Your high school students can be great digital citizens: Commonsense Media provides the tools

We have previously lauded the terrific online safety/digital citizenship resources provided by Commonsense Media, and we are going to do it again!  Commonsense Media has just brought out a FREE, five-part curriculum for high school students to complement the materials already available for elementary and middle school students. 

As the Commonsense Media website notes, the Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum for Grades 9-12 is designed to “empower students to be smart about how they create, communicate, and treat others in our 24/7 digital world.”  The Digital Citizenship curriculum has five parts, which can be used as stand-alone units or together, depending upon your needs. The five units are:

  1. Digital Life: “Students explore the role that digital media play in their lives, discuss the positive and negative aspects of digital life, and are introduced to key ethical considerations of being a good digital citizen.” Read the unit overview here.
  2. Privacy and Digital Footprints: “Students learn to manage their own privacy and respect the privacy of others. They explore the public nature of the Internet and how what they post online can impact the reputation and future opportunities of themselves and others. They also consider the positive uses of online spaces for sharing and getting feedback in a world that is increasingly connected.”  Read the unit overview here.
  3. Connected Culture: ”Students explore the features and codes of active online communities. They also investigate how relationships can be harmed by cyberbullying, online cruelty, and hate speech. In this context, students explore how anonymity and the public nature of the Internet can magnify the impact of hurtful messages online, and how upstanders can diffuse the situation using specific techniques.” Read the unit overview here.
  4. Self-Expression and Identity: ”Students think critically about the choices they and others make as they represent themselves online. They investigate avatars, photos, and other online information to gain insight, and then consider how these representations can affect their relationships, their view of themselves, and their reputations.”  Read the unit overview here.
  5. Respecting Creative Work: “Students reflect on the ethics of using creative work from others, and they are encouraged to celebrate their role as 21st-century creative artists. The lessons in this unit address students’ rights and responsibilities about respecting creative work, as well as explore topics ranging from copyright to fair use.” Read the unit overview here.

Two further units on Safety and Security and two on Research and Information Literacy are “Coming in Time for Fall, 2011.” 

Our Editorial: Commonsense Media materials are hard to beat.  Their message is relevant, meaningful, and up-to-date for teenagers (we challenge you to show one of the units to your students and see if they think this work is cool); they keep young people at the heart of their work; they encourage collaborate work and critical thinking; the work is grounded in leading research from the GoodPlay Project and other top researchers; they make great use of visual media; they connect students, teachers, and parents; the curriculum aligns with National Educational Technology Standards for Students; and we could go on and on … but check it out yourself.  Oh yes, and did we mention the materials are FREE!


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