Digital Citizenship in the Middle School

Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology but not sure what to do. The issue is more than what the users do not know but what is considered appropriate technology usage. [1]

Technology is a major part of everyone’s life and with the Middle School Chromebook program (and previously the MacBook program) technology is a also a major part of the classroom at Hebron Academy. With this is mind we have recently started a digital citizenship curriculum in the Middle School, with classes held once per semester during advisories. The main aim of this new program is to get students thinking about how and why they use technology, as well as how it overlaps with all aspects of their everyday lives.

For the first introductory class, which took place last week, students watched a quick video to start them thinking about what kinds of things make up digital citizenship, and then completed a number of practical tasks to work out just how many internet-connected devices they used on a frequent basis and the sites, apps and services they access – with the end goal being meaningful classroom discussion on whether they thought they were actually digital citizens and what that meant to them.

The slideshow the faculty advisors worked though can be seen below:

And future topics we are going to be exploring in these sessions include:

  • Digital footprint, social media awareness, screen time
  • Permission to share photos and videos of others
  • Appropriate use of technology tools in class and study hall
  • Cyberbullying, phishing, viruses
  • Fake news, appropriate online content
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