In this blog post, I discuss and provide tools and ideas for classroom implementation of the second standard for students, “Digital Citizen”. If you would like to read the blog post for the first standard (Empowered Learner), click here. For more background information about the new standards, read my blog post “Talking Tech: The New 2016 ISTE Standards for Students (1 of 8)”.
***Please be aware that I do not pretend to be an expert on the new ISTE Standards. This blog post series was initiated as a “project” for me to learn and understand these standards, so that I can provide better instruction to my students. If you have any comments, questions, corrections or suggestions, please do not hesitate to share them in the comment section.
If you would like to read some of the documentation created by ISTE to explain and support educators in the adoption and practice of these new standards, here and here you will be able to find useful information
Standard 2: Digital Citizen
Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.
This standard focuses on helping students understand the digital world and their role within it, both as individuals and as members of digital communities. It goes further to emphasize the importance of their safe, legal and ethical awareness and participation in this world.
Before I break down this standard into its objectives, I think it is very important for every educator to be familiar with the CommonSense Media Education. This is your one-stop shop for everything! This comprehensive site has a wealth of information and resources about everything related to digital literacy & citizenship, website reviews, a complete K-12 scope and sequence documents with fantastic engaging and interactive lessons, and much much more.
Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
How do we get students to understand what their “digital identity” is? That what they show or post online is a reflection of who they are? That they can, and should, take advantage of the exciting opportunities and possibilities that come with a “connected world”- a world where people half way around the world can view and listen to each other’s experiences when they actually happen? That the more they actively participate in this expanding digital universe, the more exposed they are to potential dangers, and that their online behavior may result in seriously offending or hurting others, and even themselves if they are not aware of the “rules of the game” and are making careful choices?
Digital Identities and Reputation
Most students’ digital identities already exist- whether if they have been using e-mail, participated in an online discussion, or submitted class assignments in a digital form (even within a “walled garden” environment, such as a school’s Google Apps). Digital identities may also exist independently of students’ behavior, for example when families share information about them in the digital world- baby photos, vacation destinations, etc. It is important for us to ensure they understand this simple fact, and that they do their best to maintain a positive identity in cyberspace.
A good place to start educating students about digital identities and their reputation would be through sharing with them other people’s personal stories, so they get a chance to learn from the types of behaviors that may lead to unfortunate experiences:
- CommonSense has several excellent videos about cyberbullying you could use in the classroom- from what it is to why it happens and how children, teachers and parents can deal with the issue.
- NoBullying.com is an excellent site that features plenty of cyberbullying stories and the consequences of both the victims and the attackers.
- CyberBullying.org is another site you can find cyberbullying stories
- Mic.com tells the story of eight adolescents and adults who were arrested for what they said online.
- CyberBullying Parent Guides- Get parents informed and on board using CyberBullying, Internet Safety 101, or ConnectSafety
- Losing something before it happens:
It would also be a good idea to make sure students understand key definitions related to the digital world, such as HTTP/HTTPS websites, what “malware”, “cache page”, “cookies”, a VPN, and private/anonymous browsing are (and that pages can be traced back…). You can go here and here to find more Web-related terms and their definitions.
Once students understand what’s at stake, it is important to go further and discuss and explain to them how to communicate appropriately online, and to give them opportunities to practice within a variety of closed online environments, so that once they are communicating online on their own, they already know how and why to present themselves in a mature and respectful way.
Here are some walled garden (closed platform) environments you could use to give students the stage to communicate, model acceptable communication, and provide them with constructive feedback when needed:
- Edmodo– This evolving educational social network is the answer to Facebook’s age restriction. Here you have the oversight they need to ensure students communicate effectively. Create groups and invite students’ parents, assign work and quizzes, post discussion groups, award badges, and much much more. If you decide to go for it, don’t forget to look at all the plugins developers keep creating. Finally, there is a very active and supportive online community if you have any questions!
- TodaysMeet– A backchannel chat room that allows teachers to invite students to invite-only chat rooms, monitor conversations, mute students, and more.
- Flickr– Create a private class group to share images and videos, and have students communicate with, and express each other. Read TeachThought’s article about ways to use Flickr in education.
- Facebook Secret groups– Create an unlisted group for your students and have them collaborate, share information, and study together, with you moderating content and discussions and without anyone else knowing about it.
- Google+ Communities– Create your own private class community and take advantage of all the other integrated Google tools. Here is an excellent slideshow about how to use G+ in (higher) education, and here is one for a more general audience.
- Wikispaces Classroom– This is an excellent social writing platform educators can use to have their students work on their writing both individually and in teams. Includes a news feed, wiki pages, projects, and more.
- Twitter– Create a class account and get involved with the world all together. You can discuss what students want to express, look at or share information together, and moderate it before you are posting.
The Permanence of Actions
As children’s cognitive and metacognitive abilities develop and they are able to see beyond the immediate scope of their feelings or actions, they also acquire the ability to understand the concepts of “short-term” and “long-term”. It is our role as educators and parents to help the next generation understand that what everyone does has consequences, just like the unfortunate stories mentioned above. Teaching students to “think before you click” or to never post anything online when they are upset, can help prevent some issues, but it is important for students to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet’s “permanent nature” and what can be done about it.
