Common Sense Education’s Scope & Sequence vs. Ribble’s 9 Elements

Ok, this will be brief.

As part of my final project, I’ve been summarizing each of Ribble’s 9 Elements, and providing resources to support those using it in their classrooms or homes. I chose Ribble’s framework initially because it correlates with the new Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum that just came out. It just made sense to create a support framework around the system schools in SK will be (hopefully) hearing more about in the months and years to come.

The only real drawback with Ribble’s 9 is that while it seems pretty comprehensive, when it comes time to making the attempt to explicitly teach any of the 9 elements, only several, like Digital Literacy, Digital Etiquette have clearly defined boundaries. Many of the other elements do not have these, and as such blend together. This has made it hard to offer a good series of lessons that aren’t constantly overlapping within each of the 9 other elements.

I’d often wondered why Ribble hasn’t made it rich and created a strong practical component that would complement the theoretical idea of the 9 elements. The issue he probably came up against is that to clearly define 9 elements forces one to create resources that are tailored and specific to each of the 9. While I agree there needs to exist some sort of definition, these need to be more in the background, and not necessarily all specifically taught.

Common Sense Media, in my mind, has done a fantastic job of working through this issue. Rather than focus specifically on specific issues within Digital Citizenship, their scope and sequence lessons, using the elements as a springboard for lessons where the elements often overlap, is a brilliant one. It’s also a frustrating one, because of all the time I have spent working on my own 9 elements pages, only to come to this conclusion so late in the game is really annoying.

The only thing that is keeping me from deleting all those pages (other than all the late nights compiling resources) is that while Common Sense Media’s lessons are incredible, Ribble’s 9 exist as a means of educating teachers and parents explicitly in each of the 9 Elements. And this might be the most important part for any parent or teacher to learn. Blindly following a lesson, without understanding the larger underpinning reason why this content needs to be taught won’t provide the authentic learning and modeling of said behaviours that children are going to be looking for in their teachers/parents.

So, in repurposing the 9, they will serve less as a means of actually instructing in the classroom, as Common Sense Media clearly has that nailed down, but more of a resource for teachers/parents to better understand the different facets of Digital Citizenship, so that they can have a better overall understanding of what is out there.

Ok, back to it!



3 thoughts on “Common Sense Education’s Scope & Sequence vs. Ribble’s 9 Elements

  1. I really agree with your thought process on this, Jeremy! (And feel your pain. Struggling with some of my own organizational stuff too!)

    I also think teaching students to think of ideas as interlocking is really important. It was a lesson I learned explicitly in my first semester of university and something we still find many university students struggle with. That you can take something from one area (a subject, a specific course, an application) and then apply it somewhere else. And so often we just assume students know how to do that. I think using Ribble’s 9 as a starting point and then making the overlap explicit is great. Actually, I ran into the same thing although it was just a small part of my project:

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