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© CyberWise 2013
G ET D IGITAL : STEP THREE
How To Use This Guide
This guide accompanies the CyberWise Guide to Digital Citizenship (which hopefully you just watched). If you are reading this guide online then simply click the links within to access the material they reference. You can also print this guide in order to have a hard copy on hand. Either way, we hope you ﬁnd the information within useful. Enjoy!
What is Digital Citizenship?
If you’ve watched the Cyberwise Guide to Digital Citizenship video, then you already know that “digital citizenship” prepares everyone to use digital media safely, conﬁdently and wisely. It is the essential ﬁrst step to “media literacy.” Fortunately there are loads of free, online resources available to help teachers, parents, and other grownups incorporate “digital citizenship” lessons into their classroom, after-school program, parent group, or home. Because ﬁnding and ﬁguring out these resources takes time (and who’s got that?) we’ve done it for you!
1. Common Sense Media:
The best media and technology teaching resources, we think, come from Common Sense Media. While their website is most commonly known for its reviews and advice on movies, television, games, videos, apps, websites and more (an indispensable resource for parents), they also offer a turn-key Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum. Lesson activities range from low-tech options, such as discussion and paper-based worksheets, to media-rich videos and online activities, and can also be used in informal learning environments, such as after-school programs and community centers, libraries, and museums.
Where to Start?
You can’t go wrong starting with any of the many free, ready-to-use materials available online. Here are some of our favorites:
The Common Sense Media curriculum is based on the ﬁve ethical issues identiﬁed by Dr. Howard Gardner and his team at the Harvard School of Education GoodPlay project (read about it on page 6).
We’ve used this curriculum in the classroom ourselves (read about it in our CyberCivics blog) and found it to be easy-to-use, fun, and effective.
Where to Start? (continued)
2. Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World
Our Space is a set of curricular materials designed for high school students from Project New Media Literacies (established at MIT and now housed at University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism). Like the Common Sense Media materials, these were born from the ethical thinking research from The GoodPlay Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Through role-playing activities and reﬂective exercises, students are asked to consider the ethical responsibilities of other people, and whether and how they behave ethically online themselves. All curricular units and lessons are free and available for download here.
http://www.newmedialiteracies.org /our-space-being-a-responsible-citi zen-of-the-digital-world/
iKeepSafe is another great place to turn for resources that help young people (and their parents!) become “responsible, ethical digital citizens with healthy online relationships.” They’ve created a number of programs for educators, parents, and community groups, including one we helped them with called BE a PRO. BE a PRO is an acronym that addresses what research and leading experts have identiﬁed as known online risks. You’ll learn a lot more about this (including how you can BE a PRO) in Level 2 of this program.
Where to Start? (continued)
4. NetSafe: LPG
LGP stands for Learn/Guide/Protect. It is a framework that supports schools in creating a culture of responsible, safe use of digital technologies. LGP, from New Zealand, promotes a student-centered approach to teaching and learning about cybersafety and digital citizenship across the curriculum. At ﬁrst we found this resource a bit confusing, but after looking at it more carefully we realized that it is a wealth of resources. In Kiwispeak a “bit” stands for a bit of curriculum. For example, say you were looking for a speciﬁc lesson on a particular topic, like “reputation management”, you would simply type in those keywords to ﬁnd a lesson (or bit) on that topic. This site is as a central hub of content, suggestions and ideas for building an effective school-based digital citizenship education program. A lively teacher community provides the content by contributing links, comments, suggestions, and ideas to www.mylgp.org.nz.
Where to Start? (continued)
5. Media Smarts
MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-forproﬁt charitable organization for digital and media literacy. Their vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.
There are so many terriﬁc resources available online to learn about and teach Digital Citizenship that it is really impossible to cover them all here. So please check in with the Digital Citizenship Learning Center at CyberWise. We regularly update the Center with new and current resources on Digital Citizenship.
To achieve this goal they’ve developed and deliver high-quality Canadian-based digital and media literacy resources (that work in the U.S. too!). Media Smarts resources are extensive. You can ﬁnd lessons and activities for literally every age group and topic. Best of all it’s all free and very easy to navigate.
