More and more U.S. schools are making classes on digital citizenship mandatory components of their curriculums. Several districts in San Joaquin County, CA, became the latest to follow suit, including the Lodi Unified School District. The district there is training teachers from elementary through high school to teach courses in digital citizenship that will incorporate lessons from our free Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum.
"It's to the point where every class is just going to have to have an Internet-related lesson plan built in," said Lodi Unified’s tech-services director Dale Munsch in a recent interview at Record.net. "From cyberbullying, to social media, to plagiarism and copyright infringement ... it's a major part of life for young people."
Lodi Unified is just one district of the 50,000 schools worldwide that use Common Sense Media’s curriculum. Marisa Connolly, the communications director here at CSM says that more schools are beginning to understand the importance of mainstreaming digital citizenship education, rather than offering it as an elective course.
"For kids, this generation of teens that have grown up with the Internet, there is no distinction between digital life and regular life. It's all blended together," Connolly said in the article. "Schools are really starting to figure all of this out."
The curriculum focuses on three pillar of online life:
- Safety and security
- Research and information literacy
- Digital citizenship
These three pillars also have sub-sections that address cyberbullying and scams, finding trustworthy sources, and the relationship between social media, privacy, and reputation.
Plus, another valuable tool for teachers and students also mentioned in the article is Edmodo, a school-friendly social networking site that allows users to check grades, future assignments, and messages from their peers, teachers, and even parents. Edmodo also acts as a submission platform for homework and class discussions. Students can create polls to encourage participation outside the classroom, while teachers can submit grades, leave comments, and create sub-groups within a course. After the semester ends, the teacher closes out the network and can create a new one for the next group of students. The platform comes with an iOS and Android app as well.
To stave off summer boredom and slow the learning slide, the company has provided a list of ways to use Edmodo this summer. Some of the suggestions include summer reading groups and a middle school Edmodo “summer camp.”
“We have a book club, … apps from the Edmodo app store and just an area to help build community for our classes,” wrote Wes Brownfield, fifth grade teacher at Stapleton Elementary in Joplin, MO, of his school’s Edmodo camp program. “We will post tasks and challenges for fun twice a week and award badges to students who complete the assigned task or challenge. I think by using Edmodo over the summer we will see great results in our learning this next year!”
Photo courtesy of the Skowhegan School District.