- The Mind Reader– Especially with older students, this incredible video can have a strong impact, provoke interesting discussions, and hopefully some behavior changes. I’m not going to write more about it because you MUST watch it!
- Search Yourself! (That’s what your friends, and potential mates and employers are already doing…)- Experiencing firsthand what their (and their families’) existing digital identity (on the most basic level) is would be a good start. Have students search their name, eMail addresses, and favorite online name (when used in online forums, discussion groups, etc.) and report what others can find out about them. This is a great “detective” activity, which can be quite enlightening. A personal example is that years after posting my son’s baby videos on YouTube I decided to change the privacy settings. When I googled my personal information, I found that several other sites copied and published those same videos, making it seem like I posted them there as well… Since I never signed up with any of these video-hosting websites (spam?!) I did not have accounts, and so could not manually delete them.
- How information spreads– (for teenagers) the NetSmartz.org YouTube channel has good videos about being aware and smart on the web. This one is about thinking before letting a rumor become widespread and permanent.
- TED– Juan Enriquez’s short TED Talk about electronic tattoos and immortality. A great talk to view, discuss and contemplate how it applies in our students’ lives.
- Check your social networking sites’ account settings: Google, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
- CommonSense Media– Excellent lessons about our digital footprint (grades 6-9)
- CNet– How to delete yourself from the Internet. OK, we don’t need to get radical, but there’s a lot we can learn about our digital identity from this article and video.
Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
This objective is very straightforward, but its interpretation and application might cover more grey areas. As educators, we must ensure we equip our students with the knowledge and skills that would allow them to evaluate their actions and findings, and take appropriate steps to prevent and manage potential dangers and violations. Here are some tools you could use to provide your students with these understandings and evaluative skills:
- Maintaining a positive image online:
- TeachThought– An excellent article with tips on how students can manage their digital footprint.
- ISTE– (free) Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity is a guide/report that “outlines expectations, essential questions, and steps educators can take to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive as responsible digital citizens”.
- CommonSense posters– These posters are neat-looking and thought-provoking. Post some in the classroom, hallways, or in the media lab/library!
- Learning about potential dangers online:
- BrainPopJr.- An introductory video (with activities) about internet safety.
- Internet Safety for K-3 students– A simple video to teach young students basic information about what the internet is and how to stay safe.
- MediaSmarts’s online Privacy Playground game (with quiz) for kids- teaches young students about what to share and what not to.
- Bad Behavior Online: Trolling and Free Speech is an informing video for teachers that would be good to share with students.
- GCFLearnFree– Excellent tutorials for middle-schoolers through adults about staying safe online, protecting your online privacy, and other topics. I also like this introduction page about teaching kids about internet safety.
- CommonSense– A video search for online safety- privacy, trolling, texting tips for parents, social media rules for teens and tweens, and more (all ages).
- WatchWellCast– A simple-to-understand video with four tips on how to stay safe while surfing the Net (digital permanence, personal information online, phone safety and what to do when hacked).
- WebQuests– WebQuests are a great way to get kids to learn about internet safety through a self-paced exploration journey in which they read, listen to, and view information about different topics, and answer questions to show their understanding. Here are a couple of WebQuests you could use with your students, but since I could not find high quality Internet safety-related WebQuests, I would recommend you create your own (you can use this or this website for templates, or create one using Google Forms):
- Keeping Safe Online– Covers information about online safety, cyberbullying, and privacy, and includes a short final project.
- Middle School Internet Safety– In this WebQuest (more of a jigsaw-type activity) there are four “characters”, each researching one topic (cyberbullying, netiquette, social networking, and chat rooms), and then create an individual PPT and a group poster.
- Facebook- A Blessing or a Curse– This WebQuest asks students to research about the social networking world and Facebook in particular, look into the pros and cons, and write up a persuasive essay to share their learning and position.
- Legal and ethical behavior:
- The Truth about Truman School is a thought-provoking book for middle- and high- schoolers to learn about building websites, cyberbullying, good intentions turning bad, and the dangers and consequences of sharing sensitive information online (please note: LGBT content).
- Social networking communities’ guidelines: Public Domain, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, and Facebook. You could discuss with students being a part of a community- What a community is, what rules and expectations we should have of its members, what we should not do, what to do when we come across content that violates the agreements, etc. You can use this site to view different social networking sites’ guidelines to ensure students are aware, safe, and playing according to the rules.
- Privacy Policies: You can review commonly used social networking platforms’ privacy policies (Edmodo, SnapChat, Facebook, National Geographic Kids), or view/discuss the evaluation of privacy policies for many sites done for you by CommonSense.
- Wikipedia: An extensive article about privacy concerns with social networking services that includes pretty much everything about online privacy and dangers associated with it.
- Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index is the results of a research conducted into youth and adults’ civility and safety online. You can use this research analysis document to discuss different threats and consequences people experience worldwide.
!!! One very important aspect of this objective, especially for international students, is the fact that laws are different in different countries. What is acceptable/allowed in one country (for example, what’s allowed in India might not be OK in Spain), so always make sure you and your students are aware and are in compliance with international and local laws.
Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
It is one thing to understand that if we use someone else’s work, we should give them credit for their hard work and ingenuity. It’s quite another to get students to both understand when and how to do it, as well as to actually do it… And we, teachers, sometimes forget as well…
The WHATs (information)
- Intellectual property:
- Copyrights and fair use:
- Creative Commons:
- The Public Domain:
The HOWs (teaching resources)
- Idea- Jigsaw activity: Read copyright agreements to various social networking sites, such as YouTube, Twitter, ShutterStock, have them discuss what they are, what was obvious and what was surprising, and have them share their findings with each other.
- TeachingCopyright has some great curriculum to teach about many different copyright-related topics (grades 9-12).
- CommonSense’s K-12 Scope and Sequence is, again, an excellent resource for all digital citizenship topics
- Education World’s The Educator’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use
- Edutopia’s Five-Minute Film Festival: Copyright and Fair Use for Educators (includes a great video playlist and many teaching resources)
- TES.com- Computing: Re-using images on Websites– A great unit about searching and using Creative Commons (CC) licensed images (free with log-in)
- Searching for free-to-reuse media:
- Citation resources:
- EasyBib: create citations in MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian styles, a works cited list and in-text citations
- Citation Machine: cite sources using many different styles by plugging into a formula the information you have. The cite also has a plagiarism checker and writing resources.
- Zotero: A plugin that allows you to collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. Easily create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, or bibliographies, and export them into Word and OpenOffice.
- Need even more? Here is Smart.Study’s blog on 25 best free citation generators
Students manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online.
Being aware of the threats of being a part of the digital world is required in order for students to be able to protect themselves against such dangers that may result in disclosure of their privacy, loss of money or jobs, or the malfunctioning of their devices. Understanding how the data they share can be used against them would hopefully encourage them to be more conscious of their actions and make better choices when they are engaging online.
Managing personal data for Privacy and Security
Before students learn how to manage data for privacy and security, it would be a good idea to ensure they understand how the internet works, so that they have a better understanding of the big picture. The following three links should cover the topic.
- How the Internet Works– (video) A step by step explanation of how information travels back and forth
- What is “The Internet”– a playlist of seven videos from Code.org that will teach your students (and you) everything about what the Internet is, what different parts are, how it works, privacy and security, and more.
- The Internet- How It Works– A video explanation for lower ES students.
- Code.org– The Internet. A lesson on how the internet works through getting students to “flow through the internet” while learning about about Internet connections, URLs, IP Addresses, and the DNS.
- StaySafeOnline’s C-Save curriculum offers excellent complete resources to teach about cybersecurity, cybersafety, and cyberethics.
- CommonSense– An excellent lesson called ‘Does it Matter Who Has Your Data?’ (grades 9-12)
Staying private and secured:
- Lesson Idea: generate a student list of what they do to keep their privacy online, use the resources below to find out if they are leaving out anything, and self score, create posters to share, surveys for other students, or write a manifesto of what they’ll do to keep themselves safe and private online.
- Google’s Get Off to a Safe Start page offers great tips and tricks to stay safe, such as keeping your device clean, tips on online shopping, using secure passwords, and more.
- How third party cookies work- The Guardian and Imagine Easy Solutions (videos)
- StaySafeOnline has a nice list of how to stay safe online while using social network sites
- Password generator/ manager: KeePass and LastPass (Chrome Ex.), and many more to choose from
- Anonymous browsing: Tor Project, be, and a variety of VPNs
- Block ads and trackers: Ghostery, AdBlock Plus, HTTPS Everywhere, and more
- Secure payments (and how to know): Abine, PayPal, and AliBaba.
- Encrypt e-mails (and why): Secure (Gmail extension), Microsoft Outlook, ThunderBird, SpiderOak (including chat rooms, file sharing, and more), and more resources
- Anti-Virus (+malware, spam, etc.) software: Avast and AVG (free), Kaspersky and BitDefender (paid), and more
Understanding why companies would want to collect information about us, what information they collect (theory vs. reality), and how they collect the information is extremely important. The resources below would help students understand how the data-collection industry works, and equip them with some information about the net neutrality debate.
- Boston Globe: Should ISPs be able to store our data and sell it as they like?
- CommonSense Media: A very good lesson called ‘Does it Matter Who Has Your Data?’ (grades 9-12)
- BayNote: Use this infographic to discuss with your students how big companies use the data they collect
- LifeHacker: Why would health apps sell your data? (text)
- Forbes: How Target figured out a girl was pregnant before her father did (text)
- Business Insider: Net Neutrality for Dummies
- DogoNews: An even simpler way to look at Net Neutrality
That’s it. As time passes and we use more and more technology in our lives, the meaning of “digital citizenship” and the issues of privacy and security will continue to evolve and play a major role in how we make decisions and what we teach our students. I hope this blog entry provides you with some high quality resources to use in your classroom or at home. As always, if you have any other ideas for good resources, any corrections for what I wrote, etc. please leave a comment below.
Next one up, ISTE 2016 standard for students #3, Knowledge Constructor. It’ll take a while though… Stay tuned!