Learn from our ClassFlow Ambassadors about the importance of teaching digital citizenship.

As we head into the school year, we asked our ClassFlow Ambassadors about the importance of teaching digital citizenship. Read on to see some of the responses we gathered and links to their lessons in the ClassFlow Marketplace.

Eve Heaton, ClassFlow Ambassador

It is almost the beginning of the school year and in preparation I have started making lessons that cover rules, expectations, and, yes, digital citizenship. In the past I used to leave digital citizenship to our computer lab teacher or guidance counselor. With more devices entering the classroom, our reliance on the internet for both teachers and students, and the move to a 1:1 environment, digital citizenship is now a “must cover” topic in our classrooms.

 

While students may be coming to us as “digital natives” we can all agree that it isn’t the same thing as being “digitally savvy”. Just like teaching students the fundamentals of reading and math, students need to learn what being a good digital citizen means and how to keep themselves safe in an area with a lot of autonomy. I like to cover these fundamentals within the first few days of school to make sure we are all on the same page as far as digital rules and expectations. If they hear it again from the computer lab teacher, guidance counselor, or their parents, that just reinforces the message. In the area of “children’s safety” one can never be too careful or hear anything too many times. Digital citizenship has become one of my back-to-school non-negotiables, and I make sure everyone knows it. I even give a modified version of the classroom presentation to parents during our back-to-school night. I want parents to understand how we, as teachers, are working to make students digitally safe while at school.

Jaime Vandergrift, ClassFlow Ambassador

Technology and Digital CitizenshipTeaching Digital Citizenship may be one of the most important constructs we facilitate as educators. It impacts every area we teach through technology integration and has become the foundation for growth in learning and sharing. When you take a step back and look at what your students are successfully producing with great digital leadership, however, you can see that you have indeed made a difference. Last year I heard a student tell a peer that they couldn’t use an image without citing it. At that moment I knew what I was doing was meaningful, and there is simply no greater feeling than that!

Brandon Tepley, Technology Integration Specialist

This ClassFlow Lesson gets kids thinking about being safe online.Facilitating Digital Citizenship happens in every subject, every day. The disconnect between real-world and digital behaviors always surprises me. I realize an open dialogue about what happens online is so important. I know most of my students have had access to devices before they could speak, as they intuitively and comfortably interact online. I know many parents use technology, but have innate fears about privacy and assume their children have a similar sense of online safety. Students today have no fear of technology. That is why we, as teachers, need to constantly talk about online interactions, how to use digital data respectfully and discuss other elements of Digital Citizenship to help make their digital world a reality.

 

At the beginning of each school year, I not only define class norms, but I also set up a tech Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to embed key Digital Citizenship elements. Every school district has an AUP, but creating a collaborative set of expectations gives students ownership and provides a Digital Citizenship introduction or review. To get started, I use CommonSenseMedia.org because this is a great resource for parents, too. Completing your class AUP before the first Parent Night will provide the perfect discussion points as you begin educating parents, as well.

 

As teachers, we know that our Digital Dust needs to be professional, but students do not. We know that text and media posted online is permanent, but students do not. Students need help navigating the digital world. The importance of our work is apparent as we realize that Digital Citizenship is necessary for establishing the appropriate and acceptable use of technology in a digitally immersed world.

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What are your plans for teaching digital citizenship this school year? Share with us in the comments below.