Positive Citizenship in our Digital World

32 Digital Citizenship Resources for Every Teacher

What is digital citizenship? If you would have asked me this question when I was younger, I don’t think I could come up with an answer. In elementary school, I remember being taught about using the internet for “appropriate reasons”. As discussed in class, there were often “Acceptable Use Policy” documents that we signed at the beginning of the school year. Did I really understand what I was signing? Probably not. 

Now, I am beginning to understand what Digital Citizenship is and how important it truly is. Digital Citizenship is essentially your online identity. This can include your presence online and all of your interactions on various platforms. As our online presence is becoming more and more important in today’s society, it is important that we help students understand what Digital Citizenship really is. Chris Zook states that “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”. I love this definition and hope to create a classroom environment where student’s digital identities can be developed. 

I began thinking: How can I get my students excited about creating a digital identity? Common Sense Education has many great instructional videos that discuss Digital Citizenship and why it is important. Here are a few of my favourites: 

All of these videos have great information for educators, but would also work well as instructional videos to share with students. All of the information is presented in student friendly language, and the videos are super engaging. I think this would be a great way to begin talking about digital citizenship with younger students. 

Curriculum Connections: 

So, how does all of this fit in with the Saskatchewan Curriculum? While exploring Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, I found many curricular connections. For this activity, I chose to focus on Grade 6 to see how I can incorporate these concepts. Here’s what I came up with: 

Health Education: 

USC6.1: Analyze the factors that influence the development of personal standards and identity, and determine the impact on healthy decision making (including cultural norms, societal norms, family values, peer pressures, mass media, traditional knowledge, white privilege, legacy of colonization, and heterosexual privilege).

-For this outcome, I see students exploring different factors that can influence their decision making online. For example, students could examine their personal values, peer pressure, and mass media. This can lead to discussions about how these outside factors affect our online identity. This could be connected to Ribble’s 6th Element: Digital Health and Welfare. Students can explore how they will make healthy decisions online, regardless of outside factors.

Social Studies: 

IN6.4: Explore aspects of cultural change over time, including:

  • reasons for cultural change
  • examples of cultural change
  • how cultural change affects youth
  • how youth respond to cultural change.

-After discussing changes in cultures in the world, our class could discuss how our online culture has changed throughout the years. This could be related to Rible’s 5th Element: Digital Fluency: Understanding technology and it’s use in our world. 

English Language Arts: 

CC1.6: Create various visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore identity (e.g., Your Choices), social responsibility (e.g., Looking for Answers), and efficacy (e.g., Systems for Living).

a) Represent ideas, opinions, and facts about identity, social responsibility, and efficacy for specific purposes (e.g., to explain, to narrate, to describe, to persuade) and audiences.

c) Create a variety of visual, oral, written, and multimedia (including digital) texts including personal narratives, responses or reactions to reports, articles, instructions, explanations, letters, illustrations, diagrams, leaflets, stories, poems, storyboards, cartoons, skits, or short video scripts.

-For this English outcome, students can explore their digital identity through various online sources. Students can express their ideas on digital platforms and collaborate with others in the class. This would relate with Ribble’s 3rd Element of Digital Citizenship: Digital Communication and Collaboration: How students can share their ideas in various ways. 

Digital Citizenship in my Future Classroom: 

I see digital citizenship being an important part in my future classroom. I hope to help students understand why it is important to create a positive online identity, and offer them opportunities to develop this identity. 

I’d like to know: What are some ways you see Digital Citizenship fitting into your future classrooms? 


One Reply to “Positive Citizenship in our Digital World”

  1. I like your idea of getting students excited for creating a digital identity. Sure there are dangers to having that identity, but I find it almost creates an unrealistic fear amongst our students. By getting them excited, students will be more eager to learn and safely start building their digital identity.

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