Planning for Digital Citizenship

As someone who has grown up with technology always available, I plan to teach my future students through a ‘one-life’ perspective. This was discussed in Education for the Digital Age and involves using technology in school and conversations in the context of the community and society. I believe this is the only way to teach students about digital citizenship, as technology has become integral in almost all aspects of life and is used almost daily in schools. The approach I plan to take when teaching digital citizenship is through educating students. By having lessons, activities, and conversations about this topic, students are more likely to understand the responsibilities, uses, and dangers of being online. This can result in students making positive and good choices online.

I also plan to have classroom rules about devices and times when technology cannot be used. I have this plan as it can help teach students the importance of taking a break. It would also provide time for students and educators to connect and build relationships without technology, as it has become rare, as stated in The IRL Fetish. Lastly, I would find guest speakers to come and discuss their experiences online. They could discuss some issues they have experienced, how they dealt with it, and how it affected them. I might also get a police officer or someone in law enforcement who can talk about how students can protect themselves online and their responsibilities.

When I thought about how I may teach digital access, my mind immediately went to an introduction sheet. Since beginning my education degree, I have had many different courses suggest sending out a ‘Get to Know Me’ questionnaire to families before classes start. These sheets would consist of a variety of questions, such as favourite subject and other interests. On this sheet, I would include a question about what technology their child has at home and in their community. This would provide information on which families may need extra resources and lessons sent home.

An example of a ‘getting to know you’ sheet

When teaching digital commerce, I would start by asking the students if they have ever bought or sold anything online and how that experience was. We would then have a few different lessons on how to notice if a website is safe for them to put in their information and how public computers and Wi-Fi can access information. I would also include a lesson about how apps can follow what you search, like, and buy and use that information to promote products. This would also be a good time to converse about how influencers gain most of their money through sponsorships, where they are paid to promote items to their audiences. While I was doing some extra research into digital commerce and how to teach it, I came across a PBS Learning Media sight that has free videos for different grades about digital commerce. Upon further investigation, they seem to have resources for all aspects of digital citizenship.

Screenshot of a few videos and other resources available.

To teach digital communication and collaboration, I would begin with lessons and conversations on appropriate comments and presentations online. I would also have a space online where students can create their profiles and share their thoughts about different lessons. The students would comment on each other’s posts as well. This space would vary depending on the grade I was teaching. For the older grades (6-12), this would be on X or WordPress. I would have to research what website or app would be appropriate for the younger grades to use.

With teaching digital etiquette, I, again, would begin with a conversation about how students should present and interact online. We could discuss how people might feel when an interaction is negative or positive, and how to talk to friends and family vs. teachers and bosses. I would then have the students create some rules about digital etiquette that focus on the dos. We would then come up with consequences for not following them.

When it comes to teaching digital fluency, I plan to teach lessons on different ways to figure out if information, news and people online are fake or real. This would include videos, like below, and looking through websites and other online sources. Once it seems like the students have a good understanding, they would be directed to quizzes, such as Find the Fake, Break the Fake, and Spot the Troll to look at more examples and use their knowledge.

For digital health and welfare, I would start by asking how long the students are on their devices and what they are doing on there. I would also display my screen time and discuss how I spend my time online. This would continue by talking about how this time spent online could be harmful mentally and physically, and the tricks apps use to get you to open them. I would try to include time throughout the day when students have a break from all the technology. Lastly, the students would have time to create a ‘Break Schedule’, in which they write out other activities they could do besides being on tech, and plan times throughout the day for technology breaks.

When thinking about how I might teach digital law, I immediately thought about inviting a police officer or someone else involved in law enforcement to come and talk with the class. They would know more about the more serious issues that can occur online. I would also have some lessons where we discuss what online bullying can look like and how to treat people online. I would also have a conversation with them about the consequences the school and my classroom have in place for online issues.

When it comes to teaching digital rights and responsibilities, we would have a lesson about the expectations and freedoms they have online. We would focus on their responsibility for sharing information. There would be a discord or another chatting app/website where students can share information, ask questions, and answer their peers.

Lastly, with digital security and privacy, we would first have a lesson on privacy features included in social media apps students use. I would go over the different features and why they are important. We would also converse about how private and personal information should not be given out or posted online. Then, we would focus on how viruses, worms, and other issues can be passed to computers, and how some apps, such as Norton, can help to protect and detect these issues. I would also bring up virtual private network (VPN) apps, like NordVPN, which can help protect data and private information.

One thought on “Planning for Digital Citizenship

  1. Hey Hailey, this was a fantastic read. You provided so much information and shared so many resources! I love the layout and everything you put together for this article! It is so great to see you planning for your future classroom and thinking about how you will plan and attack things. You are for sure on a great track!

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