EGUSD Digital Citizenship

Resources for 21st Century Teaching and Learning

EGUSD Digital Citizenship

Archives for Resources

Technology and Students’ Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

It has been over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot has changed in our world. It has become mandatory for people of all ages to use digital platforms to communicate with others and complete basic tasks for school and work. Coupled with this increase in technology use, we have seen an increase in mental health challenges for young people.  A recent study completed by Common Sense Media in conjunction with Hopelab and the California Health Care Foundation suggests that technology has played a key role in providing support and resources for young people who are experiencing these mental health challenges.  

Student with tablet

The report, Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health states that “depression rates have increased significantly since 2018, especially among teens and young adults who have had coronavirus infections in their homes.”  The study cites the increase in the percentage of young people who report moderate to severe depressive symptoms (up from 25% in 2018 to 38% in 2020) and explores the role that technology can play in supporting these young people. It explains that young people have increased their use of digital health resources by connecting with their health practitioners online and seeking information about topics that include COVID-19, fitness, anxiety, stress, and depression. The report states that,  “Forty percent of young people have looked online for “health peers,” or people with similar health concerns to their own.” 

The study also examines the role social media plays in the lives of young people, including those with moderate to severe depressive symptoms.  The researchers found that young people who are experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms use social media more frequently than their peers.  These young people stated that they use social media to get inspiration from others, feel less alone, and get support or advice when needed. One study participant said, “I just wanted to see how other people dealt with their stress, especially with school and how they balance it all. It helped me to see that I wasn’t alone in my anxiety, and that there are better ways to deal with anxiety rather than just pushing it to the back burner.”

Not all participants had a positive experience with technology and social media.  For the 5% of the participants in the study who reported having severe depressive symptoms, social media caused increased stress and anxiety.  Still, for a majority of participants, technology gave them access to the information and support they were seeking. 

For more information, check out the following resources:

For families who are seeking ways to support the mental well being of their children, check out the following Elk Grove Unified School District resources:

Digital Citizenship in a Time of #RemoteLearning

With more people than ever spending time and communicating online due to the COVID-19 virus “stay at home/shelter in place” orders throughout the country, it is important to remember basic media literacy skills and digital citizenship/internet safety guidelines when reading news articles, doing research, exploring new websites, apps and using online tools. Distance Learning Graphic

As we move into a time of #RemoteLearning, please keep in mind – and put into practice – the tips listed below:

  • Flex your media literacy muscles – Do not believe everything you read; fact check your sources before sharing articles or news stories online. Allsides, News Literacy Project, Politifact and Snopes are great starting points. Explore our curated Media Literacy Resources to learn more.
  • Protect your passwords – Do not share them with friends (not even with your best friend). 
  • Protect your personal information – Put on your “skepticals” before signing up for “freemium” offers for online apps – especially if they’re asking for credit card information.
  • Respect other people’s privacy, point of view, and intellectual property.
  • Contribute in positive ways to online discussions – Here are some sentence starters from ReadWriteThink: Writers… Written Conversation Sentence Starters.
  • Create a balance with your screen time and other activities. 

The need for kids to take control of and be mindful of their screen time is a huge concern shared by families, teachers, and administrators. Of course, kids will go through periods of both heavy and light media use, but it’s all about balance. #RemoteLearning should not be limited to digital resources, but rather a combination of digital and analog. Working together, we can help our kids maintain a healthy media balance.

#RemoteLearning should also be a balance between consuming content and creating content. As kids have more time to explore hobbies and interests, this is a perfect time to share their ideas, thoughts, and passions with family members, classmates, and friends through a variety of media (handwritten, texted, recorded, etc.). 

#RemoteLearning is also an opportunity for students to start building an awareness beyond their current world view. Many organizations offer students a safe venue for connecting to and sharing their learning with national and worldwide online communities. From our regional SECC’s Call to Action: Share Your Story to the Center for Media Literacy’s Mind Over Media Challenge, kids can use the Internet to share their voice with an authentic audience – transitioning in the process from a digital citizen to a global citizen.

