4 Ways to Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week in 2017 Blog Feature
Chris Zook

By: Chris Zook on October 19th, 2017

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4 Ways to Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week in 2017

Digital Citizenship | Digital Curriculum

Digital Citizenship Week is here! This entire week is dedicated to being smart and safe online.

It’s typically celebrated for younger students in middle school and high school, but good digital citizenship applies to everyone who uses the Internet.

That’s why we found the best digital resources to help you celebrate Digital Citizenship Week 2017!

From conventional lessons to high-end computer games, students of any age can benefit from using these resources.

1. Activity: Digital Citizenship Module by AES

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Age range: 6-12+

At AES, we have a full module that teaches students about digital citizenship, complete with interactive lessons, videos, and slideshows.

We’ve heard from our teaching community that this module is most appropriate for students in sixth grade or higher.

It’s also helpful for post-secondary learners who may have never used the Internet before.

That’s because this module walks students through every step of getting started online. That includes everything from introducing digital resources to discussing concepts like digital footprints.

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Teachers like these digital citizenship lessons because they cover topics that aren’t immediately obvious to Internet users — even for students who grew up online.

In a nutshell, the lessons explain that all Internet activity is tracked. But it’s almost never clear that you’re being tracked. The AES digital citizenship lessons teach students exactly that.

Most importantly, the lessons tell students that Internet service providers, individual websites, and third-party add-ons can track their activity when they’re online from the moment they connect to the Internet until they shut down their computers.

Lessons also cover how some of that software is used legally for marketing purposes — like how Google collects data on its users so advertisers can market to appropriate audiences.

Other software may be malicious, like keyloggers, trojans, worms, camera control, and remote logins. 

The whole module also emphasizes why it’s crucial that all students understand digital software and the differences among them.

After all, understanding is the first step to protecting themselves.

The module also covers ethics, computer use in the workplace, cyberbullying, and problem-solving.

Altogether, students get a comprehensive experience about what it means to be a good digital citizen.

It’s never too late for students to start behaving responsibly online.

With the AES digital citizenship module, you ensure they can start today!

2. Game: Interland by Google

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Age range: K-12

Interland is Google’s answer to two big questions that they saw among Internet users.

  1. Where can I learn about Internet safety?
  2. Why isn’t it fun to learn about Internet safety?

In response, Google created an in-browser video game that’s informative and entertaining at the same time.

The game is broken into levels, just like any other video game. Students play a blue character made of polygons who spreads positivity among other Internet users (which Google calls “Internauts”).

Players collect pickups (like hearts) to get cards in their hands. Then, they present those cards to other characters throughout the levels, representing different qualities of responsible Internet users.

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Interland presents players with puzzles, platforming, and other gameplay elements across four levels.

  1. Kind Kingdom
  2. Reality River
  3. Mindful Mountain
  4. Tower of Treasure

All of these levels relate to a crucial part of Internet responsibility.

  1. Kindness and empathy
  2. Telling the difference between fake and real online
  3. Thinking before sharing on social media
  4. Keeping your personal information safe

Students tackle issues like cyberbullying and privacy along the way.

While the game doesn’t offer practical solutions to issues (like using a virtual personal network to encrypt your Internet connection), it does make students aware of what’s out in the world.

In that regard, Interland is fun and educational at the same time.

Spend a class period or two with your students playing the game online. It works on most computers, and your students will be sure to remember it long after they leave your classroom.

In addition, Interland is just one part of Google’s larger Be Internet Awesome campaign, mainly aimed at elementary school children.

If you’re looking for more lessons to fill Digital Citizenship Week, Google is a great place to start!

3. Poster: The Digital Citizen Pledge

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Age range: K-12

The digital citizenship pledge consists of different actions that students swear they will or won’t do.

While you can find a lot of variations on this pledge, they all contain the same kernels of wisdom.

Students say they will:

  1. Communicate kindly and responsibly
  2. Use online resources ethically
  3. Speak politely through digital communication
  4. Protect their personal information and others’
  5. Stand up to cyberbullying
  6. Monitor their digital footprints

You’ll find a lot of images and posters online with these tenants as well. They’re a great addition to any classroom!

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While this may not be a direct way to teach students about digital citizenship, a pledge helps students remember how they should behave online to stay safe.

Posting the pledge in your classroom creates a great teaching aid for you as well. That way, whenever students enter your class, they see the pledge right away.

That helps reinforce the information in their minds, even if you only talk about the pledge for one class period.

Best of all, you can use the pledge in conjunction with any other teaching resources you find for Digital Citizenship Week.

4. Everything: Common Sense Education

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Age range: K-12

Common Sense Education is one of the best-known names in digital citizenship.

They have an entire curriculum built out just for Digital Citizenship Week. That makes it easy for any teacher to bring students up to speed on online responsibility, even if you’re not tech-savvy.

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Common Sense’s approach emphasizes critical thinking, safety, and responsibility above most other qualities.

In the context of digital citizenship, those three qualities prepare students to work and play online with minimal risk. 

It’s appropriate that Common Sense creates this curriculum as well. Their approach to digital citizenship is to make it common sense for students, especially elementary-aged children.

Common Sense also offers its own digital citizenship pledge, a full-fledged webinar, fun knickknacks like stickers, and primer lessons for teachers who need them.

All you have to do to start is make an account. Once you have, you’ll get those resources for your classroom.

With these resources at your fingertips, you have a lot of ways to make Digital Citizenship Week fun for every student in any grade!

What Digital Citizenship Options Should You Choose?

It depends on your comfort level!

The AES Digital Citizenship module is a great introductory tool for any student. It’s engaging, helpful, and proven to help long-term information retention.

Google’s Interland is a great way to entertain students while they learn. The game itself leans more toward entertainment than education, but it’s perfect for younger minds.

The digital citizenship pledge is a concept you can modify and use however you’d like. This is especially helpful if you have an existing digital citizenship curriculum and you only want to add to it (as opposed to making a one from scratch).

Last, you could use Common Sense for almost all of the resources you need. A lot of teachers like this because Common Sense offers a huge variety of teaching resources. At the same time, newer teachers may find Common Sense overwhelming for the same reason.

At the end of the day, you have to choose what you want to teach and how your students will respond.

Once you have that figured out, you can easily choose the best digital citizenship resources for your classes.  

Teach Digital Citizenship with Digital Curriculum

If you want to teach digital citizenship, it only makes sense to use digital curriculum!

That way, you teach online responsibility to students when they’re online.

You can start teaching digital citizenship today with Business&ITCenter21. It only takes two minutes to get started.

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About Chris Zook

Chris Zook is the content marketing manager at AES. He enjoys everything about online marketing, data science, user experience, and corgis.

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