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).
Students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade are not issued email addresses in our county, so our digital citizenship curriculum will mainly focus on surfing the Internet safely, including your name and date on your own work created online, keeping your log-in password private, and how to choose keywords when searching on a browser (Common Sense Education, 2014). This curriculum will be a starting point and prepare our younger elementary students for third grade when they do receive a Google email address and have more freedom when using he laptops and iPads.
The K-2 Digital Citizenship curriculum will discuss the following key components:
- Internet Safety
- Self- Image and Identity
- Creative Credit and Copyright
- Information Literacy
(Common Sense Education, 2014)
Unit 1-Lesson 1: Going Places Safely
Unit 1- Lesson 2: A-B-C Searching
Unit 1- Lesson 3: Keep It Private
Unit 1- Lesson 4: My Creative Work
Unit 2- Lesson 1: Staying Safe Online
Unit 2- Lesson 4: Using Keywords
Unit 2- Lesson 5: Sites I Like
You can access all of the PDF lesson plans and resources here (Common Sense Education, 2015b).
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.