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How to Teach Digital Citizenship to Your Students: Part II

By Matthew Lynch — January 16, 2017 2 min read
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The more people rely on technology, the more important digital citizenship becomes. In the early days, it was like the Wild West where there were no rules and people fended for themselves as best they could. With the rise of the Internet, a digital society began to form, bringing with it a slew of social norms and etiquettes. Many of the behaviors of people in the early days are no longer considered acceptable, but it is not something your students will innately know, especially if they have become accustomed to that sort of behavior. As a teacher, you can begin to instruct students on how to be careful and respectful so that they can enjoy all of the amazing possibilities of the digital age.

In Part I of this piece, we discussed three ways that you can teach digital citizenship to your students. In this Part II, we will discuss the final two. Without further ado, here we go.

Review Comments Sections of Articles for Other Areas

When you are teaching about a historical figure, a math concept, or science theory, you can use online resources. Once you are done with the main section or video, you can scroll down to the comment section and review what others have said about the section. You will need to make sure to review the comments before you start the lesson to ensure there is nothing inappropriate for the classroom. However, if there is anything that is wrong (without being highly inappropriate or abusive), you can talk to your class about the behavior and how it could be addressed. This makes it easy to cover both the lesson and the daily digital citizenship lesson at one time.

Examine Cyberbullying Stories and Find Solutions

The older the children, the more likely it is they will encounter cyberbullying. The number of stories about cyber bullying is plentiful, and sometimes tragic. You will need to be very careful about what examples you use. For younger students, make sure you use examples that are already resolved so that you know how things ended. You will need to use examples of cyberbullying that had negative results, as well as those that had positive resolutions, regardless of age group.

Be careful about the stories that you use, particularly if you use ongoing cases with older students. Older students will be able to understand the tragic endings, and you cannot entirely avoid them. However, you must be careful about how you teach these examples to ensure that students understand how to combat these situations to avoid the worst possible outcome appropriately.

For all age groups, discussions should revolve around how/why the events are cyberbullying and how the students would react if it happened to them. Make sure to draw parallels to their own lives if you notice that some students are beginning to show signs of cyber bullying their peers in discussion boards and forums at the school.

Well, that’s it for Part II. Can you think of some additional ways that you can teach digital citizenship to your students?

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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