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Digital Citizenship for Elementary Students

by Andrew Roush
digital citizenship

In a world defined by information, and the technologies that store and move that data, understanding how to interact in a digital space is nothing less than a requirement for today’s students. These skills needed to safely use the internet and to think critically about sources of information are known as digital citizenship.

All students should work to develop these skills, and that goes for elementary students especially. There’s no doubt that the social questions, careers, and everyday life of today’s students will be defined by their activities online.

Defining Digital Citizenship

With much of our social interaction occurring on devices, online, and otherwise in distanced situations, it’s important to understand how digital citizenship prepares students not only for the careers of the future, but for the society and culture of the future.

According to Applied Educational Systems, digital literacy includes the “responsible use of technology by anyone who uses computers, the Internet, and digital devices to engage with society on any level.”

In addition, though, teaching digital skills requires an emphasis on social skills and social-emotional learning. 

Good digital citizenship engages young students and shows them how to connect with one another, empathize with each other, and create lasting relationships through digital tools.

Bad digital citizenship, on the other hand, entails cyberbullying, irresponsible social media usage, and a general lack of knowledge about how to safely use the Internet.

Chris Zook. “What Is Digital Citizenship?” Applied Educational Systems.

The good news? There are plenty of robust digital resources available to help you build good digital citizenship skills with your students. 

Using Common Sense

Common Sense Education is a nonprofit dedicated to vetting materials for children, including educational tools. They produce a number of resources you might use with your elementary students.

  • Check out their digital citizenship poster, designed for elementary schools, here.
  • Choose from 10 fun digital citizenship videos (or use them all), all designed for K-5 classrooms, here
  • Looking to get students active and engaged? Look into these quick, packaged activities, perfect for elementary students learning remotely.

Other Digital Citizenship Sources

Once you dig into the wealth of digital literacy resources available, it’s clear that there’s plenty to choose from. Here are a few great places to start.

  • Learn more about the social aspects of good digital behavior in this piece from Edutopia. 
  • Browse through resources from Google, BrainPOP, Nearpod, and more in this blog from The Techie Teacher.
  • And don’t forget to pick up the latest strategies, tools, tips, and big ideas from TCEA’s own virtual 2021 Elementary Technology Conference. Learn more here.

More from TechNotes

Photo via Pixabay.

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