Citizenship in the Digital Age:

Jeff Suzik, Chrissy Laycob, Patrick Woessner

METC 2010

Presentation Slides

An Administrator's Perspective: We've Been Here Before

The generation gap that exists today is rooted in events that occurred long before the advent of technology:
  • Late 19th century industrialization and urbanization led to a new pattern for relations between “teens” and their parents
  • Emergence of the comprehensive public high school in the early 20th century
  • The long-term effects of the G.I. Bill and Post-World War II affluence on teen/adult relations
  • Invention of the “Teen-ager”
  • Development of a broad-based “youth culture”

The affect of computers and cell phones on youth today is not unlike the impact that television and video games had in the past. Schools must embrace technology as a cultural driver and establish mechanisms for teaching students to use technology appropriately/responsibly.

Helicopter Parents
Parents who desire constant contact with their children can prove challenging. Bridget Booher address this issue in her article Helicopter Parents, published in the January/February 2007 issue of Duke Magazine Online.

Millennials vs. Gen X/Boomers
55% have a social networking page
28% write blogs
27% have produced web pages
64% of teens 12-17 have some personal online content

20% have a social networking page
8% write blogs
14% have produced web pages
*Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, cited by Rhonda Bodfield Bloom, “Grown-Ups Have Long Way to Go to Rival Teens’ Technology Grasp.” Arizona Daily Star online, January 3, 2008

Understand Today's Student
Teachers (and parents) must understand that students today are different from the previous generation; they learn and socialize in ways we often do not understand. In his ASCD article "Turning on the Lights", Marc Prensky notes, "Compared with students' technology-infused lives outside of school, the traditional classroom is a somber place." Educators (and parents) must come to understand students' digital lives so they can help them meet the challenges of living in a digital world.

Further Reading

A Counselor's Perspective: It IS a Parent's Responsibility

Schools need to partner with parents, not assume complete responsibility. Parents need to be reminded:
  • children and teens will not always make good choices
  • it's important to get involved as much as possible
  • set the standards immediately and when your children are young
  • don't leave the parenting to monitoring software

Growing Up Online

Adolescence is the time to develop a moral identity. Given that children have literally grown up with technology, it can be difficult to help them develop a strong online moral compass. Two valuable resources for parents (and teachers) are the FRONTLINE documentary, Growing Up Online from February 2009, and the follow-up program Digital Nation, first broadcast in January 2010.

Growing Up Online

Digital Nation

Parents Monitoring Kids Online

  • Start as early as possible
  • Make it an enjoyable experience
  • Ask questions
  • Find out who they are talking to and what they are posting
  • Be positive about the good choices they make
  • The goal is to have them invite you into their online world

Further Reading

An Instructional Technologist's Perspective: Establish a Program

A Comparison of Major Frameworks

There are numerous Digital Citizenship models readily available that span a variety of topics and ages. None should be considered "turn key" solutions, however, as each school must consider the specific needs of its population. The document below compares the major themes of five popular models: ISTE's NETS for Students, Ribble and Bailey's Digital Citizenship in Schools, the iKeepSafe Digital Citizenship C3 Matrix, Microsoft's Digital Citizenship and Creative Content program, and Protecting Students in the 21st Century from SimpleK12.

DC Programs

A Closer Look: Digital Citizenship in Schools

Perhaps the most comprehensive view of Digital Citizenship comes from Gerald Bailey and Mike Ribble. In their book Digital Citizenship in Schools they identify nine citizenship themes that can be organized into three categories:

Student Learning and Academic Performance
1. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society
2. Digital Literacy: the process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology
3. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information

School Environment and Student Behavior
4. Digital Security and Safety: electronic precautions to guarantee safety/physical well-being in a digital technology world
5. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure
6. Digital Rights and Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world

Student Life Outside the School Environment
7. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods
8. Digital Health and Wellness: physical and psychological well-being
9. Digital Law: rights and restrictions

A Closer Look: Protecting Students in the 21st Century

These broad themes can serve as a guide or framework, but their implementation requires a more specific curriculum and set of resources. The Protecting Students in the 21st Century program from SimpleK12 addresses all facets of a comprehensive digital citizenship program:

The MICDS Middle School Framework

Our middle school program is based on eight themes/topics derived from the major frameworks we explored and are adapted to meet the needs of our school community:
  • AUP
  • Ethnics
  • Cyber Safety
  • Cyber Security
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Copyright and Fair Use
  • Electronic Communication
  • Social Networking and Online Reputation Management

Each is these themes is addressed at each grade level using a variety of strategies/resources as outlined in the matrix below:
MICDS Digital Citizenship Program

Curricular Resources

Many of the activities come from resources outside the five major frameworks we explored. Our program draws from several curricular resources:

Note: SimpleK12 has assembled an extensive list of internet safety resources that would benefit anyone seeking to develop their own program.

Further Reading