eMediaVA Ambassador.