New This Fall! Digital Passport™ Offers You a New Way to Teach Digital Literacy and Citizenship

August 22, 2012
Sarah Jackson
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA
CATEGORIES Common Sense News, Common Sense Resources, Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy

Like you, we start to get antsy around mid-August, knowing that the school year is getting underway. If digital citizenship is on your list as you begin to plan this fall’s curriculum, we’ve got some exciting news to share.

Our new Digital Passport™ tool is now available for your classroom!  Designed for students in grades 3-5, we put together this web-based platform as a fun way to teach and test students’ readiness to learn and play in a digital world.

Based on lessons from our K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum, it combines classroom instruction with online videos and games to addresses key issues kids face in a digital world: safety and security, cyberbullying, privacy, responsible cell phone use, and respecting creative work. And best of all you can access it now, for free at

We piloted the tool last year and chose a blended learning model based on feedback from educators who told us you wanted time for whole classroom discussion as well as curriculum that was technology rich, self-paced, and had plenty of interactive tools. 

Lisa Taylor, a school librarian at P.S. 199 in New York City piloted the curriculum with her fifth-graders and said the model helped her reach students with varied learning styles. Some students responded best to direct instruction, others to video, and others wished to work at their own pace at the online games. Taylor said the tools provoked some powerful classroom discussions.

“This generation, more than ever in the years I’ve been teaching, are being introduced to devices and gadgets and all these different tools that the older generations aren’t that familiar with,” she said. “It’s definitely a changing world and the program balances the real teaching involved in delivering instruction, getting kids to think critically and deeply, with the tools needed to augment and support learning."

Based on feedback from educators like you, we've also made the following improvements:

  • Easier to register and add students
  • Improved password game
  • Improved instructions on each module
  • Added in-game feedback to reinforce student learning
  • Enabled progress save in Mix & Mash
  • Added professional development video tutorials within the Digital Passport framework
  • Improved wraparound materials which included new student activities

With Digital Passport students complete activities at their own pace and earn badges as they accomplish objectives and advance through each topic area. Digital Passport tracks their progress in skills that can be difficult to assess, giving you a reliable way to measure each student’s readiness to be online and use mobile devices.

And we think administrators will be pleased at the ease with which you can export reports to create a record of student learning, which helps meet E-rate and CIPA requirements.

We’ve also been working to expand opportunities to reach underserved communities in the U.S. and abroad, and are partnering with One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization that aims to improve learning in low-income regions of the world via distribution of basic, low-cost computers. OLPC will provide Digital Passport on their XO laptops and tablets.

Intrigued? Still plenty of time to check out Digital Passport before your students arrive. We look forward to hearing from you about how it goes.