Oct 15 2014

Learn How Not to Overshare During Digital Citizenship Week

Students and teachers are working together to define how to be a good Internet citizen.

As the Internet of Things continues to spread throughout schools, students’ conduct online is nearly as important as in the classroom. What can be done to ensure that their experience browsing the Internet is as safe and engaging as learning under the guidance of a teacher?

To that end, Common Sense Education is hosting Digital Citizenship Week Oct. 19-25, culminating with a series of events that encourage students, teachers and family members to engage in responsible behavior online. There are a number of resources to dig into on the organization's website. New promotional materials, including classroom posters, as well as educational sessions and advice, are available on the organization’s website. 

Educator and librarian Shannon Miller recently provided the definition of “digital citizenship” to Flocabulary, an online repository of educational hip-hop songs and videos for students in grades K-12.

“To be a digital citizen means that you are aware, responsible, and part of the world that we know, which is filled with technology, collaboration, and connecting to one another in a variety of ways,” she told Flocabulary’s blog.

Miller added that because “everyone is digital” and is using technology in so many areas of life, it’s quickly becoming redundant to continue including the word “digital” in the term digital citizenship. “It is just part of who we all are as citizens,” she said.

More personal information is being stored online now than ever before, making it difficult for students to navigate the pitfalls of social media sites without “oversharing,” a term used to describe giving away too much personal information online. The word rose to prominence in 2010 and is now at the height of its usage, according to Google Trends.

Over the summer, Flocabulary teamed up with Common Sense Education to produce an animated music video highlighting ways students can curb bad online habits such as oversharing the details of their personal lives.

Craig Badura, a K–12 integration specialist from Aurora, Nebr., said he tries to instill a sense of the ripples students can make when they interact online, noting that the Flocabulary video helps in that regard.

"It's a given that our students are using various forms of social media and with that they are leaving behind a trail of information about themselves," Badura said. "I always like to remind my students that first impressions used to start with handshakes, but now they begin with a Google search.

Excitement for the event has been building online. Students and faculty at West Career & Technical Academy in Las Vegas have kept their custom hashtag #WestTechDCW alive with a flurry of Digital Citizenship Week content.

Education technology blogger Shannon Long promoted the event by creating a series of images using the acronym THINK, to remind students of questions to ask themselves before posting online: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

Along with this weeklong program, Common Sense Education is hosting a variety of other events throughout the month, including a webinar on Wednesday titled "Making a Better World: Teaching Digital Citizenship and 21st Century Skills."

Other events include a session on Oct. 25 at the Fall CUE conference in Napa Valley Calif., titled "Can I Use That? Fair Use for the Remix Generation," and the session “Making a Better World: Digital Literacy and Citizenship for K-12,” being held Oct. 27 at the Greater CNY School Library System's annual conference in Liverpool, N.Y.

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