Beginning in kindergarten, students are taught how to be good citizens. We teach them the importance of being honest, trustworthy, kind, respectful, responsible, and safe. Students read books, analyze characters, watch videos, and act out scenarios to discuss and practice each of the skills needed to help make the world a better place.
We now live and work in a world where many classrooms have quick access to computers, the Internet, and an endless supply of knowledge. Along with the benefits that can come from this access also come potential problems. When it comes to students and their digital use, most adults agree that we need to protect our students from some of the dangers of being an Internet user can bring about. What seems to happen in most cases is the same amount of time and effort is not dedicated to teaching students the skills they need to be a responsible citizen in a 21st-century world. Instead, schools tend to block any and every site that might be used inappropriately.
According to George Couros¹, educators should focus on what students can do with technology, instead of what they shouldn’t. To do this, we need to constantly model responsible digital use ourselves. Additionally, schools should create opportunities for students to learn how to be responsible, thoughtful digital citizens. Lessons should be dedicated to encouraging and empowering learners to use the Internet to share their voice, collaborate with and learn from others, and advocate for positive change. In the same ways we teach young students how to be responsible members of a community year after year, educators should consistently teach, model, and emphasize the positive ways to participate as a respectful member of the online community.
Because we know how busy life as an educator is, our team at Five-Star Technology Solutions has put together some of the best and most useful digital citizenship resources, including grade-specific lesson plans, to help provide you with ideas on how to build these essential learning opportunities into your day.
Written by Katie Bradford