Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Kaitlyn Schlesinger
on October 24, 2019

Sometimes being online doesn’t feel like the real world. And in many ways it’s not. For students, this feeling can be compounded. When posting on social media, sending an email, or chatting online, students may not know how to protect themselves or behave appropriately like they would in in-person interactions. Unfortunately, online behavior can have real-world consequences.

Digital citizenship skills are learned and honed over time. That’s why it’s crucial to teach students how to be safe online. Lessons in cyberbullying, privacy, etiquette, and the norms of appropriate and responsible behavior can pay off for students with compound interest. As they get older, their online persona will be reviewed for potential job opportunities or for college applications.

As an educator, it can be hard to know where to find the right lessons to impart to your students. Here are a few resources to help empower your students to make good decisions online. 

  • Dr. Lisa Strohman has developed this curriculum based on her decades of experience. A true polymath, Strohman is a psychologist, attorney, author, and mother who worked with the profiling unit for the FBI. Based on this wealth of experience, she founded the Digital Citizen Academy to protect students through “awareness education”.
  • Even as you help students develop digital citizenship skills, sometimes they need a friendly reminder. That’s where Gaggle steps in. Gaggle assists schools by providing notifications that are sent directly to students as a reminder to be considerate of what words they are using while interacting with others through technology tools. 
  • Common Sense Media has a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses everything from balancing healthy screen time, protecting your identity online, and news literacy. Scaffolded by grade to ensure strong comprehension, Common Sense Media has a repository of free resources to help students on their journey to becoming tech-literate citizens.
  • Google is getting in the game to help students become more responsible online. The Be Internet Awesome Curriculum is a collection of lessons to help students be safe and smart online. Based on five core principles, the Be Internet Awesome Curriculum is relatable, cohesive, and has been awarded the ISTE Seal of Alignment for Readiness.

Use one or all of these resources to encourage students to practice good digital citizenship online. These skills—while sometimes less than intuitive—can take reinforcement and guidance to develop. As an educator teaching 21st-century skills, it’s tantamount that students have mastery over their devices and online personas.

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