As we spend more time online, it is increasingly important that all students understand how to stay safe online, while taking advantage of all the possibilities offered by the internet and digital technologies.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities (NSW DEC) has been at the forefront in supporting schools to teach students what it means to be a safe and responsible digital citizen. In 2010, the Centre for Learning Innovation, which is now part of the NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre (NSW CLIC), worked with the Digital Education Revolution – NSW (DER – NSW) team to produce a suite of resources for Year 10 students with a focus on social networking. These resources were successfully trialled in five schools across NSW in Term 4 2010 (Gorrod, 2011).
In 2011, NSW CLIC again worked with the DER – NSW team to update and expand the range of resources to cater for students from Years K-10.
What resources are available?
The complete package can be accessed through the Digital Citizenship site (Figure 1). The site provides essential information about digital citizenship and being safe, positive and responsible online. From the home page you have the option to enter the primary, secondary or parent pages.
A common component of the primary and secondary pages is a section for teachers, with a comprehensive set of resources, templates and tools to support schools implementing digital citizenship programs. These include:
- ‘Getting started with digital citizenship’, a course for teachers registered with the NSW Institute of Teachers for five hours of professional learning
- an implementation guide for schools with information about the six domains of digital citizenship, suggestions for implementing digital citizenship programs in schools, a summary with an outline of the content covered in each learning activity and a mapping grid which maps each learning activity to the domains of digital citizenship
- a slideshow and flyers which can be customised for presentations to staff and parents.
The primary and secondary sections also have links to age-appropriate games, learning activities and videos which can be used as discussion starters in class.
Primary learning activities
Learning activitiesprovides a series of 11 self-contained learning sequences (Figure 3) which can be used on interactive whiteboards. Each resource contains quality-assured stimulus material and SMART Notebook activities. The K-6 resources are:
- Be aware before you share(Early Stage 1)
- What’s on the web (Stage 1)
- Be wary on the web(Stage 1)
- Cybersafety(Stage 2)
- Bully free zone(Stage 2)
- Your safety net(Stage 2)
- Making tracks(Stage 2)
- Cyber check (Stage 3)
- Copy rights(Stage 3)
- Digital friendships(Stage 3)
- Webprint(Stage 3).
Secondary learning activities
Learning activities provides 18 self-contained lessons, each designed for one to two hour’s work. The Stage 4 (Years 7 and 8) resources are:
- Digital limits
- Going places
- Global citizen
- Whose space?
- Your own voice.
Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) resources
- Leaving footprints
- Creative sharing
- To friend or spend?
- Protect yourself
- Careers online
- File sharing
A guide for parents
The parent section contains a series of guides and links to videos about cybersafety and staying safe online.
Parents and caregivers can follow the links to:
- Technology and cybersafety
- Stay smart online (see eSafety.gov.au)
- Staying safe online – a guide for parents on Sites2See.
The resources discussed in this article will assist schools in providing a safe environment to support student learning in a collaborative online space.
[Editor’s note: Some websites mentioned in each resource are no longer available. Users are redirected to the updated versions.]
Keywords: digital bullying, digital footprints, copyright
How to cite this article: Wittman, L. 2012, Digital citizenship support for schools, Scan 31(2)