Model Curriculum for Digital Citizenship

Common Sense Media


Common Sense Media

Versatile collection of lessons offering many options for instruction with students K-12 as well as lessons designed for use with parents. Includes professional development for educators, parent education connections, student digital resources, student print resources, teacher digital resources, and teacher print resources.

Price: Free

Grade Range: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12

Platforms: Desktop, Laptop, Mobile Phone, IPad,

Language: English and Spanish

Standards: Common Core and 21st Century

Scope and Sequence:Link to Scope and Sequence

Teacher Support: Professional Learning Communities

Home Connection: National PTA Program

Pros: Bracketed age ranges ensure relevance of topic and images to the audience. The topics are current. The curriculum is available in English and Spanish in a wide range of formats. Formats used include audio, video, and PDF. Unique to this curriculum is the inclusion of professional development for educators as well as the addition collaborative projects for students as well as educators. The collaborative projects appear to be designed to show what you have learned as well as a means to improve the content for others.

The inclusion of a “mentor” opportunity along with professional development is an excellent component. This is in line with the “teach the teacher” idea of planting one expert in a building and letting the education flow outward.

Digital Passport game suite for grades 3-5 Digital Passport

Digital Compass from grades 6-8 interactive “choose your own path” experiences Digital Compass

Digital Bytes grades 9-12 interactive role play allowing the students to record and post to youtube. Digital Bytes

Cons: Organization of content is a bit haphazard on the site. No clear path to grab all content for an age range.

Bottom Line: Best free Digital Citizenship Curriculum I have found. Covers all student ranges in English and Spanish. Includes traditional teaching methods such as lecture and group discussion as well and incorporating digital tools such as video creation and blogs.

Ikeepsafe Digital Citizenship



 Non profit collection of global partners from technology, government, and education focused on creating a toolbox of materials for use at school and home when working with students on digital literacy. Includes links for parents, students, and educators.

Price: Free

Grade Range: k-12

Platforms: Desktop, Laptop, Mobile Phone, IPad,

Language: English *Project is a global project but I am not finding links to content non English in origin.

Standards: Did not find a link to standards

Scope and Sequence: Use a Balance Curriculum Matrix Matrix Link providing a light overview of the content

Teacher Support: Teacher Resource provide an overview to digital topics such as digital security and digital rights. Does not provide teacher certification or badging.

Home Connection: Parent Portal consists of a collection of basic videos, info charts, and research documents. The parent resources are not engaging or interactive

Pros: Supported by a wide range of individuals with a vast array of interests.

Cons: The videos are not available, the content is flat not interactive, the educator training information is not designed to get educators thinking beyond the basics. The Parent Portal lectures as opposed to engaging parents. The high school materials are not age appropriate.

Bottom Line: Does not live up to the potential of the list of partners. I appears to be an afterthought and underfunded. Might be a resource tool but not a stand alone curriculum.


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10 thoughts on “Model Curriculum for Digital Citizenship”

  1. Hi Martha! It was so cool to see what direction you took this assignment in! Did anybody else look at the digital citizenship programs that were actually on the market? I realize this is probably close to your line of work and I was interested to see how you broke down each curriculum model (I’m sure you’ve developed an eye for it). For instance, I wouldn’t have thought about including the “home connection” but that’s certainly an important aspect to consider! Also, the “To Make it Perfect” in the rating section was a really nice touch that showed you looked at the models closely enough to assess where they needed help and how to potentially go about it. I think this kind of product review style post brings the conversation about digital citizenship back down to earth a bit; it’s easy to idealize the concept, but what schools/districts usually adopt is a pre-packaged program.

    Funnily, I hadn’t thought about the pre-packaged program route before I read your post (I had mostly been thinking at the classroom level). Do you think this approach is the most effective way to teach/instruct/guide students through digital citizenship?

    1. Noelle, thank you for the review of my post. The structural order of a pre packaged approach spoke to me as someone new to the concept of digital citizenship. I think educators with professional development and higher understanding would be just fine “Frankensteining” their own curriculum. I however, am coming from the place of not being comfortable enough to say “I know what the students need to know” to that end, I need to fall back on a package that holds my hand a bit while at the same time affording me flexibility to modify based on my students.

  2. Hi Martha,

    Thanks for the post. I particularly appreciate your evaluation of Common Sense Media. Although I am not in the K-12 system, I have used Common Sense Media in my post-secondary classes. In particular, I assigned students a film review from Common Sense Media. After reading the review, students had the choice of watching the film or not.

    In reflecting upon my own experience with Common Sense Media, I think the site empowers users to consider the *critical* component of digital literacy. As an instructor, I innately have more power than students, so when I assign students a particular film, my assignment is more coercive than if a peer recommended a film. Common Sense Media serves as an intermediary, of sorts, between the media consumer and the media producer. The site enables readers to be self-advocates, to say “I choose not to watch this because…” What a powerful, and important, tool!

    Thanks for the post,


  3. I like the way you approached this assignment as a detailed review and comparison of the curricula for an educator looking to select one to adopt. My question for you is… What are your thoughts on teaching specific units of digital citizenship as these products seem to promote versus integrating digital citizenship into and across the curriculum?

    1. D’Arcy, I think you need to do both. I like the thought of calling the skills out and teaching digital literacy in isolation but you can not advance the skills in isolation, they must be integrated into the curriculum. I think of this like teaching cursive writing. We start with cursive in isolation and quickly integrate for application and growth.

      1. Perhaps part of the problem with traditional digital citizenship education is that, unlike handwriting, it so often isn’t quickly (or ever) integrated into the further curriculum. If the concepts are threaded throughout, that’s a different story…though, pedagogically, then a case can be made for not teaching them in isolation at all. This is one flavor of the long and ongoing pedagogical debate…

        1. I watch adult students struggle with the new GED test both in practice and actual testing environment. One common thread being their fear of technology. Having watched this in action with adults I am a fan of introducing digital skills in isolation and then moving to technology being a tool not the teachable moment. I can’t get the student to a proficient level on algebra strands if he is consumed with how to drag and drop, again over simplification at its finest on my part.

          Your point of it never being integrated into further curriculum is a strong point. Technology is a tool which for some reason we have carved out into standards to be checked off rather than used as a tool. I use the line, class we are going to the pencil lab to illustrate the ridiculousness of how we engage with technology in a classroom.

  4. The interesting thing here is what’s also the bane of educational research: lack of predictability. I’ve had just the opposite experience: I’ve found students stumble less on technology when it’s integrated into curriculum and activities rather than the more traditional idea of isolation and incremental steps. The “head-first” approach actually results in *less* frustration because the technology (and its inevitably problems) isn’t overly-magnified and learners are less likely to hyper-focus on that rather than the learning objectives. I’m not saying you are wrong, only that our experiences differ reasonably and significantly. We’re both right. And that’s the “problem” educators face in practice vs philosophy…

    1. I think your comment speaks to the true value of the educator in a classroom. As situations dictate, a good educator will adjust the mode and method to assist the student in reaching their highest potential.

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