These engaging activities can spark conversations about oversharing, digital footprints

As physical distancing becomes a feature of students’ everyday lives, social media has emerged as an important outlet for them to stay connected with international journal friends and family. At the same time, not all students have access to the support they need to learn how to use social media in a way that’s healthy. And for students from lower-income families, online negative experiences are more likely to spill over into their offline lives. Yet, having a conversation with young people about how they use social media can be a daunting task.

To prepare young people for the real-life digital dilemmas they will face on social media, Common Sense Education and a group of researchers at the Cornell Social Media Lab co-developed Social Media TestDrive. This online simulation allows middle school students a chance to explore a social media interface without actually having to create a social media account.

For Digital Citizenship Week 2020, we encourage you to try out Social Media TestDrive in your classroom. Each Social Media TestDrive module is aligned to one of the core digital citizenship topics and lessons from Common Sense Education’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum (for more information, see the educator guide). Each module is organized into four sections: a tutorial, a guided activity, a free-play section, and a reflection page. A module takes 20-25 minutes to complete.

Here are some ideas for how you can implement TestDrive during Digital Citizenship Week:

For review: If you taught one of our lessons at the beginning of the year, you can have students complete a TestDrive module as a way to revisit key digital citizenship concepts they might have forgotten or that might have become more relevant since the start of the school year.
For homework or asynchronous activity: TestDrive modules are designed to be self-directed, so you can have students complete them as homework. Ask students to save their answer to the module’s reflection questions as PDFs so they can share them with you.
For synchronous class discussion: Have students complete a module and discuss their experiences with the rest of the class. You can use the guiding questions below to make sure students address key topics from the lesson.

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