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Valley Academyof Arts & Sciences

Digital Citizenship » 9th Grade

9th Grade

Lesson 1: Who are you online?

1) View this slideshow, and discuss:
  • What are the differences and similarities between the real people and their avatars?
  • Why do the people in the photos create look-alike or different-looking avatars?
  • How would an avatar designed for a social networking site be different than one created for a virtual world?
2) Being "real" or "fake" online
  • What do you think it means to be "real" or "fake"?
  • Do you think it is easier for people to be "fake" online than in real life?  Why or why not?
  • Watch the video below:
  • Ramon talks about how some people exaggerate or seem very different online than in person. How do you explain these differences between their online and in-person personas? 
  • Are there risks for creating an online presence that is very different than the offline one? Are there benefits?
  • What are other reasons people might feel they can act in ways online that they wouldn’t offline?  Finish by discussing
3) Wrap up by having students answer the following questions in a journal entry:
  • How does your persona change depending on the context, online and offline?
  • What are the benefits of and problems with being anonymous or less inhibited online?
  • What responsibilities do you have to yourself and others to “stay real” online, even when you exaggerate or act differently?




 Lesson 2: Turn Down the Dial on Cyberbullying


1) Watch the video below and identify the factors that contribute to online cruelty.

  • Do you think Ricardo is a cyberbully?  Why or why not?
  • What does Ricardo mean when he says that information "gets around really quick"?
  • Ricardo thinks that harassing others on the internet, rather than in person, appeals to some teenagers because they can't be attacked back physically?  What do you think?
  • Have you ever encountered online cruelty?
2) Watch the video below and identify the roles of various players in the video and describe what upstanders can do to lessen the effects of online cruelty.
  • Who was involved in the story and what roles did they play?  Who was the target?  Who were the offenders?  Were there bystanders and/or Upstanders?
  • How do you think the online cruelty might be different from offline behavior?
  • What do you think you might have done if you were Stacey?  What could you have done if you wanted to be an Upstander in this situation?
  • Have you or a friend ever experienced a situation similar to Stacey's?  What strategies could help you or have helped you in those situations?
  • What might prevent a bystander from taking action?  What advice would you give someone to convince them to be upstanding?
3) Wrap up by having students answer the following questions in a journal entry:
  • What are some roles that different people play in cyberbullying situations, and how would you describe each one?
  • What are some ways that online cruelty and cyberbullying can escalate or intensify?
  • Why is it important to be and Upstander rather than a bystander?

Lesson 3: My Online Code

1) With your class, discuss and define what it means to be ethical.
  • What are some examples of a person behaving ethically, and how does it show honesty and respect towards others?
  • What are some examples of a person behaving unethically, and why are these behaviors unethical?
  • What are examples that people behave unethically online?  How should people be honest and respectful online?
  • Introduce students these four key online topics: 
1) Privacy: Respecting the privacy of others
2) Self-Expression and Identity: Presenting yourself in an honest and genuine way in the online world
3) Connected Culture: Treating others in a kind and respectful manner, and avoiding cyberbullying
4) Respecting Creative Work: Giving credit to others and/or asking their permission when you use their work as part of your own
  • Arrange students into four groups and have them look at Jeff's Profile.  Each group will be assigned one of the four topics from above, and in groups analyze Jeff's Profile postings and answer the associated questions.  Work in groups for 10-15 minutes.
  • As a class, have each group share their analysis of their assigned topic and the answers to their questions.
3) Introduce Digital Citizenship
  • Invite students to complete the sentence: A good citizen of the digital world _________________. 
  • Record student responses on the board.
  • As a class, discuss and develop guidelines to help promote and remind students to be better digital citizens.  Possible ideas: students (individually or in groups) can create posters, memes, or slogans.
4) Wrap up by having students answer the following questions in a journal entry:
  • When you are online, what are examples of behaving ethically?
  • What are examples of unethically online behavior?
  • As an online citizen, what are some of your responsibilities to yourself, your family and friends, and your community?  What happens when you don't fulfill your responsibilities as an digital citizen?