Digital Citizenship Classes are Rising in Popularity


Ask a student to Google themselves.  It’s a simple task that may not seem like a big deal.  But the truth is that it can be.  It gets kids to realize what a simple Google search can reveal about you. It can get students to understand that they have to be as responsible online as they should be in real life. 

Rachel Murat, a New York High School teacher did exactly that. Asking her students to Google themselves is an opportunity to teach her students about Digital Citizenship and how important it is to behave correctly online.

Rachel explains that Digital Citizenship is about “using the reach of technology, especially social media, to improve the lives of others”.  Murat continues… “I harp on them about not making a permanent post about a temporary emotion.”

As concerns with issues such as Cyber bullying are arguably at an all-time high, Digital Citizenship is an increasingly sought after subject in American schools.  Research shows that kids struggle with values, ethics and decision-making online.  To help kids understand the importance of being responsible online,  Digital Citizenship course-loads involve lessons in online reputation, cyber bullying, privacy and safety.

Even as early as just five years ago, curricula centered on digital citizenship were few and far between.  Now, there are many different sources to help educators institute digital citizenship into their plans.  In Murat’s case, she adopted curriculum from online learning-management system “Schoology” – but there are others available from providers such as Common Sense Media or Social Assurity too.

The demand for a curriculum centered on digital citizenship has increased dramatically. For example, Schoology launched in 2009, and in less than a decade they have grown to 20 million users in over 60,000 schools across the country.

Parents are beginning to see the benefits that Digital Citizenship classes have on their children, too. One parent of a student who completed Murat’s class said that their child “has become much more conscious of the need to keep her [online] activity respectful.”

In today’s tech and online-driven world, ignoring digital citizenship would be doing a disservice to children who should have this as a fundamental element of their K-12 experience.

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