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Weekly News Digest

February 15, 2024 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Cyber Civics Introduces a New Curriculum for 4th- and 5th-Grade Digital Literacy Instruction


‘Digital On-Ramps’ Lessons Prepare Elementary School Students to Use Technology Responsibly

San Clemente, Calif.—The digital literacy experts at Cyber Civics have just released a brand new curriculum called “Digital On-Ramps.” As the name implies, this innovative program for 4th and 5th grade students is an on-ramp to safe and wise technology use. The curriculum packs social emotional learning (SEL) plus digital literacy into 40 turnkey lessons, hands-on activities, original videos, student worksheets, and (sometimes) homework. The aim is to equip youth with the skills they need most to use connected devices responsibly.

Cyber Civics owl mascotLike the Cyber Civics middle school curriculum, Digital On-Ramps is fun and easy to teach. Educators simply access turnkey materials via a private online portal. Every lesson is anchored by an entertaining video featuring the intrepid Cyberwise owl mascot who is just learning to use the internet too! Whether teachers show these videos in the classroom or not, they can use the lesson plan as a guide to deliver lessons, activities, and facilitate discussions in the classroom (or at home!). 

Digital On-Ramps is a research-based program that meets national educational standards (CASEL Social-Emotional Competencies, ISTE Tech Standards, and Common Core ELA Standards) as it prepares students for the challenges of online life.

Program Begins by Exploring ‘Values’

Like a compass, values can guide students towards making wise decisions, online and off. They also promote character development and help youth become well-rounded individuals. The first unit of Digital On-Ramps—Using Values to Guide You—begins with an exploration of important values, like kindness, responsibility, self-discipline, tact, and more. The value lessons come in pairs, the first explores the value in the offline world, while its pair explains how it can guide us online. 

A second unit—Getting Ready to Take Flight—introduces students to the basics of technology, such as the history of the Internet, how search works, device care, and finding balance. A third and final unit—Are You Really Ready?—explores topics such as misinformation, reputation, cyberbullying, privacy, safety, and more.

Digital Literacy + SEL Go Hand-in-Hand

In a meta-analysis of 213 school-based SEL (Social Emotional Learning) programs, participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behavior, as well as an 11-percentile-point gain in academic performance.1 The social-emotional competencies—Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making—are in high demand online too! These are the skills students desperately need in order to avoid the pitfalls of online life and to know how to engage, safely and wisely, with the flood of information (and people!) they will encounter online. 

“We are thrilled to introduce our new curriculum for 4th and 5th graders, designed to prepare and empower the next generation of digital citizens,” says Diana Graber, Cyber Civics founder and author of Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship With Technology. “In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and emotional intelligence they need to navigate the online landscape responsibly. By providing comprehensive digital literacy education for students from grades 4 to 8, our aim is to do just that.”

The launch of a 4th and 5th grade curriculum marks another milestone in Cyber Civics’ mission to provide high-quality digital literacy education to students worldwide. With a track record of success and a commitment to excellence, Cyber Civics continues to lead the way in preparing students to become ethical, safe, and productive digital citizens.

Phase 1 (20 lessons) available now.

Phase 2 (coming June ’24) will add an additional unit (Are You Really Ready?).

  1. Drlak, Joseph A et al. “The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: a meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions.” Child development vol. 82,1 (2011): 405-32. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x

CYBER CIVICS is the provider of a comprehensive middle school digital literacy curriculum that teaches digital citizenship, information literacy, and media literacy skills. The curriculum, delivered in three levels, includes 75+ turnkey lessons, hands-on activities, slides with embedded videos, student worksheets, teacher guides, and send-home parent letters with activities. Schools across the US and internationally have taught Cyber Civics since 2013. Cyber Civics now offers “Digital On-Ramps,” an SEL + Digital Literacy curriculum for fourth and fifth grades that consists of 40 turnkey lessons, activities, videos, student worksheets, and more.

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“The Cyber Civics Digital On Ramps curriculum is age appropriate and meets the children where they are developmentally. My colleagues love the turnkey aspect, and students love all the engaging and fun activities. It’s the perfect fit for our 4th/5th graders just about to enter the digital world.”

—Shelley Glaze-Kelley, administrator, Journey School, California

 “I appreciate the thoughtfulness to the curriculum and the variety of types of activities and engagements.”

—Sara Andrassy, teacher, Richmond Waldorf School, Virginia

“Cyber Civics has been such a valuable resource for Socrates Academy. We have noticed a considerable increase in our scholar’s digital citizenship and making good decisions online. Prior to implementation, we were having a HUGE problem with TikTok and bullying—since implementing we’ve noticed a stark difference. I attribute that change to Cyber Civics.”

—Vanessa Baker, principal, Socrates Academy, North Carolina

“Fantastic programs/lessons! The kids get a lot from them!”

—Susan Pennington, librarian/ELA teacher, Springfield Public Schools, Illinois

“Cyber Civics is a wonderful curriculum. It’s easy to use and has great, easy to use presentations!”

—Consuelo Candelaria, teacher, Magdalena Municipal School District, New Mexico

“Cyber Civics lays a strong foundation for healthy digital ethics, information and computer literacy for our children so when they face inevitable, difficult choices online, they will make the right decisions.”

—Dr. Paul Helfrich, teacher, Westside Waldorf School, California

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