Technology is growing at a rapid pace and our students are learning how to use new tools and methods before we even hear about them. In 1994, only 3% of public schools had computers and Internet access (McLeod & Richardson, 2013). In 2008, 97% of public schools had computers and Internet access (McLeod & Richardson, 2013). Today, we not only face the pressure to integrate technology in to student learning but as teachers, it is imperative that students learn to be smart digital citizens. Oxley (2010) compares students who surf the web without education are like uneducated drivers (p. 1). Uneducated drivers increase the risk for accidents on the road, whereas "Educated drivers make the roads safer" (Oxley, 2010).
The 3-5 digital citizenship curriculum will be vertically aligned. Since this is our first year, fifth grade will participate in more lessons than third and fourth grade. It is very important to teach our upper elementary students digital citizenship so that they can make decisions when they are faced with inappropriate behavior on the Internet (Oxley, 2010).
The 3-5 Digital Citizenship curriculum will discuss the following key components:
- Privacy and Security
- Self- Image and Identity
- Creative Credit and Copyright
- Information Literacy
- Digital Footprint and Reputation
- Relationships and Communication
- Internet Safety
(Common Sense Education, 2014)
Recommended Lessons (grade levels are specified):
Unit 1-Lesson 1: Rings of Responsibility (3, 4, 5)
Unit 1- Lesson 2: Private and Personal Information (3, 4, 5)
Unit 1- Lesson 3: The Power of Words (3, 4, 5)
Unit 1- Lesson 4: The Key to Keywords (3, 4, 5)
Unit 1- Lesson 5: Who Is It, Anyway? (3, 4, 5)
Unit 2- Lesson 1: Strong Passwords (4, 5)
Unit 2- Lesson 3: You've Won a Prize! (4, 5)
Unit 2- Lesson 4: How to Cite a Site (4, 5)
Unit 3- Lesson 1: Talking Safely Online (5)
Unit 3- Lesson 2: Super Digital Citizens (5)
Unit 3- Lesson 4: What's Cyberbullying? (5)
You can access all of the PDF lesson plans and resources here (Common Sense Education, 2015a).
Please send home "Family Tip Sheets" provided for each lesson. The link for these tip sheets can be found on each lesson page on the Common Sense Media website.
New Hanover County Schools (n.d.) has categorized, by grade level, additional resources (some of them are from the recommended lessons above) that promote appropriate Internet communication and discuss the issue of cyberbullying.