Last week was our first Digital Citizenship Week at YIS, and it was fantastic! We focused primarily on the Middle School to get an idea of how an event like this would work for our students, teachers and parents. Here’s what we did:

Learning objective: A renewed focus on the choices we make and how they affect us, specifically about balance, responsibility and safety.

Guiding Question: How are you a responsible digital citizen?

Conversation Starters (Daily Theme)

We started each day with an open discussion (based on the themes listed below) in morning tutor group (homeroom) inspired by a short video (see videos and guiding questions at the links below). Our goal was to get students thinking about the big ideas behind digital citizenship, and give them an opportunity to reflect on the choices they make.

Estimating & Tracking Time Spent Online

Keeping track of the amount of time we spend online for #yis digital citizenship week

A huge thanks to Rebekah and the MS Student Council for running this entire activity, you guys are amazing!

On Monday, we asked our students to estimate the amount of time they spend online (at their grade level, and as a whole middle school). Each student had the opportunity to guess how much time we spend online, with the winners announced at our MS Assembly on Friday.

At the time time, we asked students to start tracking the amount of time they spend online. They had three options to do this: use Rescue Time (which would allow them to automatically track what they were doing and when), use this simple Balance Journal spreadsheet as a template to keep track of their own hours, or keep a paper journal.

The amazing MS Student Council, particularly Sophie and Naomi, kept an updated bulletin board in the Main Lobby to show our daily results:

Day 1: #yis MS students reflecting on how much time they spend online (updated all week) for digital citizenship week

On Thursday, we asked all students to share the amount of time they spent online each day (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) so that we could calculate the numbers and announce a winner the next day.

Special Tutor Group Activities

Each middle school tutor group has a weekly 45-minute meeting for pastoral care. This week, every group did the same set of activities (see lesson plans here):

1. A short digital citizenship survey (this is a .pdf, since the survey is closed to YIS accounts only, to make sure the data we receive is actually from our students). The survey is based on this Google Doc, thanks to all who contributed!

2. Adding a pin to our collaborative map to see how, where and when we connect

View Our Global Connections in a larger map

3. Adding a slide to our collaborative presentation to highlight something we learned together this week

Special Sessions

Each middle school year group had a 90-minute pull-out session with either me, Adam (MS Counselor), or Damien (Secondary Technology and Learning Coach). These activities were based on the ones we ran at the beginning of the school year, during our CLC orientation (two days of non-formal school).

How to achieve balance by grade 7's and @adamclark71

Grade 8's discussing responsibility w/ @damienpitter as part of #yis digital citizenship week

Subject-Based Digital Citizenship Focus

Several subject areas were also able to devote time to Digital Citizenship during their classes for the week as well:

  • PE: Balance
  • Technology: Grade 6 and Grade 7 also completed the Digital Citizenship Court activity

Grade 6's using our RUP to determine the rulings in "Digital Citizenship Court"

Middle School Assembly

On Friday, Rebekah and the amazing MS StuCo team put together another fantastic assembly highlighting the thinking that went on during the week.

#beyondlaptops day 2 kicks off with #yis middle school assembly
As students were filing in, a video highlighting some of the results to the question: “To me, digital citizenship means…” from our survey played on a loop. Here are a few of the responses:

To me, digital citizenship means….

  • Being a good, thoughtful person online.
  • To me I think it means to use your technology responsibly.
  • I think digital  citizenship is how you use your computer overall. If you mostly go on Skype or Facebook to chat, or if you go on youtube to watch videos, or even if you download stuff illegally. Digital citizenship is how you spend your day with the computer, do you do the right things or the wrong things?
  • I think digital citizenship basically means being good and responsible online, which includes tons of different things. They can be from not revealing personal information, to being nice to people instead of cyber bullying.
  • It means being a part of a community where you get to know people that live in a different place/country than the one you live in.
  • To be a good citizen online and offline and to balance your time on an electronic device with your time you spend with family and friends.
  • To me, digital citizenship means to behave properly on the internet. Digital citizenship is basically general citizenship, although the only difference is that it’s online. It’s saying something over the internet that you would say face to face. Digital citizenship is being responsible for your actions online.
  • Being responsible, caring, sympathetic, and open minded for you actions online and what you write and considerate of other peoples feelings.  As well as the amount of time you spend online.
  • Taking care of each other
  • Your reputation online and how you act online.
  • Being in a community and respecting each other on internet.
  • To be responsible and respectful online to other people, what they have created and what belongs to them. Also to be aware of the consequences and dangers on the internet.
  • to me, digital citizenship means to be a responsible and balanced user on online.
  • …being an online member of the internet community and using the powers of the web responsibly.