If you plan on using materials from Common Sense Media or Project New Media Literacies, you may want to read the research behind the curriculum. Heck, you should just read the research anyway! In this paper, Dr. Henry Jenkins, formerly Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT and now Provost Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, explores new frameworks and models for media literacy. It is a seminal work and particularly important to read if you want to truly understand media literacy in the 21st century.
Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media: A Synthesis from the Good Play Project
This report, part of the GoodPlay Project, undertaken by researchers led by Dr. Howard Gardner at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, investigates the ethical fault lines of young people’s digital pursuits. The authors argue that ﬁve key issues are at stake in new media: identity, privacy, ownership and authorship, credibility, and participation. This report explores the ways in which youth may be redeﬁning these concepts as they engage with digital media.
Digital Community, Digital Citizen
http://www.newmedialitera cies.org/wp-content/upload s/pdfs/NMLWhitePaper.pdf
One of the best resources for a broad overview of Digital Citizenship is the book Digital Community, Digital Citizen (Ohler, 2010). It is one of the few sources we’ve found that places Digital Citizenship within the historical context of “citizenship.” The book also describes several activities that allow students to become “de-tech-tives,” helping them to see (and hopefully, to question) technology’s impact on our everyday lives. It also encourages educators to take a “whole school approach to behavior that sets the entirety of being digitally active within an overall ethical and behavioral context” (p. 145). Great idea.
Ohler also offers this wiki with terriﬁc links: https://sites.google.com/site/digitalcitizenshipresources/
Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century
The white paper Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century (Jenkins et al., 2006) identiﬁes the kinds of participatory practices youth are engaged in today, and draws up a provisionary list of the skills these practices demonstrate.
Why Digital Citizenship Should Matter to Grownups
There’s also the issue of privacy. While most adults would advise their children not to share personal identifying information online, like addresses or birth dates, they themselves often readily post graduation, birthday, wedding, and other event photos that contain identifying information. All of this becomes part of our children’s “digital footprint” and once posted, we lose control over how or where this information is used. As fun as it is to share pictures and posts online, we should consider the other people in the photo or message, especially our children. A good rule of thumb before hitting “post” or “send” is to stop and ask yourself this question ﬁrst, “Am I being a good digital role model?” Now more than ever, young people need adults they can look up to as “digital role models.” But since kids are growing up in a world that didn’t exist when we were young, many don’t have the adult guidance they sorely need. Additionally, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center study called “Reputation Management and Social Media,” adults are actually the ones who sometimes use new media poorly, like sharing too much personal information online (even more so than younger users). Why is this a concern? Well, besides embarrassing kids with those online family albums, it can be a safety risk. For example, just think about all of those Facebook “friends” (and, possibly, their “friends”) looking at photos of your family frolicking on the beach in Maui while your house sits alone and empty. Here are some terriﬁc resources about this topic: Reputation Management and Social Media [Pew Study] Parents: Are Your Online Posts Too Revealing? Teaching and Modeling Good Digital Citizenship Digital Citizenship: Boy Are We Bad At This... Ten Things You Should Never Post on Facebook How Parents Normalized Teens Password Sharing CyberWise Digital Citizenship Learning Center
Digital Citizenship Video Transcript
So what is Digital Citizenship? Well, we believe it is the essential ﬁrst step to becoming media literate in the 21st century. Just like Driver’s Education prepares kids to get behind the wheel of a car, Digital Citizenship prepares them to navigate the information super highway conﬁdently and safely. And this is important, because the media environment are kids are growing up in is new and different from anything any of us has ever experienced before. With the rules of road being written literally as we speak. And while membership to the global digital community offers tremendous opportunity. It is also fraught with possible peril. Underscoring the necessity of digital literacy for students and their parents. Many experts agree that the road to digital literacy starts here. Dr. Jason Ohler believes that we all need “to develop an ethical core that can guide us in this unfamiliar territory.” Author Daniel Prensky writes that “installing ethical behavior ought to be our number one concern. “And even the U.S. Dept of Education states that students “must be active, creative, knowledgeable and ethical participants of this networked society.” But here’s the problem… Few young people actually engage in ethical thinking when they’re online. In fact, according Dr. Henry Jenkins, what we have is an ethics challenge. Fortunately, researchers at Harvard led by this man have been doing a lot of thinking about ethical thinking… [video] These ﬁve ethical issues create the framework to a digital citizenship curriculum offered online, for free, by Common Sense Media. To address the ethical issue of Participation, for example, they’ve designed a unit called Digital Life. Their free resources include short, entertaining videos like this one. As well as materials like these for students, with corresponding materials for adults, so that we can at least sound like we know what we are talking about.
