Deepening the Ways We Engage Youth as (Digital) Citizens

June 26, 2019
By Educator Innovator

According to the recently released Common Sense Census, approximately six out of ten U.S. K–12 teachers used some type of digital citizenship curriculum or resource with students in their classrooms, while approximately seven out of ten taught at least one type of digital citizenship competency. Almost half of those teachers focused on cyberbullying and hate speech, privacy and safety. But looking at the Mozilla Foundation’s Web Literacy Framework, protecting oneself online is only a small portion of what it even means to be literate online. What else do we need to know and practice to be both digitally literate and productive citizens in the increasing digital and networked world?

ISTE, the International Society of Technology in Education, announced Tuesday at their annual conference that they have convened a coalition to support educators in engaging this question alongside their students. (or #DigCitCommit) calls for the learning and teaching of digital citizenship “as a critical skill for students of today” and a way to support youth in being connected learners and leaders of tomorrow. In a related tweet @ISTE tweeted that citizenship in digital environments “shouldn’t be a list of don’ts, it needs to be a list of do’s. The skills needed to thrive in an online world go far beyond online safety.”

They list 5 competencies to support “doing,” ie:

  • Inclusive
    I am open to hearing and respectfully recognizing multiple viewpoints and I engage with others online with respect and empathy.
  • Informed
    I evaluate the accuracy, perspective, and validity of digital media and social posts.
  • Engaged
    I use technology and digital channels for civic engagement, to solve problems and be a force for good in both physical and virtual communities.
  • Balanced
    I make informed decisions about how to prioritize my time and activities online and off.
  • Alert
    I am aware of my online actions, and know how to be safe and create safe spaces for others online.

Recently on NWP Radio, Christina Cantrill from the National Writing Project had a chance to talk with the team from Educator Innovator partner and a fellow #DigCitCommit coalition member Common Sense Education. Having just completed their Common Sense Census: Inside the 21st-Century Classroom, Tanner Higgin and Erin Wilkey Oh, describe the findings and recommendations from the report while sharing the ways they are working now with Project Zero to move their digital citizenship curriculum from a focus on skills to a focus on building habits of mind and practice — habits to support students in the classroom and beyond.

Find out more about this work at NWP Radio: Common Sense Census. And visit to learn about the coalitions work and sign yourself up to be a Digital Citizenship Ambassador.