Throughout the assembly, highlights from the week, as well as examples of digital citizenship from throughout the year were shared (thanks to our amazing humanities teachers Alex and Rebekah, and our Digital Dragons curriculum). One student per tutor group speaking about what they learned this week, as part of our collaborative presentation activity (see above). We ended the assembly with the winners of the Estimating Time Spent Online challenge:

Final results of MS students tracking the time they spend online for Digital Citizenship Week

Final Thoughts

An enormous thank you to Rebekah, Adam, Susie, Damien and the rest of our fabulous MS teachers for making this week a success! Big events like this kind of freak me out, so I never would have been able to even attempt coordinating something like this without my fantastic colleagues.

Rebekah and I had a chat yesterday to reflect on how things went, and really, they went well. We have some ideas for next year, of course:

  • We need to clarify what our focus words are (the daily themes), and re-use them throughout the year – would be great to have posters, or other activities throughout the year highlighting these themes, like we do with the IB Learner Profile.
  • Timing: coordinating Digital Citizenship Week with #beyondlaptops was an idea that sounded great in theory, but was kind of crazy in practice. Plus, this year it feel the week before MS Exams (which was really not fun for anyone). So next year, we’re thinking we should move it to before Feb break, the week of Feb 11 – 15
  • It would be great to see more involvement from different subject areas, we have ideas, and we’ll seek input from the department heads and subject-area teachers to make this relevant to their curriculum at the time.
  • We would love to have HS students facilitate conversations from their perspective – what would you tell the 11 year old you? Maybe they could they facilitate the double-block pull out?
  • The map idea was cool, but not sure the kids understood what it was – we can either drop it, or have it take place during a specific lesson so that there’s a discussion around why it’s important
  • Would be nice if the survey could include time for discussion as well. Next year we’ll use the same questions, so that this year’s questions become the baseline.
  • We need to make sure to filming some activities to show later – they were great!
  • We would love to coordinate timing so we can collaborate with other schools – this was an idea that actually came up last year, but I was never able to follow through. Next year for sure!

Do you have a Digital Citizenship Week at your school? How do you help bring the concepts behind digital citizenship alive with your students?

Image Credits:

22 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship Week

  1. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for posting all of this. It is at once inspiring, as well as confirming of my convictions. The issues that your students worked, explored and reported on are possibly the most important issues that educational technology has to work with. Everything else that young people do with technology, curricular or not, are rooted in their understanding of these issues, and in the choices that they make as a member of the digital community.
    Being at the tail end of coetail Course 2, this post is manna from heaven, just perfect fodder for me. I think that our school still sees digital citizenship as a box to check before the kids get started on using tech tools to work with in a more pedagogical setting, rather than seeing it as more of an thical, life-choices sort of piece.

    Thanks to all of your students, you, and Rebekah.

  2. Ms. Cofino,

    I absolutely love what you do. I wish that I would have had a teacher in school that cared about teaching us digital citizenship. I hope that when I start teaching the administrators and other teachers will be willing to have a digital citizenship week. Thank you so much for the great ideas on how to teach kids about digital citizenship. I hope the rest of the school year goes well.

    Sarah Webb

  3. Kim, we are just starting a 1:1 in MS and HS next year, and I have been noodling around how to implement a Digital Citizenship (actually, as one of your students commented, full Citizenship, with digital as part of that) activity or week. I would love to coordinate with you to do this in concert with YIS if that is possible next year.

