Though the school year has and summer break has begun, education for K-12 digital citizens doesn’t have to take a vacation. With a wide array of online tools available on the topic, students and families can continue to improve as digital citizens even while enjoying summer vacation. Educators too can use this time to explore available resources and plan lessons customized to their unique classroom needs.
Many schools teach Digital Citizenship by using available resources or creating their own. While there are many available options, exploring each of these resources can be a time-consuming task. This is one of the main reasons why E2Today has created the Digital Citizenship Toolkit – to provide direction and guidance on using these tools.
2019 Summer Series – Digital Citizenship Toolkit
As a part of our Digital Citizenship Toolkit, we are including a new series on our blog – the 2019 Summer Series. In this 4 – part blog series, we will be showcasing selected educational Digital Citizenship Resources. View Part 1 below where we explore Netsmartz.
Netsmartz, provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), provides age-appropriate resources for teaching children ages 5-17 ‘how to be safer on- and offline’.
Netsmartz has been actively providing educational supports on Digital Citizenship topics for many years. In fact, when I worked as Director of Technology, K-12 at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we coordinated a K-12 initiative for our 180 schools on the topics of Online Safety and Responsible Technology Usage with the support of Netsmartz. School administrators responded positively to the program citing the high quality of lesson materials and ease of use. Because it was such a valuable resource in the past, we wanted to take a fresh look at Netsmartz and share what I found in an easy to follow guide.
The reason why I feel that these options are valuable is that I have implemented educational programs for Digital Citizenship at various age levels and classroom settings. I find that selecting the right lesson for the right topic can be a challenge.
1. Search Netsmartz by Topic
Browse and select resources for use at home or school. Many topics of importance are found including – cyberbullying, online messaging and more.
2. Explore Netsmarz Teaching Resources
In the Teaching Resources section, educators will find a wide variety of materials and lesson resources in easy to download and ‘streamable’ formats. Formats encompass videos, lesson plans, and tip sheets organized conveniently by age and by student grade.
3. View the Netsmartz Online Educator Program
Through a partnership with Disney, Netsmartz provides an online training program for educators. Through this, educators can learn the essentials of how to teach digital citizenship and online safety to students. In order to participate, teachers explore materials and take an online quiz. With the time commitment of 1.5 hours, educators can become empowered with essential knowledge and to foster digital citizenship in their school.In this self-paced program, educators receive a completion certificate which may even be eligible for continuing education credit.
4. Stream the Netsmartz Video Collection
Videos are posted according to student age group and grade and grouped by topic. For many of these videos, visitors can also find corresponding lesson handouts.
5. Stay Connected
Visitors to the site can stay connected to Netsmartz in three ways – creating an online account, subscribing to the newsletter or following Netsmartz on social media (Twitter- Facebook).
In summary, we found that Netsmartz resources are easy to use and they offer a wide selection on important topics across age groups. Exploring these resources when updating your Digital Citizenship educational approach is highly recommended. To view these resources and those mentioned above, you can visit www.netsmartz.org
Additionally – stay tuned for more from Netsmartz as they plan to release a new website and refreshed materials the summer – just in time for back to school.
Because technology change is swift and sometimes complex, educators can find it a challenge to stay on top of emerging issues and available solutions when it comes to Digital Citizenship. Keeping digital citizenship a priority throughout the school year and through the summer can prove beneficial to us all.
E2 Today provides guidance on how to teach digital citizenship within the classroom. To request information and schedule professional development, email us and visit us on social media @e2today.