Respect, Educate, and Protect: GVRL and Digital Citizenship

5 min read

| By Nicole Albrecht |

When I was growing up, technology wasn’t something my friends and I depended upon much. Though it was exciting—from pagers to AOL instant chat sessions—my friends and I were able to connect more than ever, but it wasn’t a constant in our school. By the time I was in college, I was able to stay in touch with old friends by Facebook and other social media sites, and I found myself more frequently being required by professors to use the internet and to do so appropriately. It never occurred to me, when I was younger, that many of these new technologies were dangerous or that we needed to be educated in how to interact with them appropriately. Technology is so ingrained in us, that sometimes people forget that there are laws and appropriate ways to use, interact, and regard technology.

Teachers are more aware than ever how much technology has turned their students’ attention away from the classroom.  From text messages and smartphone apps to students finding new ways to use the internet without their teachers noticing, technology has in some ways taken over. With more schools implementing 1:1 or requiring students to bring their own technology devices, it is not surprising that schools are also making changes to their teachers’ curriculums to include elements of digital citizenship. Teachers are now required to incorporate lessons for their students that teach them how to be a safe and responsible digital citizen.  With all of the new digital requirements, teachers may find it difficult to squeeze in this new curriculum into their already jam-packed plans.

Creating a digital citizenship collection for GVRL, as a way to help teachers fulfill this new requirement has been an important project. I wanted to make sure that all grade levels had some content covering this topic, but also that the nine elements of digital citizenship were weaved in as much as possible. The elements of digital citizenship are meant to help promote the principles of respecting yourself and others, educating and connecting with others and protecting yourself while using technology.

Many great GVRL titles tie in nicely to these principles which can help teachers easily cover digital citizenship in their classroom. For elementary-age students, learning how to exchange information, and doing so appropriately, is extremely important. Let’s Find Out! Computer Science series by Britannica Educational Publishing addresses cybersecurity and teaches readers about the importance of safeguarding their information when using the internet. This series also covers different types of computers and how they can help facilitate scientific breakthroughs, improved communication and more. PowerKids Press has a wonderful series called, Core Skills and one of the titles in the series, Sharing Digital Media, covers all the different kinds of media and digital tools kids can use to share their information online as well as the correct and safe ways to use those tools.

For middle and high school students, understanding digital issues is imperative in how students make good choices in the face of growing digital problems such as online addiction and predators. One of Reference Point Press’ newest titles, Sharing Posts: The Spread of Fake News, covers the rise of the Internet and how it has changed the ways news is reported and consumed. Fake news is spread through email and social media and into the hands of young adults who may or may not know how to correctly fact check the information.  Reference Point Press offers a series of comprehensive titles in this area of digital citizenship with their series, Digital Issues. The series covers many of the issues older students need to be educated in like online entertainment, how to protect your privacy and the laws of the digital world.

With all these new requirements and resources, teachers may need to learn about implementing their ideas, developing lessons or guiding students through the digital world and there is no shortage of professional development titles in GVRL to fill this need. Incorporating technology in the classroom is meant to be fun and Dave Burgess Consulting newest title, Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic, explores how teachers can plan meaningful lessons that include digital tools that can help support dynamic learning experiences. Need projects that inspire students to use web tools, collaborate, and problem-solve? Check out Times 10 Publications, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom.

Another professional development title, Future-Ready Challenge: Improve Student Outcomes in 18 Weeks, by L. Robert Furman, lays out the digital literacy curriculum into easy to follow pieces that make implementation in the classroom a breeze for teachers. The author helps teachers feel less-stressed about incorporating digital literacy lessons into their already packed calendar year by making small changes to their practices that produce big results for students to engage and adopt digital skills successfully.

With technology changing every day, it’s no surprise that like the real world—which has its own set of citizenship standards—that the digital world also adopts some of its own. Teachers can find easy ways to embrace these new digital world standards and how to incorporate them into their lessons with the use of the digital citizenship student and professional development collections on GVRL. 

Ask about the digital citizenship collections or request a quote by contacting your Gale Representative.


About the Author

Nicole is a certified high school teacher from Michigan. She has her Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on Adolescent Literacy. As a former teacher, Nicole recognizes the importance of curating eBook collections that meet the needs of the school and students. She loves reading and spending time with her parrot, Turkey.


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