Ask a student for a keyboard shortcut or a hack to Pokemon Go, and they’ll answer in a heartbeat. But ask them how they can determine whether online news is real or fake, and you may get a blank stare. That’s why district leaders are emphasizing the teaching of digital citizenship. They recognize that students need to learn specific skills that will help them take advantage of technology as a learning tool while avoiding the pitfalls, like falling for fake information.
To help our students think critically online, schools in our district have adopted the Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship curriculum. It provides lessons that are age appropriate and address important topics such as privacy and security, digital footprints, cyberbullying, information literacy and more.
Four schools – Stuart Mesa, North Terrace, Santa Margarita and Chavez – have fully embraced the digital citizenship curriculum and recently earned their Common Sense Media School Certifications.
— NorthTerraceTigers (@OsideTigers) November 30, 2016
Ms. Babbette Christian-Salmon, 3rd grade teacher at McAuliffe Elementary, likes how the lessons tie into school values and connect with the parent community. “The tip sheets for parents are a great reference for them. My students could really connect and relate to the idea of Rings of Responsibility in the first lesson. This tied in nicely to our school rules of the three Bs: Be Responsible, Be Respectful and Be safe. It also ties into our Oceanside 8 Keys.”
Currently over half of OUSD schools are implementing the digital citizenship curriculum and more certifications and celebrations will be reported throughout the year. The goal is for the entire district to become Common Sense Media certified by this spring.
Ms. Heather Love-Fleck, EdTech TOSA at Stuart Mesa, believes that teaching students about digital citizenship is absolutely critical. “In this day and age, it is not a matter of ‘if’ students will need these skills, but rather a matter of ‘when.’ The Common Sense Education curriculum provides the strategies for students to safely navigate the digital world. I was pleasantly surprised by the rich student conversations that were inspired by the digital citizenship topics and the tools that the lessons provided for the students.”
Don’t be surprised if you hear students talking about how to avoid click bait or the best way to maintain their positive digital footprint. After all, they’re becoming responsible digital citizens.