We would love to showcase examples of how you have implemented any or all of our tips. We invite you to leave a comment with your examples – or perhaps additional tips you have found to be useful.

#DigCit in the 2019-2020 School Year

As students and staff settle into the school year, we thought we’d share some of the new resources we’ve gathered over the summer, from attending the ISTE 2019 (International Society for Technology Education) Conference, to Common Sense releasing their new curriculum. Once again digital citizenship is brought to the forefront.

We are honored and excited to have played a role in the development of media literacy resources via our connection with Common Sense Education. An example would be Hoaxes and Fakes – a 9th grade lesson that pulls from our 2016 Saturday Seminar – Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms session on fake news.

While this lesson can be taught as a stand-alone, it can also be integrated into a science, English or history/social studies class to bring an awareness to media literacy as an essential skill for today’s research projects.

Fact vs. Fiction

Fact VS. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News includes examples from a variety of educators (elementary through higher ed) who demonstrate how to tackle fake news with students and colleagues. We’ve added an (autographed) copy of Jennifer Lagarde and Darren Hudgins’ book to our digital citizenship library.

We would also like the share a recent video on #deepfakes from U.C. Berkeley Professor Hany Farid:

Farid created this eight minute crash course on detecting “fakery” in photos and videos as a resource for grades 5 through adult.

You might enjoy putting the skills and tips Farid has shared into action by playing the below games:

  • Factitious – A fast-moving game, players swipe left when they think the article in front of them is fake, and right when they believe it’s real (Developed by American University Game Lab)
  • – Game challenges you to see if you can tell a real face from an A.I. fake. (Developed by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington)
  • Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda – A “user-generated content website” for teaching and learning about propaganda. Students and teachers are invited to upload and share samples of propaganda from their own communities. (Developed by Media literacy advocate and author Renee Hobbs)

When is your brain ready for social media? – Common Sense, KQED and PBS have collaborated on a video to bring awareness to what rights students are giving up when they “Accept” the terms of use for 13+ apps, games, etc. The video could be a great conversation starter on privacy issues.

Common Sense continues to create wonderful resources to bring parents into digital citizenship conversations. We love the new Tech Balance app for parents of 3-8 year-olds. Parents can receive free text message tips about how their family can practice healthy media habits at home. Common Sense’s Research section is continually updated with “reliable, independent data on children’s use of media and technology and the impact it has on their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.”

Tech Balance

If you’ve found any new resources over the summer for us to take a look at, please reach out via comments below.

Wishing everyone a great start to the new school year.

Online Challenges and Social Media

The purpose of this post is to inform you about the student “challenges” being shared throughout social media. Our student’s well-being and safety remains a top priority, and as a Common Sense Media certified district in digital citizenship, we want to make you aware of specific “challenges” noted in an article published by that have caused concern in many school districts.

According to the article, specific “challenges” are trending among teens, going viral on social media and, “these stunts range from harmless to horrifying.” Below are some of the “horrifying challenges” that you should be aware of: (Article: 13 Online Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About, written by CSM’s Senior Editor of Parent Education, Christine Elgersma.)

Frightening Challenges

  • Momo Challenge
  • Choking/Fainting/Pass-Out Challenge
  • Tide Pod Challenge
  • Blue Whale Challenge

What to Do About Addressing These Challenges with Your Child

  • Talk about it.
  • Get them to think.
  • Acknowledge peer pressure.
  • Stay (somewhat) up to date.
  • Model responsible online habits.

Besides the resources available here on our Digital Citizenship website, the following District PBIS resources are available for you to use to assist you in speaking with your child about maintaining healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy learning:

If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact your school or reach out to EGUSD Student Services (916) 686-7780.

Digital Citizenship in the 2018-2019 School Year

As a district, EGUSD has long recognized the importance of teaching and modeling positive digital citizenship. Other districts have even reached out to us for guidance in implementing a K-12 program and working towards Common Sense District certification, which EGUSD has earned for another year.

