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Volume 27, Number 5
September/October 2011

Turning Digital Natives into Digital Citizens


Today’s K–12 students are commonly called “digital natives” because they have grown up with digital technology. But natives can run wild, using the Internet to (wittingly or unwittingly) plagiarize others’ work or bully peers using social media.

Now, educators are teaching digital natives how to become good digital citizens. As defined by federal officials in the recently released National Education Technology Plan and by educators in the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS), model digital citizens “practice safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and tools.” While cyberbullying remains a concern, teachers are helping students investigate the weighty issue of intellectual property rights in order to keep them within legal and ethical bounds. Using websites as well as their own tools, they are helping students understand important concepts such as fair use and copyright, and are also helping them see the relevance in these topics by learning how to protect their own digital work.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

Creative Commons (Tutorials)

Ribble, M. Digital Citizenship in Schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 2011.

The Media Education Lab (Best Practices)