Digital citizens are critical thinkers. They carefully weigh evidence and sources and come to informed conclusions about what they encounter online. They are digitally literate, that is, they use information technology effectively and in ways that empower them to be lifelong learners. Creating an informed citizenry, one that can skillfully use ubiquitous and evolving tech tools, is a central goal of education, and the primary goal of digital citizenship.
What’s more, a good digital citizen is safe online. As we increasingly live our lives through connected devices, understanding the smartest and safest ways to use them, and the networks they run on, is vital to ensuring that students are well-prepared for life outside of school.
A Week of Celebration
Spreading awareness of these benefits is the purpose of Digital Citizenship Week, October 14–18, 2019.
Education nonprofit Common Sense describes the week as an opportunity to “amplify your students’ voices and give them ownership of their digital lives.” It’s a skill that today’s students will need not just in the future, but today. Want to bring digital citizenship into your classroom? Below are some resources that might help.
Digital Resources for a Digital World
- Common Sense, mentioned above, offers a number of videos paired with lesson plans for elementary, middle, and secondary grades on a variety of digital citizenship and literacy topics. Best of all? You have access once you create a free account. Need resources in Spanish? They’ve got you covered.
- Nearpod offers starter-pack lesson plans for K-12. Once you teach them, you can receive a limited edition Nearpod badge to use in your classroom or email signature. And they have day-by-day activities recommended, too.
- For a day-by-day outline of digital citizenship, check out this post from curriculum developer AES Education. Written for last year’s commemoration, this piece lays out a progressive understanding of the topic, one day at a time.
- If you’re willing to go the route of resources available for purchase, ISTE’s Digital Citizenship in Action, Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities, written by high school librarian Kristen Mattson, is all about flipping old practices on their head. Instead of teaching what not to do, she explores what action students can take to be good digital citizens.
- Those looking to dig into more detailed topics might want to explore the educator tools at DigitalLiteracy.gov, a joint project of ten federal agencies. Notably, the site’s powerful search and filtering function lets you find the right tool based on your interest.
- Digizen, as the name implies, is a website all about digital citizenship, with pages specifically designed for teachers, parents, and students.
- Be sure to scroll through Cyberwise’s massive trove of digital resources on the subject.
- Find out what the fandom around the incredibly popular Korean pop band BTS can tell us about digital citizenship.