Project: Digital Citizenship Education
Funding programme: Council of Europe
Timing of the project: 2016-2019
COFACE Families Europe, represented by Martin Schmalzried is part of the as hoc expert group.
Website of the project

The aim of the Digital Citizenship Education (DCE) Project is the empowerment of children through education or the acquisition of competences for learning and active participation in digital society.

The initial phase of the DCE Project comprised the following elements:

  • a review of both formalised literature and informal literature (blogs, wikis and websites), examining the concept of digital citizenship, current digital education policies and contemporary digital education practices and challenges in schools;
  • multi-stakeholder consultations/debates on policy issues regarding the place and better use of online resources and contemporary information technologies (e.g. social networking sites and Web 2.0 or Educational Web 2.0 sites, as well as personal devices) in school settings (curricula and schools organisations), and mapping the administrative and legal responsibilities for school leaders, teachers, students and parents;
  • on the basis of the report on these consultations, we took steps to develop Policy Guidelines to further support national authorities in developing DCE policies to address learning issues as well as the needs of students, and to provide guidance in policy development to help protect students working in open, collaborative, online environments;
  • the promotion and sharing of best practices from member states on effective interactive programmes for the acquisition of digital citizenship competence for students through the curriculum, and for teachers through initial and in-service education;
  • based on the experience of member states, we established a set of descriptors of DCE competence and guidance for the integration of such descriptors in current citizenship education curricula;
  • the development, in partnership with other sectors of the Council of Europe, policy orientations with regard to cross-cutting contemporary educational and legal issues that school authorities face today, such as: cyber-bullying including cyber-misogyny, cyberbullying of teachers, privacy, sexting, digital addiction, student-teacher relationships through social media, digital safe schools, freedom of expression online, and human rights of students in digital settings.

Following the launch of the project, an ad hoc expert group (DCE Expert Group) was set up comprising experts in the fields Internet Governance and Children’s Rights as well as from the education sphere. The Secretariat asked the DCE Expert Group to conduct a review of existing literature on the concept of digital citizenship as well as a multi-stakeholder consultation on the place of DCE projects and programmes in school settings (curricula and schools organisations) and mapping the administrative and legal responsibilities for school leaders, teachers, students and parents.

The second phase of the project, to be finalized by the end of 2019, includes the development of practical tools and documents related to digital citizenship:

  • A handbook for teachers which includes lesson plans and detailed information about the various dimensions of digital citizenship;
  • A leaflet for parents with key information related to digital citizenship and how to integrate it into their digital parenting practices;
  • A survey for parents to learn about their current understanding of digital citizenship and their digital parenting practices;
  • A document covering the main principles to be respected in the set up of public private partnerships between schools and private companies.

These resources will be available this Autumn.