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4 fresh ideas for teaching digital citizenship sooner

By Carmela N. Curatola Knowles
February 16th, 2015

Kids are immersed in technology from a very young age. So why do digital citizenship courses focus on middle school and above?

PLCs-communitiesEd. note: Innovation In Action is a new monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.

digital-citizenship-youthRecently, I was reflecting on how we as parents and teachers account for all of our children when we are in public areas. Be it on a field trip, vacation, or just a trip to the toy store, we count heads to make sure they’re with us and safe. In a digital learning environment, how can educators ensure that students are being safe while they are online?

Throughout my career, I’ve taught the use of technology to elementary students. While at my former school district, I worked with colleagues to create a comprehensive Internet Safety Unit with a specific focus on digital citizenship. In my current job at Lower Moreland Township School District, I still look for opportunities to reinforce digital citizenship skills within my lessons. A key element of this program was to address an ISTE Standard for teachers to “Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility.”

How can we help all students–from elementary to post-secondary–be savvy digital citizens? It might not be as difficult as you think. There are some easy ways for all educators to help students build these important skills.

Next page: How to talk to young learners about online safety and more