Digital Literacy and Citizenship
South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) has a strong national and international reputation for the provision of Online Safety Services
to schools. It provides schools with the opportunity to review their E-Safety provision through the use of the award winning 360 degree safe
e-safety self review tool.
Through evidence gathered from 360 degree safe
reviews, SWGfL has recognised the need to provide guidance on how schools may develop progressive programmes of digital literacy and citizenship within their curriculum.
Common Sense Media in the United States has produced a programme which we believe provides a sound basis to embed E-Safety within the UK school curriculum, from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 5.
To support schools in the UK, SWGfL has produced a series of documents which will signpost schools to the relevant Common Sense Media lesson plans, resources and to additional relevant materials from the UK, Europe and elsewhere. These SWGfL documents indicate the Key Stage that are equivalent to the Common Sense Media (US) age groups.
SWGfL acknowledges the work of Common Sense Media in publishing this excellent free resource for schools and has adapted these guidance notes for free use by UK schools in accordance with the Creative Commons licence (BY/NC/SA) granted by Common Sense Media. Schools should ensure that they understand the terms under which Common Sense Media allows the free use of their materials.
As members of the Digital Literacy Curriculum Community, we would welcome your feedback on these resources.
Curriculum in a Nutshell
Digital media and technology are evolving at a dizzying pace, bringing with them extraordinary opportunities as well as real risks for young people. Young people are using the immense power of the Internet and mobile technologies to explore, connect, create, and learn in ways never before imagined. These technologies have changed the pattern of social relationships, their construction, negotiation and scope. The concept of “friends” and friendship has changed with the boundaries of privacy changing and evolving. Issues that emerge with this 24/7 “connected culture” – from identity theft, to cyberbullying, to uncertainty about which information to trust online – are surfacing both in schools and at home.
SWGfL is providing this FREE
Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum to help educators empower their students and their school communities to be safe, responsible, and savvy as they navigate this fast-paced digital world.
- Introduces reliable, research-based information to students about digital media and their impact
- Helps pupils / students explore the complex issues of our connected culture
- Empowers pupils /students to think critically about the ways they use digital technologies as they build digital literacy skills for life
- Develops a resilience in pupils / students to act appropriately and safely in their use of digital technologies
Lesson activities range from low-tech options, such as discussion and paper-based worksheets, to media-rich videos and Internet-based activities. These materials can also be used in informal learning environments, such as after-school programs, community centres, youth clubs and libraries. Also included are end-of-lesson questions and guidelines that offer authentic assessment opportunities to monitor your pupils’ / students’ progress.
This research-based curriculum offers a balanced approach to digital literacy education. It celebrates the power of the Internet and other digital media while teaching pupils / students to avoid the potential perils of digital life. Based on the work of Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the curriculum emphasises skill building, critical thinking, ethical discussion, and decision making – using case studies and real-life scenarios. The activities in this curriculum include role-playing, reading comprehension and writing, videos, and interactive online tutorials. Common Sense Media also takes a whole-community approach to digital literacy and citizenship, providing parents with educational resources and engaging them in discussion. There are unit- and lesson-level parent tip sheets and videos, as well as a handful of student and parent homework activities. Through the SWGfL website teachers and other educators may download and adapt for free these exciting resources.
There are many resources available that focus only on keeping children safe. This curriculum addresses safety and security concerns, but it consciously expands beyond them to address an array of issues, including ethics and behaviour as well as Internet research skills. Lessons are designed to be developmentally and culturally appropriate, are geared toward diverse learning styles.
The curriculum is divided into three major topical strands, each with its own units and lessons. Teachers may choose to teach all the lessons in each of the three strands, or may decide to teach individual lessons. Tables of age related progressions as well as implementation guides are available to help you get started.
Here is a brief outline of the strands and units in the curriculum.
Safety and Security Strand:
Students learn concrete skills to stay safe and secure online.
Students explore the benefits and risks of online talk. They learn about the rewards of communicating online, but also how to recognize inappropriate contact. Students learn how to apply commonsense tips to online talk, and to stay safe when they connect with others.
Students learn strategies for managing their information online to keep it secure. They learn how to guard against identity theft; keep their data safe from hacking, malware, and spam; and to protect themselves from phishing.
Digital Citizenship Strand:
Students reflect on how to behave ethically online.
Digital Life Unit:
Students explore the positive and negative impact of digital media on their lives and communities, and define what it means to be a responsible digital citizen.
Privacy and Digital Footprints Unit:
Students learn that the Internet is a very public space, and therefore they must carefully manage their information and respect the privacy of others online
Connected Culture Unit:
Students explore the ethics of online communities – both the negative behaviours to avoid, such as cyberbullying and hurtful behaviour, and positive behaviours that support collaboration and constructive relationships. They also learn about clear and responsible communications through media.
Self-Expression and Identity Unit:
Students identify and explore different ways they can present themselves online while also learning to recognize when playing with identity crosses the line into deception.
Respecting Creative Work Unit:
Students learn about the value and responsibility of being a 21st-century creator: receiving credit for your own online work and giving others respect by properly referencing their work.
Research and Information Literacy Strand:
Students think critically about finding and evaluating information online.
Students are introduced to different search options and effective strategies for finding information. They make informed choices about which search sites to use, and how to use search tools and precise keywords to yield the best results.
Research and Evaluation Unit:
Students become critical thinkers about the information they encounter online. They learn to evaluate the quality and credibility of websites.