While the official Digital Citizenship Week was last week, as our students begin to learn their way around tech, there are lessons that go hand-in-hand with their new environment. Students need to learn to respect themselves and others, how to protect their privacy and the privacy of others, and how to connect to and communicate with others. There are many different websites and services that provide lessons for digital citizenship, but the one most educators prefer is Common Sense Media.
I first learned about Common Sense Media as a parent. It provides ratings on movies, books, games, and apps. I always appreciated their take on "good for ages...." and the ability for me to use the sliding age range to help narrow my search. Each year, right before the gift-giving holidays, I'd share their information with my students' parents who look for guidance when exposing their students to media.
As an educator, I found the Common Sense Media Digital Passport lessons fun and engaging for students. Geared to students beginning at about third grade, it is easy to enroll students, assign modules, and then track student progress.
Elise Plutt, a third grade teacher from Guadalupe, wrote, "I was able to create an account, and then sign my kids up for the Digital Passport. That then gives them access to 5 different games to teach various lessons about being a good "digital citizen." i.e. lesson on cyberbullying, oversharing information online and even a game to teach how to search things with effective keywords and how to cite sources when using images. You can enable or disable games depending on what you think is appropriate for your kids to learn about. For example, I disabled the game about cell phones and texting. "
Each of the modules are Common Core aligned, come with a teacher-led lesson to introduce the topic, and a Family Tips sheet to send or e-mail home. Click here for the Educator Handbook to get started.
Another resource I used that is more teacher directed can be found in Common Sense Education. You will need to register with the site as a teacher at your school. Once you do that you will have access to lessons that range from K-2 through high school. Topics as early as K-2 include Internet Safety and Privacy & Security.
As teachers, parents, and responsible adults, we naturally try to teach children to be kind to each other in our classrooms, homes, and on the playgrounds. It is now equally important for us to pass on these social norms for online behavior. Common Sense Media helps us by providing the tools to do just that.
If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.