Fostering Good Digital Citizenship in the Classroom

Whether we’re looking up a recipe, getting directions, sharing a photo on social media or doing online banking — there’s no question: we’re living in a digital world.

And while there are many positive aspects to our connected world, there can be drawbacks and dangers, especially for young people who are still developing the critical thinking and interpersonal skills they need to stay safe and have positive interactions online.

Here are three tips shared by Ophea Canada in their blog post, Safe & Savvy Online, which I had the opportunity to contribute to and be interviewed for.

1. Connect to Curriculum:

The 2015 H&PE Curriculum includes expectations around online behaviour in the Personal Safety and Injury Prevention component of the Healthy Living strand, in the Human Development and Sexual Health strand and through the Living Skills—the personal, interpersonal and critical and creative thinking skills that are woven throughout the curriculum.

We want students to use Living Skills like critical thinking so they’re questioning what they’re seeing online and thinking about the integrity of what they’re doing, as well as the behaviours and actions of others.

2. Connect to the Community:

School administration, the OPP, Kids Help Phone or local police and public health for are great resources and sources of support. As teachers we can learn from professionals and subject experts about situations that have occurred, what resources are available, and what actions the school or community have taken in the past and can take in the future.

Collaborating with other teachers and various organizations (like the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario) can also be a good way to stay up-to-date on trends in technology. It changes very quickly, and in most cases students know before we do as educators. Be willing to learn and comfortable knowing that your students will likely know more than you.

3. Connect to the Everyday:

Internet safety needs to be part of the everyday safety we’re teaching students. As teachers we can model positive behaviour and learning through “Think Alouds” as we Google search various topics connected to the curriculum.

Learning online is simply an extension of what we’re already doing. Teachers should be integrating online safety as they would any safety topics, including road safety, safe handling of food, and bullying.

By teaching students to think critically about what they read, see and share and then to act with kindness and integrity, just as we want them to do in real life, we’ll help to ensure our students success and safety—both in the virtual and the face-to-face world.

To read the original blog post through Ophea, click here.

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