In a unit on Privacy, for example, Common Sense offers activities like this one where students learn about the impact of their digital footprint by imagining the virtual impression they hope to make on the world in ten years. There are also several role-playing games like “Choose a Host,” which was adapted for a sixth grade class who thought they were hiring an employee to work on their class fundraiser. This exercise helps students understand how online misrepresentations can have signiﬁcant impacts. One of the reasons teaching Digital Citizenship is so important is that it helps students think through ethical dilemmas that happen online, every day, in a safe, ofﬂine environment. For example in this game called “Chart It” students hear a variety of stories that actually happen online. Then they are asked to think about the level of harm and intentionality posed in each scenario, by physically taking a place on a chart like this that indicates how they view the perpetrator’s intentions in each story. Students are also taught skills to deal with potential incidents of cyberbullying.
Digital Citizenship helps students to think about their online identities. Playing a game like “3 Facts, 1 Fiction,” for example, helps them understand how much easier it is to exaggerate, make up or change their identity online because they are not interacting face to face. This game helps young people understand that not everyone presents him or herself online the way they do in person. Interviewing one another and designing ofﬂine “FakeBook” proﬁles allows students to learn and practice what information is safe and appropriate to share online, hopefully preventing irreversible and harmful mistakes commonly made when we ﬁrst start using social media. In addition to a wealth of free, online resources like these, you can also learn about Digital Citizenship the old fashioned way, by reading a book. This is one of the best to give you a broad understanding of Digital Citizenship. It also offers a range of activities that help young people really understand technology’s impact on our culture. Like learning how to read and write, learning Digital Citizenship prepares students to fully participate in the digital world that’s here to stay. So rather than shielding students from an environment that offers so many opportunities for learning, let’s prepare them. Because the best Internet ﬁlter in the world is the one right between their ears.
Common Sense Media (n.d.). Common sense media education programs. Retrieved from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators Edutopia (n.d.). Big thinkers: Howard Gardner on digital youth. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/digital-generation-howard-gardner-video James, C. (2009). Young people, ethics, and the new digital media: A synthesis from the GoodPlay project. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Clinton, K., Weigel, M., & Robinson, A. J. (2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the21st Century. Retrieved from http://newmedialiteracies.org/ Ohler, J.B. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Transforming American education: learning powered by technology. Retrieved from
Video Music Credits “Gaslamp Funworks” By: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech,
Video Photo Credits:
Driver in Green Shirt. By jgrebedw (attribution license)
Boy texting. By dmjarvey (attribution license)
Girl texting. By GoodNCrazy (attribution license)
Girl holding drivers license. By: au_tiger01 (attribution license) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/au_tiger01/4698103089/in/photostream Blank Chalkboard. By "D Sharon Pruitt" (attribution license)
Node. By: Marc_Smith (attribution license)
http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/49503165485@N01/4816144995/ Lock Credit: Flickr: Husky
Thanks for reading! Here are some ways you can “Be CyberWise.” Visit our Website: www.CyberWise.org or follow us on Twitter: @becyberwise Be sure to check out and subscribe to our free publications: The CyberWise Daily A daily paper full of trends and topics related to media literacy, digital citizenship, education and the responsible integration of technology into the classroom delivered to your email every day. The CyberWise Newsletter A bi-weekly newsletter that keeps you up to speed on our new videos, guides, and other resources.
©2013 CyberWise, LLC
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