In an increasingly digital age, Internet safety and digital citizenship have become hot topics. They should be a part of conversations happening at school, at home, and in the community. A couple of years ago our district felt the need to focus on digital citizenship and increase awareness among school populations and the community. Over the past couple of years our program has adapted and grown to fit the needs of our stakeholders. This year, it helped us to satisfy the requirements of Utah’s House Bill 213.
Here is a quick overview of how we have things set up. We have a group of five Education Technology Specialists who act as the leads and coordinators for the program. Each school designates a teacher or library media specialist to act as their “Internet Safety Coordinator” for the year. This coordinator becomes the school digital citizenship and Internet safety expert.
These volunteers are compensated with a $200 stipend after meeting the following expectations:
● Participation in a 2-hour training at the beginning of the school year.
● Participation in monthly dissemination of Internet Safety materials to school staff.
○ Materials are provided by Internet Safety team and distributed via email and in
Canvas. Internet Safety Coordinators forward email to their faculty.
● Provide a monthly report of school interactions.
● Facilitation of two Internet Safety learning experiences for your school’s patrons during the school year (i.e. information booth at parent teacher conferences, back to school night or parent night, bulletin board accessible by the public, newsletter, or flyer sent to parents. The coordinators could also partner with PTA or SCC.
● Work with Ed Tech Specialist in each school to provide adequate instruction for each teacher and studentduring the school year. Could be done in conjunction with the district Internet Safety Week.
○ Must lead at least 1 faculty meeting.
○ Every student in the school should receive internet safety instruction at least once
during the school year.
● Meet with the Principal and submit a plan (including dates) for these requirements to be satisfied.
● Attend an SCC meeting to present the year long plan and field questions
This program has helped us lay a strong foundation and foster positive online behaviors in our students.
Another important part of this program was encouraging our Internet Safety Coordinators to become Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship certified. Many of our educators became digital citizenship certified educators and some of our schools certified as well. The requirements to certify are rigorous, and truly show the school’s dedication to educating students and the community about this important subject.
Our district also purchased the Common Sense Media Nearpod lessons. These lessons provide our teachers with pre prepared, high quality lessons in a program we already use. Our teachers have appreciated having easy access to lessons that address current issues and help them lead a digital citizenship conversation in their classrooms.
In an effort to reach out to parents and get them involved in educating students about digital citizenship, we created an Online Safety section on our website, Parent Connections. Here, we post monthly Internet safety and digital citizenship tips as well as links to helpful resources.
Technology changes continually and our students are susceptible to online dangers. This program has helped us lay a strong foundation and foster positive online behaviors in our students. We want our students to be responsible and think critically when using technology and understand that using technology is a privilege, not a right. If you have questions about our program, please feel free to contact us.