How to Integrate Digital Citizenship Into Any Classroom

How to Integrate Digital Citizenship Into Any Classroom

As your school embarks on the journey of introducing computer science in the classroom, an important consideration is how to best incorporate “digital citizenship” concepts into your computer science curriculum.

What is Digital Citizenship?

To better understand it’s importance, first let’s define what “digital citizenship,” is about. In short, digital citizenship can be considered the same as physical citizenship, simply without a physical presence. So although this absence of a physical presence tends to elicit behaviors that someone may not do in the physical world, all of the things we teach students to hold important about physical citizenship should apply to the digital world as well.

At Codelicious, we believe digital citizenship is about safety, equitable access, responsibility, decisions, and impact. And although many of our students have grown up with technology, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a good grasp of each of these topics.

Our goal is to help students be prepared to interact with age-appropriate content, and interact safely with other users of technology.

What are the key concepts?

Consider how schools introduce concepts like “stranger danger,” such as not divulging info to strangers, or opening the door to someone we don’t know. Ultimately physical concepts of safety should roll over into the digital world as well.

An important element of digital citizenship is simply being prepared. Filters to screen what students have access to, levels of access and tools such as anti-virus and firewalls, and which tools are safe to use to communicate with others.

Another concept that is important to impart is the permanence of everyone’s digital footprint. Whatever students put out there, whether sharing photos, tagging others, or even having permission to share a particular photo. All of that is permanent and could be publicly available.

Digital citizenship programs strive to create confidence in the concepts of right and wrong, bravery and teaching students to speak up when they see something wrong.

Safety extends beyond who you’re interacting with online and includes discussions on strong passwords, avoiding questionable downloads, hacking, phishing, cyberbullying, and how to create backups.

Where can teacher incorporate digital citizenship?

For some teachers, a daily digital citizenship discussion might be best, like at the beginning of class to get conversations started about current events or personal experiences. Other may prefer a more episodic approach, based on online games or downloadable lessons. And last, digital citizenship may be built upon at a more comprehensive approach through each lesson plan, so as you’re developing skills, you have a new concept to introduce in a safe environment.

So no matter where your students rate in their computer science skills development, it’s never too early (or too late) to introduce digital citizenship concepts in your program.

If you’d like help setting up a safe department for your students, or implementing a comprehensive computer science program in your school, contact Codelicious today.

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