As the end of July nears, most educators start thinking more and more about beginning of the school year plans…and one BIG plan that’s a must in today’s digital world is teaching kids how to be good digital citizens. In fact, digital citizenship for middle and high school students is just as important as it is in the elementary grades, maybe even MORE important due to the ramifications of them having a negative (inappropriate) digital footprint.
Every year, I try to explain this to my 4th & 5th graders who are just beginning to get their own phones and are becoming more aware of different social media outlets. I start off giving them a scenario of two students both applying to the same college….both having the same chances of getting in. One has a positive digital footprint with appropriate pictures on Instagram and/or friendly posts on Facebook. The second student has a negative digital footprint with some inappropriate pictures on Instagram and/or hurtful posts on Facebook.
Then I ask them, “Which student do you think is more likely to be invited to attend that college?” While this is a pretty simplistic way of explaining it, it does allow for some good conversations and gives the kids a foundation upon which to build on throughout the school year. Often times, I will end our discussion with the question, “What if these same two people were applying for the same job?” These types of discussions are necessary, and it’s important for kids to understand how their digital choices NOW can have an impact on their life in the future.
I had originally posted about my lessons for digital citizenship with elementary students a few years ago here.
Since then, I’ve had many requests to revamp my poster and make it more sophisticated and not quite so “cutesy” to be able to have the same type of discussions about digital citizenship with middle and high school students. I’m happy to say that both posters are now ready for your use!
Here’s a quick look at the middle school posters. I made both a chalkboard and white board version. Both sets have a main poster (with all 6 reminders), individual posters of each of the 6 reminders, and double sided bookmarks that you can send home with students. I also created a black and white version of everything in case you don’t want to waste your color ink and would rather have your kids color them instead.
For the high school posters, I created a version with and without technology icons, as well as a black and white version. These also come with the main poster (with all 6 reminders), individual posters of each of the 6 reminders, and single sided bookmarks as well.
I hope these posters will help you have meaningful digital citizenship discussions with your kids!