    One difference I’m considering from the materials you’ve posted would be to change from “safety” to “responsibility” as a focus. I think adults in general (and here in the US in vast specific), have focused too much attention on safety, to the detriment of our children (eg: we have kids here who have been so scared by their parents that they don’t want _any_ digital/social-media footprint, even knowing that colleges and employers are using those as filters now). I think we need to shift the center from safety to responsibility, with safety as just one aspect of that. This would overlap a bit with Behavior, but I think they can be differentiated enough.

    Anyway, thanks for posting, as always, and would love to work together next year if possible.

  4. Hi Kim
    Totally agree with Marcello’s comment. The timing is perfect as we come to the end of Course 2. Your post and what you guys did at YIS is bringing the theory to life. Its great to have a visual and real life example to jump start conversations around how to encourage digital citizenship in our own schools. Perhaps our course assignment should be to design and implement a digital citizen activity instead of modifying the AUPs. Love what you put together and how you shared the event with all of us. Thank you.

  5. Hi Kim,

    WOW! What a project!
    I find awesome how YIS is encouraging technology use in classrooms and cross curriculum activities but this kind of event goes further. You, Rebecca and the other teachers involved are REALLY encouraging critical thinking there! Kids are not only critical to the internet but also reflect on their own practices. I heard a teacher saying to a teen today “You don’t only learn for a career, you learn for life!”. Through this project, you don’t say it, you DO it.

  6. Hello Kim,

    What a wonderful range of activities you, your students, and your colleagues have developed for a school wide Digital Citizenship Week. With your permission, I would love to showcase your project on the Digital ID wiki (, probably on the Pro ePortfolio page.

    I would also like to warmly invite your students to provide audio file (MP3) translations of our Digital Citizenship Glossary – .

    As always, thank you for sharing the inspiring teaching and learning that takes place wherever you happen to be,

    Gail Desler
    Gail Desler´s last blog post ..Four Days Left for Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge

  7. Hi Kim,
    In our computer class, we have to do this big project on digital citizenship. When I looked at your blog, I got some good ideas about what to do. You have really good information on here! We have to make a video, and when I watched yours, I got ideas about what to do for mine. Some of the information that you have on your website has helped me a lot with my project.
    I hope that this information helps people around the world. What do you think is the most important point about digital citizenship?

  8. Hello Kim,

    Reading your blog about Digital Citizenship was very interesting. I am learning about digital citizenship currently and your blog gives me great advice on what digital citizenship means. It is nice to see that throughout the week you guys had a subject to learn about something new everyday. Was it fun watching the children learn more about something that is very important to you? I hope you guys keep learning more and more about this subject because it is very important to know so you can be safe on the internet.

    Great Blog,
    Crystal´s last blog post ..Tags and Categories

  9. Hi Kim, I am in the CoETaIL cohort and working in Tunis, Tunisia. Just this weekend, I got the larger picture for how to bring an AUP to life for students and then your blog completely built the structure for me of how to do it. My heart is actually racing which indicates that this appealed to me both intellectually and emotionally. This feels like the very right approach to engaging with MS students around these topics. Thanks so much for sharing so completely and thoroughly. I sent the link out to my MS colleagues for next year, on Sunday yet, and I hope this will be the springboard to our own implementation.

  10. Thank you, Kim (et al), for an incredible idea coming to fruition. We all dream of this utopia and your middle school students exemplify the qualities in their cross-curricula activities. I think I can safely say that these same students have been great ambassadors of digital citizenship since. We all struggle with the time factor (or lack of) and this unit has enough substance to stretch it out for a longer period of time, perhaps a semester-long or even year-long unit of study. Impressive and inspiring!

  11. Hi Kim
    There are some really good ideas in your piece. I have borrowed some to try and adapt for my school here in Scotland.
    Thanks very much for sharing. You are a source of all sorts of good ideas.

  12. Hi Kim,

    I am a middle school educator in South Carolina, and am in a school where we are now going 1:1. I would be interested in using your survey as part of a research study to gather pre- and post- data regarding the effectiveness of our digital citizenship curriculum. Any information I could gather from your experience would be valuable. If you could email me, it would be greatly appreciated!

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