From Personalized Learning: September is Digital Citizenship Month
You may have heard that September is Digital Citizenship Month. This is not a national observance, but rather a time SPPS has set aside to recognize the importance of responsibility, respect and safety in our 1:1 digital environment. The theme for the month is Digital Footprints Last Forever, and the observance follows the Board of Education’s adoption of a new Use of Social Media Policy.
This year during Opening Week, all teachers, administrators and coaches in the district were required to take a digital citizenship course. We developed the course in response to staff questions about how to support student use of iPad technology now available in every SPPS classroom.
In fact, after less than two years of district-wide iPad deployment, the low rate of repairs and replacements shows that the great majority of SPPS students want to take care of their iPads. Digital Citizenship Month takes the next step, giving our kids the tools they need to make smart choices as they access apps and websites. It also prepares them to be accountable for those choices.
Many resources are available for SPPS students, staff, and parents regarding online safety, digital citizenship, and cyberbulllying. Suggested lessons, home activities, classroom posters, and other information can be found on the Digital Citizenship page of the Personalized Learning website.
We have also created an online Digital Citizenship Manual. We recognized that with iPads in the hands of every student, SPPS needed a go-to resource. The Manual sets out common understandings and expectations for what we mean by “digital citizenship.”
Responses to the course and Manual have been positive. One staff member wrote, “I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on these things that will definitely come up later in the year. It is better to be proactive and have an idea of where to go for help when we need it.”
Parents, too, are expressing appreciation for the tools we are providing their children as they explore the worlds available to them online. Our office has answered many questions from families, especially about data privacy: “What do people know about my kids? What do you allow the kids in your class to put online? What do others have access to?”
Digital literacy, like any form of literacy, involves learning a new vocabulary. We are grateful for the support we have received, including a grant from AT&T, to create the resources that are helping SPPS staff and students navigate the digital landscape.
Assistant Director, Office of Teaching and Learning