Posts tagged ‘Digital Citizenship’

Teaching How to Spot Fake News

“Life is filled with tests, one after another, and if you don’t recognize them, you are certain to fail the most important ones.” By Brian Herbert


In a  recent study from Stanford, Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning, displays that a vast majority of students can’t determine it what they read on websites is true or false. (I would also be interested in a further study to see how many adults can identify fake news as sometimes I see adults posting fake news too.) The skills of evaluating fake news and information are a very important part of Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy. 

As educators we need to have an understanding ourselves where information comes from so we can help guide students. We need to explicitly teach if an article, blog post etc is reliable and accurate. We can start doing that be utilizing these three core ideas: 

Consider the Source: Where was the information published? Remember anyone can make a website.

Check the Author: What do you know about the author(s)? What else have they written?

Check the Date: When was the information posted? How long ago was it updated? 

Below are some resources you can use in the classroom for teaching how to spot fake news:

Chrome Extension: Fake News Detector 

Snopes (Put in a url you are wondering about and they will fact check it)

Fictitious, Satirical, Bogus, Fallacy-laden Websites (Sites that are fake you can use to teach students about digital literacy and spotting fake news. I would make this into a web-quest mixing real and fake news to see how many they can identify)

Lesson Plan: Fighting Fake News

Lesson plan: How to teach your students about fake news

Fake News and What We Can Do about It: HS Lesson Plans

More articles on fake news:

Mission Critical: How Educators Can Help Save Democracy

Who Stands Between Fake News and Students? Educators

Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News

Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds

How to Spot Fake News

Kiddle: Search Engine for Kids

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” By E.M. Forster 

Digital Citizenship is about teaching students how to appropriately use the internet. One important lesson to teach students is how to search on the internet. Often times teachers assume students know how to do this or they don’t know how to search well so they don’t teach it. For example: If they are looking for information on ecosystems often times I watch people just type in ecosystems verse being specific on what they need. Such as: ecosystems, lesson plans, 5th grade. You get very different information and we need to teach that to students.

One of my new favorite kid-friendly web search is Kiddle powered by editors and Google safe search. I like to use this site to teach students how to search but in a safe learning environment.

Here are my top 5 reasons why:

  1. Uses safe search which means there is a filter monitoring content. When you type in inappropriate content a “robot” says “Oops, looks like your query contained some bad words. Please try again!” (see image below)
  2. Uses visual search so the students sees text along with a picture for their search. Like Google you can also search by images, videos etc.
  3. Uses large font to help the readability for kids.
  4. Does not collect personally identifiable information and logs are deleted after 24 hours.
  5. You can request additional keyword blocking or additional site blocking by using the form at the bottom of the site.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.53.35 AM

Other good safe search engines for kids:



20 Digital Citizenship Resources

“Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.”  by Mike Ribble

Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps educators and parents to understand what student users should know to use technology appropriately. There are 9 elements of digital citizenship such as digital rights & responsibilities, digital law and digital etiquette. With more devices and blended learning, teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom is apart of the hidden curriculum that should be infused with the schools/classrooms current Character Education program.


Other Blogs and Resources on Digital Citizenship:

1. Curriculum: Understanding YouTube & Digital Citizenship

2. Know the Net Site

3. Digital Citizenship: There is more to teaching than three R’s

4. Common Sense Media

5. FBI Cyber Surfing

6. Live Binder of Digital Citizenship Resources

7. Educational Origami – 21st Century Pedagogy

8. Digital Passport

9. Copyright Website


11. Internet Saftey

12. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Digital Citizenship Posts

13. 20 Basic Rules For Digital Citizenship

14. 5 More Places To Help You Find Quality Creative Commons Images

15. Digital Citizenship in Schools

16. 10 Interactive Lessons By Google On Digital Citizenship

17. Digital Citizenship Comic

18. Brain Pop: Digital Citizenship (Free)

19. Teachers Channel – Super Digital Citizen

20. Ideas for Digital Citizenship PBL Projects

I would love to know how you teach digital citizenship. Please share in the comments.


“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” Bill Gates


CIPA, COPPA, FERPA, Oh My! These are the laws and policies that help to protect our students online that many teacher’s are not aware of. Below is an overview of each law along with some resources to better understand them.

Child Internet Protection Act: The school is required by CIPA to have technology measures and policies in place that protect students from harmful materials including those that are obscene and pornographic. Any harmful content contained from inappropriate sites will be blocked.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act: COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. By default, Google advertising is turned off for Apps for Education users. No personal student information is collected for commercial purposes. This permission form allows the school to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school’s use of student information is solely for education purposes.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: FERPA protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents the right to review student records. Under FERPA, schools may disclose directory information (name, phone, address, grade level, etc…) but parents may request that the school not disclose this information.

