Technology provides many rich and engaging educational resources and experiences for our children. Both inside and outside of school, children are learning to do many everyday tasks in a digital format or on a digital platform. The need to teach children “digital citizenship”—the ability to do these things in an effective, responsible and safe manner—is recognized by our school and district. The Oregon Library Standards and the standards developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) call for students to learn to use technology for tasks such as gathering information, creating new knowledge, collaborating with others, communicating new understandings, and producing original works. Digital citizenship is an important component of technology teaching and learning and encompasses a wide range of skills required for effective, responsible and safe technology use.
Students will learn that a good digital citizen is someone who chooses to act in a safe, respectful and responsible way online. In order to do this, students must be able to demonstrate skills such as the following:
- Understand similarities and differences between responsibilities in offline and online communities
- Refine online searches for better results
- Distinguish between information that is safe to share online and that which is not
- Articulate when it is acceptable to use other people’s work and know how to write a citation
- Develop strategies for safely managing unwanted messages
At Boones Ferry Primary School we are addressing digital citizenship through specific lessons in the library. A resource that our district technology planning and advisory committee is using to guide the development of our lesson activities is Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/curriculum. Over the course of the school year, students at each grade level will participate in lessons geared toward digital citizenship learning that is relevant for students in that grade. Along with specific library lessons on key topics, teachers also teach and reinforce appropriate digital citizenship during classroom activities. This includes teaching all students, as a general rule, to “turn off the screen and get an adult right away” if they come across inappropriate digital content on any device, whether at school or home. We know that as parents, you are doing similar things to help guide your children at home.
Digital Citizenship is increasingly more important for our students as they may have the knowledge necessary to access and utilize a myriad of technology tools and resources, but lack the understanding of how to participate in and utilize these in a safe and appropriate manner. We appreciate your support as we work together to ensure that students learn to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape in a productive, safe, and healthy manner.