Digital Literacy

Our students know technology.  They’ve used it their entire lives.  However, just because they can operate and use digital devices such as smart phones, tablets, and video games, doesn’t mean they are digitally literate. Students, no matter how digitally experienced they may seem, should understand safety risks and best practices.  A digitally literate student should be able to:


  • Understand and use computing devices and networks
  • Behave responsibly while engaged in social networks and other online communities
  • Locate, evaluate, share, and create content using information, images, and data found online
  • Think critically, particularly about how technology may contribute to social issues
  • Communicate respectfully and purposefully
  • Utilize above skills in real-world situations


Online Etiquette

When speaking with someone face-to-face or on the phone, we tend to err on the side of politeness and respectfulness.  So, wouldn’t the same go for communicating with others online?  Teaching students online “manners” will help students to become responsible digital citizens.


Here are 10 guidelines for being polite online:

  1. Check Before You Send – Are there blatant misspellings or grammar mistakes?  Could someone misinterpret what was written?  Is the message hurtful?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, please don’t send your message.
  2. Don’t Get Involved In Anything Negative – If a conversation begins to turn negative, politely remove yourself.  If you start to become upset, you don’t want to send something you’ll later regret.
  3. Respect Others and Their Opinions – Even if your view differs from someone else’s, it is important to respect their opinion.
  4. Be Precise – Communicate clearly, purposefully, and get to your point quickly.
  5. Know Your Audience – Abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons are fine when communicating with friends, but are not appropriate when communicating formally with someone.
  6. Avoid All Caps – All capital letters makes it seem like you are shouting.
  7. Ask Permission Before Posting Anything About Your Friends – You may embarrass your friend or get them in trouble.
  8. Try To Avoid Humor and Sarcasm – Picking up on humor and sarcasm without seeing the sender’s facial expressions and body language can be difficult.  It may cause confusion and hurt feelings.
  9. Don’t Over Share –  Don’t share more than is necessary.  If you wouldn’t share it in real life with your classmates, teachers, or family members, then it’s probably not okay to share online.
  10. Be Kind and Positive – this one is self-explanatory!


Learning to be good digital citizens will prepare our students for life in the “real world.”  By becoming digitally literate and practicing online etiquette, students will learn to survive and succeed in an ever-changing, internet-dominated society.


Resources – a teacher-created website helping educators teach students best and safe practices as they use the Internet and record their digital footprint. – the Digital Literacy portal organizes content conveniently, enables valuable discussion and collaboration among users and elevates best practices to improve the quality of digital literacy offerings.

ThinkB4U – provides teachers with videos, resources, and other sources for the classroom.

Interland – Interland is an adventure-packed game that lets kids put fundamental lessons of digital safety into practice to help them ‘Be Internet Awesome’.

Digizen – Internet Social Networking advice and guidance for young people, parents and teachers.

InCtrl – Learn how to be safe and secure and how to make smart choices to remain InCtrl of your digital reputation!

Teacher’s Guide to Digital Citizenship – a brief introduction to Digital Citizenship for teachers by

CyberWise – Learn about digital citizenship, Internet safety, security, privacy, sexting, cyberbullying, reputation management and more so you can help kids embrace technology safely and wisely.

Digital Passport – The interactive, fun, and effective way to teach and test the basics of digital citizenship to 3rd-5th grade.



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