“We applaud the faculty and staff of the Elk Grove Unified School District for embracing digital citizenship as an important part of their students’ education. The Elk Grove Unified School District deserves high praise for giving its students the foundational skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st-century workplace and participate ethically in society at large.” – Liz Kline, VP, Education Programs, Common Sense Education.

Common Sense District Banner

Three main steps that have helped us to achieve our Digital Citizenship Initiative goals include:

Step 1: Require every school site to designate a Digital Citizenship Site Coordinator.

Step 2: Require every site, at the beginning of the school year, to submit a Digital Citizenship Implementation Plan (via a Google Form) stating how the site plans to teach digital citizenship (i.e., identifying lessons per grade level, determining when and where each will be taught: within the core curriculum, during Advocacy, through various school events, parent outreach nights, etc.).

Step 3: Require every principal, at the end of the school year, to sign and submit to the district coordinator(s) a Digital Citizenship Verification Form stating that digital citizenship has been taught at his/her school .

We truly appreciate and want to acknowledge the efforts of our Site Coordinators (Step 1) in building impactiful digital citizenship programs for their schools, and in facilitating Steps 2 and 3.

Hello, world, we are digital citizens. Students embracing each other

Source: Common Sense

With so many of our sites tapping into Common Sense lessons and resources, we’re pleased to announce a significant update for the 2018-2019 school year to their curriculum, built on new research with Harvard’s Project Z. The curriculum materials are now available as Google Docs, including lesson quizzes in Google Forms. Besides being able to download, edit, and add lesson materials using Google Drive, teachers can also share student videos and interactives to Google Classroom. The updated curriculum is being released in phases over the course of the school year:

  • August 15: Grades 3–5 lessons are available now!
  • January: Grades 6–8 lessons launch.
  • Fall 2019: Grades K–2 and 9–12 lessons launch.

To learn more about the updates, visit CSM’s website. We’ve also posted the CSM lesson scope and sequence on our Digital Citizenship Curriculum SiteNote: Access to the Digital Citizenship Curriculum Google Site is limited to EGUSD staff only. You must use your district Google account to login.

Across the district, EGUSD students are putting their #DigCit skills into action to make a difference at their schools. It’s exciting to find a Facebook post or a Tweet showcasing school-based examples, such as KAMS students kicking off the new school year with their “3Be’s focus.”

Albiani Middle School students kick off the 2018-2019 school year.

How are students flexing their digital citizenship muscles at your school? We would love to showcase their stories! Please leave a comment if you have examples to share.

P.S. For a little #DigCit inspiration, here’s a short video from two high school teachers in Plano, Texas: #DigCi Rap.

Keeping your kids safe online this summer

Summer break is already here for some and fast approaching for others. With school being out and students spending more free time online and on their mobile devices, it’s important to be aware of ongoing risks in the cyber world. In addition to cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content, children need an awareness that threats exist – predators looking to make connections online and offline and, even more common, cyber criminals hoping to steal personal information.

Group of kids at school out for summer

As summer vacation kicks off, the Department of Homeland Security encourages you to share these online safety tips with your children:

  1. Don’t share too much information.
    Create a list of things your kids should never post or share online – like their birthday and year, full name, address, and phone number – and make sure they understand why it is important to keep this information private.
  2. Be careful about what you post.
    The internet isn’t private. Once your kids share a post, picture, or video, they can’t control how others will use it, and it can never be permanently deleted. Teach them be thoughtful and cautious in what they post and share online.
  3. Keep your location private.
    Many apps, networks, and devices have geo-tagging features which broadcast your location. This information could lead a stalker directly to your kids, so check that these features are turned off.
  4. Protect your password.
    Show your kids how to create strong passwords and make sure they know to never share them with anyone (except their parents or a trusted adult).

Beach and Mobile Phone

Speaking of vacation – below are a few more tips on being mindful of what you share when it comes to your trips and travels.

Vacation time should be for relaxing and spending time with friends and loved ones. Consider modeling some device free behavior. Do you really need to be checking your phone or tablet constantly? By implementing device free time, you are sending a message to your children that your time with them is more valuable than whatever text messages or status updates might be happening in the background.

Avoid posting details of your family vacation. Don’t post dates and locations for the entire world to see, and make sure your children don’t do so either.

Discourage “checking-in” and geo-tagging. Although “fun,” checking in at certain locations on Facebook or other social networks could expose your home and family to risk. Remind your children to turn off any geo-tracking tools, and avoid “checking in”.

Cyberbullying doesn’t end with the school year. Cyberbullies can troll your children at anytime. Changes in behavior may indicate that your child is a victim. Notice any behavior that seems unusual? Is your child no longer wanting to be online or is constantly online day and night? These could be potential warning signs that all is not well in your child’s cyber world. Talk to them.

Children are more likely to meet online friends in person during the summer.
This may not always be such a bad idea, if handled correctly. Together with your children, make sure the following rules are adhered to:

  • Your permission and involvement are vital. Be present.
  • Any initial meet-up should be held in a public place that you have selected together.
  • If you have a chance to speak with parents, do so before the meeting.
  • Trust your instincts. If anything doesn’t feel right – cancel the meet-up.

Open discussions about what your kids encounter in their real/online lives are very important to have. Let them know that if they have made mistakes – big or small – they can come to you no matter what. We can’t change the cyber world that our kids now live in, but we can help them navigate it. Social media is a gateway to their friends. Back in the day (pre-internet times), children spent hours playing outside, as well as chatting with friends on the house phone into the wee hours – times have changed.  Children now connect with each other via popular apps – Instagram, Snapchat and It’s a fun way for them to “hangout” within the comforts of home and also provides you with a break from shuttling them all over town.

Summer can also provide opportunities to learn more about the apps your children are using and to meet and connect with industry leaders on Internet Safety topics. We’ve already marked our calendars for the June 14 STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Twitter Chat;

Stop Think Connect Twitter Chat Invitation

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is a global online safety awareness campaign that helps all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online by encouraging people to be more vigilant about practicing safe, online habits. In celebration of Internet Safety Month, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. ™ invites you to join their upcoming Twitter Chat to learn some tips for a fun, cyber safe summer.

#ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Top Tips for a Fun, Cyber Safe Summer
Thursday, June 14,  Noon PDT
June doesn’t just mark the beginning of summer – it’s also Internet Safety Month! School’s out, connected devices are in! While the internet offers opportunities to learn, socialize and explore, it also comes with potential dangers. In this #ChatSTC we’ll share easy, actionable tips and advice you can use right now to keep yourself and the young people in your life safe online all summer long.

Enjoy your summer and please be sure to share with us any additional resources, as well as takeaways from the above information. We welcome your comments and recommendations. We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the important role parents/guardians play in guiding their children (our students) in becoming positive, contributing and connected digital citizens.

Teaching About Intellectual Property – #Hyperdoc Style

Can I use that? Hyperdoc

We love the many ways teachers in the district are guiding student-centered conversations about building positive digital footprints, protecting online privacy, and confronting cyberbullying. A shout out to Common Sense Media, iKeepSafe, and Netsmartz for the wealth of free resources and lessons you provide to schools on these key digital citizenship topics.

EGUSD’s 4 digital citizenship themes – BY NC SA

There is a fourth digital citizenship topic that many teachers are increasingly recognizing the need to address: intellectual property. By 5th grade, most students have been warned about the consequences of plagiarism, a conversation that is typically repeated throughout their middle and high school days. While plagiarism is certainly an important topic, in a digital age, copyright,  fair use, and Creative Commons also need to be included in the conversations. Given how easy it has become to download, copy, remix, and upload online content, students need to have an understanding of both their intellectual property rights and responsibilities.

Digital ID Project’s 4 digital citizenship foci – BY NC SA

Digital ID Project’s 4 digital citizenship foci – BY NC SA

As a co-directors of the district’s Digital Citizenship initiative and co-curators of the Digital ID project, we are always seeking teacher-friendly/student-friendly resources on intellectual property. We also facilitate district-wide and national workshops ( e.g., CUE and ISTE) to help teachers understand that copyright is different from plagiarism and that fair use and Creative Commons are also options for our students.

Based on questions from workshop participants, two years ago we created Can I Use That? A Guide for Teaching about Creative Commons. We always review the guide prior to a workshop to check if we need to update any information or add new resources. This year, in preparation for the March CUE Conference, we’re adding a #HyperDocs* lesson that invites students to delve into copyright, flex their fair use muscles, and license their own creations via Creative Commons. So here it is: Can I Use That? Exploring Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons.

If you have questions about the lesson or suggestions for updates to the Guide, please respond with a comment below.

*#HperDocs is a term invented by @LHighfill. Lisa Highfill was our featured keynote speaker for our EGUSD January 28 Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminar.

Creative Commons Licensing – Part 2

If you enjoyed learning about Creative Commons licensing through Part 1 of Jim Bentley’s student-created video, you will be pleased to know that his 5th graders have just released Part 2: CC Licenses Explained:

Please feel free to share this video – especially with your students. Although there are many videos available on the topic of Creative Commons licenses, we are sure you will agree that the most powerful teaching model is students teaching students. We will be sharing both videos with our EGUSD Digital Citizenship Site Coordinators. It is always our recommendation that when teaching a lesson or unit on copyright and fair use, it’s important to also introduce Creative Commons licensing. For more information on Creative Commons, please refer to Can I Use That? A Guide to Creative Commons, our ever-growing Google doc.

If you have more classroom-appropriate resources on this important topic, please leave a comment.

5th Graders Produce Video to Teach about Creative Commons Licensing

We are thrilled to showcase the work of Jim Bentley’s 5th grade class at Foulks Ranch Elementary School. The students enthusiastically responded to our request to produce a video that would teach students (and teachers) what Creative Commons licensing is all about. Given how easy it is to publish to the Internet, it is essential that students understand that most images they find in a Google search are actually copyrighted. Thanks to Jim and his students, we now have a wonderful resource to explain each of the Creative Commons licenses.

We recognize the power of the students-teaching-students model and therefore are very proud to add the Copyright CC License Project to our resources for teaching about intellectual property.  And the good news is that there is more to come. The students have already started to work on Part II, which will explain how to read the Creative Commons licensing requirements.

Please join us in congratulating Jim’s students for their outstanding work in developing a resource for teaching intellectual property rights and responsibilities, one of EGUSD’s four digital citizenship themes.

Elementary Digital Citizenship Pilot Program

Common Sense Media announced in August that they had teamed with Nearpod to offer a more interactive version of their digital citizenship curriculum. In partnering with Nearpod, they are able to offer a whole new level of engagement and features for teachers and students. Through open-ended response questions, instantly graded quizzes, interactive polls, homework assignments, videos and the ability to add customized presentations, teachers can interact and respond instantly to teachable moments on all issues of digital citizenship. Teachers can also see the results of their students in real-time and can run post-lesson reports.

Several EGUSD computer resource teachers showed an interest in wanting to explore Nearpod as a way to deliver the already-in-use Common Sense Media lessons,  so we reached out to Nearpod to set up a hands-on training/tour of the lessons.

Nearpod Google Hangout

A small group of computer resource teachers/digital citizenship coordinators volunteered to attend a Google hangout session with Nearpod to tour the app’s features. We will be piloting (at no cost) the fee-based Common Sense Media/Nearpod digital citizenship curriculum at five of our elementary schools over the next several months:

  • Edna Batey Elementary School
  • Helen Carr Castello Elementary
  • Elk Grove Elementary
  • Elliott Ranch Elementary
  • Pleasant Grove Elementary

Click here to view a sample Common Sense Media/Nearpod lesson – Grades 3-5 – Super Digital Citizen

At the close of the program, we will post feedback from our pilot teachers.

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