Civil discourse and netiquette
A curriculum for critical thinking and web research
Skill level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced This plan is part of a
critical thinking and web
School level: Middle school (11–13 years old)
High school (14–18 years old)
developed by the International
Society for Technology in Education
Prerequisite skills needed (ISTE) and Microsoft.
Students need to have basic computer use skills, such as
the ability to launch Internet Explorer®, type into
search boxes, and navigate the Internet. Students need to have basic email skills, as well.
Description of plan
Teachers instruct students on the proper rules of web manners, otherwise known as
netiquette, to help ensure that students follow appropriate guidelines when using the
Internet. Teachers develop a project within their content area aligned to their state/district
standards that asks students to conduct their research using the Bing™ search engine.
Rationale for lesson
Students use the web as a primary means of communication with family, friends, and
individuals they meet on the Internet. However, many do not have knowledge of or follow
the rules of etiquette for appropriate communication on the web.
Essential concepts / questions
Essential question for teachers:
♦ How can I ensure that students know and apply the rules of proper netiquette?
Essential question for students:
♦ What is netiquette, and how do I apply these rules to my use of the Internet?
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)
♦ 4A: Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and
technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate
documentation of sources.
♦ 3B: Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from
a variety of sources and media.
♦ Teachers should familiarize themselves with the Bing (http://www.bing.com)
♦ Teachers should work with the lab coordinator or media specialist to determine lab
logistics, level of access per student, and seating arrangements.
♦ Teachers should familiarize themselves with the rules of netiquette and how those
rules apply to the project on which students are working.
♦ Teachers must consider student arrangement in labs and how students will be held
accountable to apply the rules of netiquette.
♦ Teachers should review and model rules of netiquette with students and provide
opportunities for students to apply the rules.
Student activities / guidance
Students write a definition of netiquette. Prior to sharing the actual definition with the
students, teachers may have students brainstorm what they think the word means. Begin
with the question: “What is etiquette?” as a warm-up exercise.
Students individually write responses to the following questions:
♦ How would you define appropriate “online behavior”?
♦ How would you define inappropriate “online behavior”?
Student activities / guidance (continued)
After students have individually recorded their responses, place them in groups of three to
five and have them compare their responses with those of the others in their group. As a
group, students create a chart of appropriate and inappropriate online behavior. Students
may use a T-chart organizer for this purpose.
Next, students use the site “Netiquette 101 for new netizens”
(http://www.microsoft.com/hk/athome/security/online/netiquette.mspx) to individually
complete “Civil discourse - Student worksheet: What is netiquette?”
After students have completed “Civil discourse - Student worksheet: What is netiquette?”,
they return to their original small groups to compare their responses. Students review the
chart created at the beginning of class to make additions/revisions. As a class, students use
the group charts to create a class chart, titled “Rules of netiquette.” Consider posting this
chart to the school wiki or blog or even to the class website.
♦ Class chart: “Rules of netiquette”
♦ Students’ responses on “Civil discourse - Student worksheet: What is netiquette?”
Related resources and tutorials
♦ Bing User Guide: How to use Bing
♦ Digital citizenship and creative content: A complete curriculum
♦ Netiquette 101 for new netizens
♦ See the “Plagiarism” lesson plans for ideas and guidelines.
♦ See the “Citing web sources” lesson plans for ideas and guidelines.