  • The school will not publish confidential education records (grades, student ID #, etc) for public viewing on the Internet. The school may publish student work and photos for public viewing but will not publish student last names or other personally identifiable information.
  • Parents may request that photos, names and general directory information about their children not be published. Parents have the right at any time to investigate the contents of their child’s email or web tools.


Due to these laws, but also wanting our students to create using web tools and apps, we created a Webtool Permission Slip. This permission slip helps parents be informed as well.

Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Explained Succinctly

CIPA, COPPA & FERPA: Requirements Reexamined

World’s Simplest Online Safety Policy

Work Cited:

“Children’s Internet Protection Act |” 2002. 1 Dec. 2013 <>

“Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.” 1 Dec. 2013 <>

“FERPA for Students – U.S. Department of Education.” 2010. 1 Dec. 2013 <>

Addressing the Issue of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) with Students

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” By Samuel Johnson

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a reality for many students as we are becoming a more connected society and using social media. With Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Four-Square, to name just a few, we basically know (at least think we know) what everyone is doing and where they are. Below is a spoof video, of a very real feeling many students have.

While working on a digital citizenship project and listening to students talk about their memorial day plans, it got me thinking about FOMO. I started to researching more about it and finding lots of psychology articles on it about Mom’s having FOMO and co-workers but nothing about addressing the issue with students. This shocked me! I believe FOMO needs to be part of our digital citizenship lessons in the classroom as it is apart of digital literacy and etiquette. It should be talked about and discussed as FOMO can contribute to anxiety and depression in students. Here are the three ways I think we can address this issues for the students in the classroom:

1. Self-Esteem: We need to teach and foster self-esteem in the classroom. How do you do this and address FOMO? One way is to emphasize to students not everything someone posts, tweets etc are always true. We also need to address responsibility of ones actions. Jack Canfield’s ASCD article: Improving Students’ Self-Esteem writes about 10 steps teachers can take to help build self-esteem. “He states we must assume an attitude of 100% responsibility for our actions.” He discusses that the formula: E (events) + R (Response to them) = O (Outcomes). We need to teach our students that it is okay that you don’t get invited to every party or get together with friends but how you react to these situations is critical. Reminding them it doesn’t mean they like you less or that they don’t like you at all. If a ‘friend’ consistently does want to hang out with you, think about maybe why? Are you always complaining, or causing drama? If not, asking your friends after they don’t invite you to events a few times is okay. This brings me to my next point.

2. Communication: One of the most important 21st century skill is teaching students how to communicate on and off-line. We need to teach students about tone of communication because often times with email, messages and status updates what people communicate gets lost in translation or can come off a different way than meaning too. Taking the above situation, it is also important for students to realize that with friendships, and really any relationship, it is important to communicate. Along with communication, comes intrapersonal communication (also known as self talk) that Canfield discusses as well. We need to discuss self-talk with students and teach them that they control their minds. Students need to be stating positive messages and not negative ones. For more about self-talk check out this article: Challenging Negative Self-Talk by Dr, Martin

3. Choice: Students need to know they have choice and that they can’t be everywhere at once. If they want a quiet evening at home, that is their choice. They shouldn’t feel guilty for not going to the cool party etc. Also recalling, they don’t always have to be ‘plugged’ in can help as well. They can take a break from social media and the world won’t end.

How are you addressing these issues in the classroom? I would love to know, please comment with your ideas. Want to read more about FOMO, check out these articles and infographic.

Life Dissatisfaction Linked With Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out Drives Use of Social Media

New York Times: Feel like a Wallflower? Maybe It’s Your Facebook Wall?


Reflecting on NCTIES Conference

“Change is the end result of all true learning.” by Leo Buscaglia


The North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) took place in Raleigh, NC this week. It was a great time to present my knowledge but also gain knowledge from others. After synthesizing everything I decided to share  some of my favorite sessions and resources.

1. Richard Bryne, @rmbyrne, was a featured speaker at the conference. One of his sessions was sharing 65 web tools in 50 mins. It was a fast paced session and some I knew but I learned some new tools as well. Three of my favorite that I learned and will be implementing are…

–  Pixabay:  Has free public domain images with no login required (Like the one at top of the page)

Meograph: Four-dimensional storytelling

Real Time Board: Great for online collaboration, sharing ideas or presentations.

2. The conference theme was ‘Game On’ and many sessions were on Game Based Learning. One of my favorite sessions curated all the GBL sites by type of game (ex. strategy, puzzle, role play etc). Check it out here:

3. Sam Walker, @swalker2, presented on how to use digital passport to help teach digital citizenship with gaming. Check it out here:

It was a pleasure to also present on the topics of Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and Twitter for Educators.

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