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Modeling and Teaching Good Digital Citizenship

Modeling and Teaching Good Digital Citizenship

by: Darren Milligan, Senior Digital Strategist, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Working with your students on the complexities of being a good digital citizen is an increasingly important component of guiding the next generation. There are all kinds of nuanced definitions out there, but I like this one from TeachThought: “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.”

Common Sense Education describes the topics to prepare students as follows:

  1. Internet Safety
  2. Digital Footprints and Reputation
  3. Privacy and Security
  4. Self-Image and Identity
  5. Relationships and Communication
  6. Information Literacy
  7. Cyberbullying and Digital Drama
  8. Creative Credit and Copyright

I definitely recommend you check out their excellent resources and lessons for specific approaches. For example, you could use this this short animation to introduce to your students the topics of copyright as well as the rights and responsibilities they have as creators in the digital space.

Many teaching standards, especially those from ISTE, encourage teachers to mentor students in “safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property” (3c). The student learning standards too encourage the use of a wide variety of digital resources curated from online sources (3c), an understanding and respect for both rights and obligations when working with intellectual property (2c), and the creation of original works built upon the repurposing and remixing of discovered online content (6b).

If you are reading this, I am sure that I don’t need to continue to make the case that modeling and mentoring the skills of good digital citizenship are important. Here at the Learning Lab, we have seen both good and bad examples of these behaviors and so we have developed a number of tools to help you model and encourage the right ones.

It is very important to us that teachers and students can access and use our resources and also share their own. Generally these activities are guided by the Smithsonian Terms of Use, a legal statement that explains the right way to use all the resources you find here in the Learning Lab. Following the basic tenets of good digital citizenship, you are welcome to use everything for educational and fair use, as long as you:

  1. Identify the author and source of the content as you would material from any printed work;
  2. Identify the relevant Smithsonian Website as the source of the content;
  3. Do not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices including attribution information, credits, or notices that are placed in or near the text, images, or data;
  4. Do not use the content to promote, advertise, or sell your own products or services or for any other commercial or unauthorized purpose; and
  5. Comply with any other terms or restrictions that may be applicable to the Content.

To make this super simple, we have recently launched a series of tools that will help you and your students stay in the good citizen lane.

Download Button

Download Tool

We know that sometimes you need to use Learning Lab resources in other places (PowerPoints, bulletin boards, etc.), so a direct Download Button now appears on all the resource pages. If you would prefer to print it, a Print Button activates formatting of the resource page so you can print both the image and the metadata easily.

Citation Button

Citation Tool

Attributing the materials you use is now automatic and easy. Click on the Citation Button for a  formatted citation to that web page in your choice of MLA, APA, or Chicago style.

Screenshot showing sample citation

Upload Tool

We’ve seen that Lab users really value being able to add their own resources and information to their Learning Lab collections (more than 36,000 resources have been uploaded!), so we’ve made that easier, too. Our new Upload Tool prompts you to submit information about the creator of what you are uploading (Is it an original work made by you, or did you find it elsewhere online?). Using this tool puts you in compliance with the Smithsonian Terms of Use and informs others who see your collection of its sources.

Screenshot showing upload citation tool

Share Menu Button

Embed Tool

The simplest way to share what you find on the Learning Lab on your own website is to embed it directly. Within the Share menu on all the resource and collection pages, you will find a snippet of website code that will embed that image or that entire collection right onto your website. This is a great way to share what you have found or created with those that use your site.

Are there other ways that you use the Learning Lab and its tools and resources to teach the practices of good digital citizenship? We would love to hear about it. And, as always, get out there and keep doing what you are doing. Your creativity inspires us every day!

Swearing in George Washington by William H. Johnson, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation

Image: Swearing in George Washington (detail), by William H. Johnson, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation.