Woman in front of world map holding tablet with pop out digital images
Inside the Classroom

Top Five Ways Teachers Can Model Digital Citizenship

Because today’s students live in a digital world, it can be easy to forget that they need to be taught how to navigate that world. Most students are immersed in technology from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep, but that doesn’t mean they understand the impact they have on each other and on the digital society. As blended and online teachers, it’s important not only to teach students about the importance of digital citizenship, but also to model appropriate behaviors. Here are the top five ways you can model digital citizenship for your students.

  1. Digital RightsDigital rights and responsibilities
    Being online is a privilege, even though we take it for granted. Set a precedent for how and when technology is used in your classroom, and take away that right if students aren’t using it responsibly.
  2. digital-communicationDigital communication
    We can communicate with anyone, anywhere. Stress that even though we’re free to speak our minds on the Internet, there’s still consequences to what we say just like in real life.
  3. digital-literacyDigital literacy
    Use technology in a way that teaches new skills or reinforces known skills, such as problem solving, idea generation, and information gathering. Because technology is so pervasive, students can learn anytime, anywhere, if you show them how.
  4. 04-digital-etiquetteDigital etiquette
    Act as though students are in the room with you when interacting with them online. Use full greetings and closings in e-mails, complete sentences and fully spelled out words in chats, and mind your “pleases” and “thank yous” when communicating with students via a message board.
  5. digital-securityDigital security
    Remind students to not divulge personal information, such as home address or phone number, when they’re online. If you’re working in a computer lab, remind students to fully log out when they’re done and not to write down their passwords. (And don’t forget to do so yourself!)

Model appropriate behavior, and students will follow your lead. Set the norm that you can use technology in an appropriate, responsible way and fully participate in our digital society. When you respect, educate, and protect yourself and your students, they will be better digital citizens.

About the Author


Rae Palmer

Rae has a BS in Journalism and a MA in English from Northern Arizona University. She has served as an ESL/ELL teacher and one-on-one tutor, writing tutor, freshman success coach, English teacher, writer, and editor. As a teacher, she felt privileged to work with hundreds of students with varying skill levels in both an online and traditional classroom setting. As a writer, she covered the education industry both on a national and a district level. This experience has given her deeper insight into the ever-changing world of education. She continued to help all learners achieve their full potential during her tenure with Edgenuity.