Back to School: Digital Citizenship

As a group, an estimated 209 million Americans—about 72 percent of all adults and children ages three years and older—use the Internet somewhere, whether it be at home, the workplace, school, or at a library.1 As the summer comes to an end and students go back to school, DigitalLiteracy.gov will feature resources that promote respectful, responsible, and safe online behavior – commonly referred to as digital citizenship.

Check out some of the resources below to learn more about digital citizenship:

California Connects Trains Community Members in the Central Valley Area
group of peopleThe Foundation for California Community Colleges launched California Connects, a Recovery Act-funded program to increase digital literacy skills and broadband adoption by providing training and learning support to underserved communities in the Central Valley region.
California Connects is utilizing local college students in the Central Valley to provide training in area communities, home to many low-income, Spanish-speaking residents. More than 5,800 socioeconomically disadvantaged students who are enrolled in the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program at 33 local community colleges will serve as trainers in their communities. Many of these students have already received laptops, Microsoft IT Academy training, and access to on-campus certification exams. As of April 2011, the Foundation has already launched the “Train-the-Trainer” digital literacy program and held two workshops. The Foundation expects to distribute an additional 3,000 laptops to MESA trainers by the end of this summer.

MESA trainers will teach residents to navigate the Internet, search for jobs online, and access important health and finance information. For more information on about the project, visit The Foundation for California Community Colleges website here.

Common Sense Media Launches Digital Citizenship Curriculum for Middle School Students
common sense media logoCommon Sense Media launched its digital citizenship curriculum for middle schools, Digital Citizenship in a Connected Culture, a free program that empowers students to think critically and make informed choices about how they live and treat others in today’s digital world.

The curriculum is based on the digital ethics research of Dr. Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education. It covers topics such as privacy, social media, and cyberbullying. “Given the amount of time kids spend with technology, digital ethics education is just as important as reading and writing,” said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. “It is essential that every school in America teach digital literacy and citizenship so that all students have the opportunity to gain the skills they need to make safe, responsible, and respectful decisions in today’s 24/7 digital world." For more information about Common Sense’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum, visit the website here.

New York Education Department Offers Computer Training
The New York State Education Department opened computer learning centers in 13 libraries across upstate New York. These centers are part of a statewide initiative, supported by NTIA’s Recovery Act broadband grants program, to provide computer and workforce development training to senior citizens, job seekers, and small-business owners. Each library provides new computers; free access to a wide variety of online journals, reports, and databases; and educational classes that are tailored specifically to the needs of its patrons.

For example, visitors to the Baldwinsville Public Library can attend classes covering a wide range of subjects including computer basics, Internet security and safety, and Microsoft Office® software. The library provides one-on-one resume and cover letter assistance and will begin a series of workforce development speaking seminars. Aimed at small business owners, these presentations will cover topics such as following correct tax codes, advertising with local media, and applying for health insurance.

Patrons at the Western Sullivan Public Library can participate in numerous classes covering topics such as computer basics, Microsoft Windows® software fundamentals, Microsoft Office® software tips, and virus prevention. The library also offers computer assistance sessions allowing visitors to walk in and receive troubleshooting assistance. For more information about the organization and project, visit the New York State Education Department’s website here.

1http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/ntia_internet_use_report_february_2011.pdf