Here is a topic I have put a lot of thought into especially this year. I had explored Common Sense Media's Digital Literacy & Citizenship curriculum in the past, but never successfully incorporated any of those pre-made lessons into my own isolated Library Skills curriculum. I can't say why - it just never seemed to fit, and because I only have access to each individual class about 30 times in a school year, I really work hard to create a curriculum that is custom aligned in a scope and sequence fashion to our unique mission and vision. This is not to say that I didn't feel digital citizenship is important or relevant, because you bet it is! I just didn't really know where to insert it in a way that would enhance the other skills and units that I wanted to cover.
Then I discovered Citizenship in the Digital Age thanks to Questar III's Jane Bentley's ROAR (Revisiting Our Area's Resources) article posted in September or October 2016. Being written by the same folks who tackled the indispensable IFC (Now Empire State Information Fluency Continuum), for some reason, this was a document and curriculum I could sink my teeth into!
Like Common Sense Media, CDA offers a K-12 scope & sequence vertically aligned curriculum, but I just liked the more familiar format of the CDA document, and I felt it was somehow easier to modify and customize to my specific needs.
So this year I created a new component to my 5th grade curriculum that features lessons based on the 5th grade CDA Digital Citizenship Guide. That guide itself is SO helpful and actually pulls in components of the IFC - it's just the best thing EVER! And each set of grade level lessons include specific learning outcomes and a list of Common Core and IFC standards addressed - it's just a thing of pure beauty!
Now all that said, I do love this document whole-heartedly, but would I use it as is? No way. Some of the activities were not the greatest and the links and videos sometimes lacked pizzazz, but that's okay. I like to customize my lessons, so all I really needed was the clear outline and a chance to read through their examples, and then I was ready to run with it on my own!
I am smack in the middle of implementing my brand new Digital Citizenship "unit" as I type. I combined it with my lessons on web site evaluation (based on IFC benchmarks) and will follow it up with setting up student accounts in NoodleTools, an online research organizer. I'm focusing on the two major components of digital citizenship as identified by the CDA: responsibility and safety, and it seriously could not be working better!! NoodleTools is tied with the IFC as the best thing ever because it reinforces everything students need to know about effectively using resources (print and electronic) responsibly, and setting up the accounts reinforces the notion of digital safety because we spend a whole class learning how to create strong IDs and PWs to keep our accounts secure. I am loving this because my 5th graders are super engaged, the learning is absolutely relevant, and I feel like I'm giving them skills and tools that will truly have an impact on the rest of their lives. This is what teaching is all about; this is why I love my job!
I could continue to extol the many great qualities of both the IFC and CDA, and, of course, NoodleTools (by the way, NoodleTools' note card format is identical to IFC benchmark assessment 4:5!!), but let me briefly address "Digital Tattoos" or digital footprints. The thinking points in this activity asked us to consider student privacy and "over-sharing". In a nutshell, yes, I do believe employers and colleges have a right to research potential candidates - even their social media presence. And I do feel that they should be able to include what they find in their over all evaluation of candidates. I understand that people post things for different "audiences" using different "voices" and language, but if it can be easily found online, then no, it is not private. What people choose to post online is definitely a reflection of their judgement and character. Absolutely. And this is why teaching digital citizenship is so very, very important. People need to realize the consequences for their words and actions, and they need to be mindful of the persona they create online.