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New Digital Citizenship Lessons for Your Classroom

Introducing the new and improved K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum from Common Sense Education.

Erin Wilkey Oh | August 9, 2019

Students need digital citizenship skills to participate fully in their communities and make smart choices online and in life. Common Sense Education's K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students to think critically and use technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate. Designed and developed in partnership with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education -- and guided by research with thousands of educators -- each digital citizenship lesson helps students build lifelong skills.

In the nine years since we launched the K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum, we've seen educator needs and concerns grow with the evolving digital landscape. We're pleased to announce a significant update to our curriculum informed by new research from Harvard's Project Zero to make sure educators have the best resources to prepare today's students for success. Whether you're new to our curriculum or have been using it for years, we think you'll be excited to learn more.

What's New in the Updated Curriculum?

Revised and expanded topics

Our curriculum still covers cyberbullying, privacy, digital footprints, and more. But we're refining the topics and adding new ones to address the changing media landscape. The updated curriculum addresses these six topics: Media Balance & Well-Being; Privacy & Security; Digital Footprint & Identity; Relationships & Communication; Cyberbullying, Digital Drama & Hate Speech; and News & Media Literacy.

Revised Scope & Sequence

The new Scope & Sequence offers one lesson on each of the six topics for each grade level. So for example, for grade 3, you'll find six lessons, one for each of the curriculum topics. With this new curriculum structure, we can offer more targeted, age-appropriate lessons as well as a more in-depth skills progression for each topic for grades K–12.

Lesson slides!

Over the years, so many of you have created your own slides for the digital citizenship lessons. This time around, we've taken care of that for you! For every lesson, we're adding customizable slides with a fun, student-centered look.

New and improved lesson plans

Our updated lessons take a more student-centered approach to teaching these important topics. We now offer a lesson snapshot that breaks down the time suggested for each lesson step, making it easier to customize the lesson to fit within your class period. Plus, the lessons will be aligned with many standards (ISTE, ELA Common Core, CASEL, AASL, and CSTA).

New student activities, videos, classroom posters, and more

With fresh new designs and content, the lesson materials give students relevant, engaging ways to demonstrate learning and spark conversations on digital citizenship at school and at home. Students and teachers will love the new music videos for younger students created in collaboration with FableVision, plus several award-winning Above the Noise videos for older students from KQED and PBS Digital Studios. In addition, Social Media TestDrive, a new platform co-developed with the Cornell Social Media Lab, lets students practice digital citizenship skills in a safe and protected space.

Flexible documents and Add to Google Drive options

The updated curriculum materials are now in Google formats, including lesson quizzes in Google Forms. You'll now be able to download, edit, and add lesson materials using Google Drive. You can also share student videos and interactives to Google Classroom. Google Docs can be downloaded in other formats for teachers who prefer, for example, Microsoft Word or PDF.

What Will Happen to the Existing K–12 Curriculum?

The original version of our K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum will still be available on our website for the 2019–2020 school year, though it no longer appears in the site navigation or in search results. Our new lessons are easier to use and more relevant for students today.

Check out our Digital Citizenship Curriculum Crosswalk for detailed information on how the updated curriculum compares to the original. This helpful guide outlines all the new lessons and answers the what, when, and how of all the curriculum changes. If you've been using the original Digital Citizenship Curriculum, this guide will help you transition to the new.

Have more questions? Check out the curriculum update FAQ in our Help Center.