Digital devices such as laptops and tablets have opened up a world of learning opportunities to students, but teaching students to use these devices responsibly can be challenging.
In order to provide students with safe and meaningful online learning experiences, students need to have a strong understanding of how to be a responsible digital citizen. While many schools teach students the importance of responsible digital citizenship as part of their technology initiatives, some are extending this education to more than just students.
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Schools districts such as West Milford school district, located in New Jersey, are also including parents in its digital citizenship education.
According to a recent report by NorthJersey.com, West Milford Public Schools are hosting a parents’ event focused on digital citizenship in March. The district’s director of education, Daniel Novak, says the event will introduce parents to Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education through interactive sessions in which the parents will use these tools as if they were students. A discussion regarding the district’s focus on character education as it pertains to technology integration will also take place.
“A major focus of the things I have been talking about and trying to do in the community is to increase our focus on character education and also with our use of technology,” Novak said during a board presentation late last year. “The idea of digital citizenship is where those two things come together.”
The district felt it was vital to inform parents of the goals of its technology iniative as well as the challenges it may pose to students. Students and parents were required to sign off on an acceptable use policy detailing the use laws that protect students and well as the consequences that result if students violate these laws.
The district is working to teach students not only how to make the most of the technology to enhance their own education, but to use it responsibly as well, Novak said. What you do online stays there forever in this day and age, Novak said. It is important for students to know that if something is inappropriate in the real world it is inappropriate online as well, he added.
Ensuring districts have buy-in from both parents and students is crucial to the success of technology integrations. Involving parents in the planning process and throughout the implementation not only gives districts support but also helps to keep students on track and responsible for using technology to enhance their learning experiences.