Digital Citizenship Lessons in Two Minutes or Less

Dear Teachers,

I had the opportunity to be involved with Jennifer Casa-Todd and DOCTOR Sarah Thomas on a recent EduMatch tweet ‘n’ talk. If you’re not familiar with EduMatch, check it out at or on Twitter. Jennifer ( is a librarian and literacy expert extraordinaire, and she has written a wonderful book titled Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership. Sarah ( is a learner, a leader, and a connector. Every day I consider myself beyond fortunate to have even the loosest of associations with professionals like these two brilliant women.

In the #digcit community, most of us are working to move the narrative of kids’ technology use to one of positive norms, focusing on the opportunities inherent in social media rather than just the dangers. We often talk about how digital citizenship is not a curriculum or program and that digital citizenship should just be woven in to the fabric of what you’re doing anyway. Many people still think that means that you have to set aside time during your week for a discrete lesson on “How You Should Behave Online.” I submit that you can do a pretty good job teaching digital citizenship in just a couple of minutes per day or per class period. My mantra about how digital citizenship should be taught is “Every Teacher, Every Classroom, Every Day” – think how a lifetime of messages like these from teachers might shape a student’s online behavior:

I saw something on Twitter last night that made me really mad. I’m glad I put my phone down and thought about my response for a minute. Last week I did that and I ended up not responding at all, but last night I thought it was important to supply a different point of view.

I just noticed what a kind thing you did for your classmate. Do you mind if I share that on our class Twitter account?

What’s the most positive thing you’ve seen/posted on social media lately? 

I was explaining to my mom last night how important it is to always read the privacy policies when you sign up on a new website. And then I wondered if that was something my students do. So before we start class, I just want to give you an example of what you agree to when you click that “Sign up” button.

Here is something I saw on my Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat this morning that really made me aware of the good in the world.

You will not believe what I LEARNED from my PLN last night!

Before we open up this online discussion, I want you to take a minute and think to yourself what we’ve discussed about school talk vs. peer talk, and remind yourself about what our posts should look like. 

Your exit ticket on Friday will be to explain one thing you learned on social media this week, so be on the lookout – and don’t forget to fact-check!

How will you make the world a better place today?

It really doesn’t take a huge amount time to make responsible and proactive digital citizenship the normative, expected behavior in your classroom or school. And get your students involved in setting those norms!

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Let’s all practice SHOWING students what great digital citizens do, and let’s start by giving them bite-size examples, every day. And when kids show US what great digital citizenship looks like, we need to celebrate that too – and learn from them when we can! What are your thoughts? Do you have other ideas on two-minute digital citizenship?




8 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship Lessons in Two Minutes or Less

  1. I couldn’t agree with you both more. Positive affirmation of the things that students do correctly should be celebrated continuously, more so than the negative events if changes are to be instilled in them.

    Linda Krygiel


  2. I really appreciate the emphasis on positive messaging. My students definitely need as much support as possible recognizing that there are pitfalls to the online world but also opportunities to grow and do meaningful work!


  3. Just wanted to share the LinkedIn message I sent you last weekend with my Eduscape ISTE Certification 2020 Chicago cohort reading your article this week for Module 4: Integrating Digital Citizenship…

    I used and recommend your Everyday Digcit mobile app for 4th Grade
    #elearning last week. Very easy to use and well received. I am creating a Google Classroom activity for students to collaborate with discussion of Primary, Middle, Intermediate, High School topics.

    Your searchable, grade level content make great discussion starters to give K-8 Students Voice and Choice with eLearning about Digital Citizenship.

    Thank you again for awesome #digcitcommit resources as we are all launching K-8 eLearning materials.
    Carol Hartmann


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