InCtrl: Teaching Digital Citizenship

  by Kat Stewart, JULY 25TH, 2013

Cable in the Classroom, the cable industry’s education foundation, has a long history of encouraging the safe, smart and effective use of technology in education. That approach continues today with the entry of a brand new initiative, InCtrla series of free, video-based lessons that teach digital citizenship.

Digital citizenship empowers students to make thoughtful decisions and develop a sound digital foundation for the rest of their lives. It’s a holistic and positive approach to helping students learn how to be safe and secure, as well as smart and effective participants in a digital world. That means helping them understand their rights and responsibilities, recognize the benefits and risks, and realize the personal and ethical implications of their actions.

Digital citizenship is a very broad topic, and we hear frequently that teachers are having a hard time teaching digital citizenship concepts to their students. To test this assumption, we’ve conducted research among parents and teachers, asking fundamentally big questions:

  • How do we ensure students are fully equipped to participate in a digital world?
  • How adequately do you feel you’re prepared to teach digital citizenship?

The answers: digital citizenship and not very prepared at all.

We learned from our survey findings in 2012 that 53% of educators felt their schools emphasized digital citizenship education less than they should and only 39% felt well prepared to teach digital citizenship. What teachers wanted more than anything else was lessons and teaching materials.

So Cable in the Classroom developed InCtrl.

InCtrl is a series of free, standards-based lessons that teach seven key digital citizenship concepts. Aimed at students in grades 4-8, each lesson contains videos, (one for the teacher and one to be used with the students), background information about a digital citizenship concept, and classroom activity ideas. Each lesson is designed to engage students through inquiry-based activities, and collaborative and creative opportunities.

The lessons, which are matched to Common Core State Standards, can stand-alone or be used together with others in the series.

InCtrl covers the following topics:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Ethics/Copyright
  • Privacy
  • Media literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Digital citizenship

Each lesson provides a broad overview of the topic and offers advice on helping students manage their digital lives.

InCtrl resources are available, free of charge, on Cable in the Classroom’s website and are also suitable for use in afterschool and other community-based programs.  Furthermore, InCtrl lessons can help fulfill the E-Rate requirements of educating students about online behavior and safety.

We are rolling out a new lesson each month, and all 7 lessons will be complete, and available, come mid-October.   While this material obviously is designed for students and teachers – if you don’t fit into one of those groups, we encourage you to take a look too, at www.CIConline.org/InCtrl. After all, we’re all still learning about the new digital world.

If you have any questions about digital citizenship or InCtrl, please leave a comment below or you can contact me via email, Twitter (@KatCableClassrm) or post a comment to the Cable in the Classroom Facebook page.