Fortunately, this idea of digital citizenship is gaining traction (if not in the classroom, at least on the Internet!). There are dozens of excellent resources available online that can help educators and parents integrate digital citizenship lessons into their classrooms, after school programs and homes. Although we’d like to see digital citizenship become a mandatory element of K-12 education across the globe, at least this is a good start. We hope that through CyberWise we can help grownups:
1) Discover useful resources
2) Understand how critical it is to approach digital literacy through the gateway of digital citizenship.
3) Inspire others to advocate for the inclusion of digital citizenship lessons in their schools and districts.
4) Apply these useful tools and knowledge in their own lives.
So we've gathered our top digital citizenship resources for teachers and parents. Many of these resources we've mined ourselves (see CyberCivics Blog) and have found them to be golden in the classroom. Our requirements for each resource are that they are:
Proactive- They empower young people to use powerful technologies confidently and wisely.
Not Fear-Based- Although cyberbullying, sexting, and online safety and such are certainly important concerns, we prefer resources that help young people learn how to harness the power of digital technologies in positive ways that prevent such actions in the first place.
Behavior Focused- It’s about neurology, not technology (apologies to the original author of this great line, wish we knew who??). We love lessons that can be conducted even without technology because they reaffirm our belief the digital citizenship is about basic behaviors… like being nice.
Free- We really like resources that are free!
So here they are… our Top 10 Digital Citizenship Resources. There are so many more, we feel badly about not including them all, so if you feel we left off a resource that really needs to be included, please comment below or visit our FaceBook page.
While there is still some debate as to the exact definition of the term, we like this one found on Anne Collier’s blog:
"Critical thinking and ethical choices about the content and impact on oneself, others, and one’s community of what one sees, says, and produces with media, devices, and technologies."
Okay, so it's a bit of a mouthful, so perhaps a better way to consider digital citizenship is like this: Just like Driver’s Education prepares young people to get behind the wheel of a car, Digital Citizenship provides young people with the behaviors and skills they need to navigate the information superhighway confidently and safely. The powerful technologies that most kids carry around in their pockets connect them with the world in new ways that can be both positive and destructive. Digital citizenship is a preemptive measure that helps tip the balance towards positive online interactions.