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Do you know the difference between Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy?

digital citizenship digital literacy edtech online education online learning Jun 20, 2020

Digital Citizenship. Digital Literacy. Digital Footprint. Digital Learning. There are so many terms out there, things can start to get confusing! Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy are 2 terms that are important for teachers to know and teach to their students so that is where we are going to start.

What is Digital Literacy?

Digital Literacy is all about the student being able to use the technology. This is much like what is happening in Technology classes where they learn to type, or use Google apps, or create videos. A digitally literate student is one who can navigate the online world and the technology that is available to them. A big aspect of this, that I see every day with my students, is the ability to problem-solve. Many students struggle with new technology whether it is a new app, software, or a new device. I don’t know how many times I have told students “Just click the ‘Login with Google’ Button.” Empowering students to problem solve and try to find answers on their own is a part of Digital Literacy as well. Check out the ISTE Standards for Students below: 

You’ll notice that nothing on these standards says anything about word processing, creating slideshows, or anything like that. It is more about creating forward-thinking problem solvers. 

What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital Citizenship is all about using technology responsibly and respectfully. Some key areas of Digital Citizenship are:

  • Technology Balance
  • Online Privacy & Security
  • Online Identity
  • Online Communications & Relationships
  • Cyberbullying
  • Media Literacy

When teaching students about working online, digital citizenship asks them to think about who might be on the other end of the computer reading the messages they are writing. Students should think critically when consuming information online and try to find a balance in their lives so they aren’t constantly on their phones, computers, or video games.
The best information I have found for teaching Digital Citizenship is through Common Sense Media and their Digital Citizenship resources and pre-made lessons. That is why I became an ambassador for them. I believe in the work they are doing and the impact they can make for our students. For more information check out the slideshow I created about Digital Citizenship and Common Sense Media here.

Both Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship are important and can be easily incorporated into all classrooms whether it is language arts, history, or math. Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes in the comments!

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