Just-in-Time Digital Citizenship Lessons

Digital Ethics should be a top priority in this age. Teachers and parents have many opportunities to avoid a crisis by thinking ahead and preparing students for issues that might arise. There are so many digital literacy or digital citizenship issues students should be aware of when working in the online/digital world that it seems overwhelming. Try making the lessons bite-sized, which improves their impact with students and allows teachers or parents reference points for future discussion.

Identify a "just in time" lesson that students should have before trouble strikes. Look ahead in your lessons that involve technology and try to anticipate the issues, or skills, that will be needed. Review digital citizenship elements that have been covered before. 

Proactively Teaching Digital Citizenship



Examples of Just-in-Time Lessons:

Establishing a Class Agreement for taking and sharing Photos or Videos.
This should be done before mobile devices, such as iPads, are distributed. The most powerful aspect of mobile devices is the camera! This is one example of a lesson to get ahead of any issues:

Also: Consent conversations



This Prezi sets up two role-playing scenes. Students are invited to act out these scenes in repeated versions until the class agrees that the outcome of the scene is comfortable for them. 
Keep track of the agreements on chart paper (or the equivalent) and make sure the final agreement is understood by the whole class community. Let them know that they are now bound by this agreement.

Digital Sharing Lessons
This is a follow up to the previous lesson. The Class Agreement should be reviewed at the beginning.

With mobile devices come cameras and the ability to share straight from the device. Students need to learn from the earliest years that taking and sharing a photo or video of someone should only be done with their consent. An awareness for the students of the power, and the possible abuses of digital sharing will help create respect for the rights and feeling of others, and hopefully avoid problems.

This lesson begins with a game of "telephone" using the phrase in the second slide. The whole discussion should last about 10-15 minutes and classroom teachers should be included.

Digital Sharing

Blog post about this lesson


4th Grade introduction to email lesson:

Getting Started on the Right Foot


Integrity Lesson

One of the five elements of digital citizenship identified by Howard Gardner is "trustworthiness". We used the word "integrity" to hold that dicussion with our classes.


Integrity in Person and Online  - for grades 3 and up

Integrity in Person and Online - for 1st & 2nd graders


Golden Rule Lesson

Many students forget how it feels to be picked on or embarassed - or they claim that that sort of thing wouldn't bother them. It's time to flip the "golden rule" to "Treat others as THEY want to treated".


Treat Other as THEY Want to be Treated


Balance Lesson

Our students spend a lot of time online. How do we educate them to appreciate time offline as well? This lesson is about balancing time online with time outdoors, and to evaluate the quality of how they spend their online time. 


Creating Balance

Blog post about this lesson


Reflection Cycle

  • Awareness: How the technology I use affects others and myself.
  • Understanding: Uses of technology that are appropriate and inappropriate.
  • Action: Making the best decision in a situation
  • Deliberation: Did my behavior have a positive or negative influence? Would I do it again?

Source: Ribble and Bailey: Teaching Digital Citizenship Reflection.

Rings of Responsibility

These are a few images from Carrie James's Webinar for ISTE discussing her book, Disconnected: Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap


This presentation uses the Rings of Responsibility as a focus and a reflection tool.
The materials below and Rings of Responsibility are from 



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