Teaching Digital Citizenship in the School Library

What is “digital citizenship”?

Well, in broad terms, it’s the set of norms that define the appropriate and responsible use of technologies. As technology and social media constantly evolve, it is important that we, as school librarians, stay abreast of cutting-edge trends so we can best guide our stakeholders in best practices.

Why should we teach digital citizenship?

Digital citizenship skills are interwoven all throughout the current AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner as well as many state-level documents for technology and information skills. Digital citizenship isn’t something that needs to be taught in isolation. As technology becomes more pervasive in our schools and society, it is important to model these skills in everyday life.

Where can we find resources?

A number of years ago, I had a second grade teacher that requested a good readaloud about Internet safety. She was a bit disappointed that I didn’t have exactly what she was looking for in print form; however, I did offer her something better. We collaborated using Common Sense Media to offer some great, interactive digital lessons that were grade-level appropriate. Not only were the lesson plans already provided, but they addressed lesson objectives, scope and sequence, Common Core and ISTE standards, and lesson assessments. This Common Sense Media lesson was so successful that I expanded my digital citizenship instruction to include multiple lessons for grades K-5.

What about in a 1-1 environment?

For blended learning, Common Sense Media also offers several platforms that teach digital citizenship through game-based instruction. Students earn “badges” while completing challenges that help students learn how to make good choices when using technology and social media. Teachers can create classrooms and track student progress through a dashboard when using Digital Passport (grades 3-5), Digital Compass (grades 6-8), and Digital Bytes (grades 9-12).

What about families?

Great news. CSM also offers materials helpful for parents and families. Instead of just printing a PDF and sending it home in a book bag, consider planning an information session at a parent night using the event planning guides. Videos, printables, and interactives help make planning and execution a breeze.

Professional development?

Once you become a pro, share your expertise with other school librarians and educators in your community or district. Consider becoming Common Sense Certified, either individually or for your school or district.



Author: Sedley Abercrombie

Sedley Abercrombie is the district digital learning and library media programs specialist for Davidson County Schools in North Carolina, an NCSLMA executive board member, and an adjunct instructor at East Carolina University.

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

2 replies

  1. Love Common Sense Media! Our middle school is piloting a 3 year framework based on the CSM lessons. Everything is so kid friendly, and the lessons offer opportunities for discussions about real situations. Thanks for a great post!

  2. Excellent post! I may be quoting you and referencing this post when I host a workshop on integrating CSM curriculum with academic curriculum at the Northwest Council for Computers in Education in March 2017.

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