When you think about it, our students have always lived with technology. (I still remember a telephone that hung on the kitchen wall and phone calls that the whole family could hear). But for our kids, it's the only world they've ever seen or known. However, it's a life with passwords. An online presence and personality. It includes sorting through what is true and what is fake. Spending time behind a screen or on a device. I believe it is critical that we have ongoing conversations with them to help them define boundaries for their safety. There's alot they know, but there's alot they don't know. We cannot be paranoid. But on the other hand, we need to give them tools and help them determine how to effectively conduct their school and personal business in a way that is safe and helpful to them.
At Hopewell, we have told students that just going to 'Google" to find an answer is not acceptable. It wastes their time and is often not accurate or appropriate information During our Hopewell Tech 'bootcamp' sessions, we've placed three expectations on our students to give them a framework for being a safe digital citizen.
1. Be Responsible. The includes being a focused and on task learner - following the teacher's instructions at all times with technology.
2. Be Respectful. This means that their posts and replies to others are kind and helpful. They will respect others' privacy as well and seek to be positive. They will cite information used and give credit for photos and research.
3. Do the 'Right Thing'. As a digital citizen, students need to be honest. They need to be private with their passwords. When using equipment, being careful and following all protocol is expected.
Last, but not least, we are encouraging students to talk with their families about how and when to use technology. I remind students that their parents taught them how to cross the street. (They giggle.) But, it's true. It is also important that we help teach our students to safely use technology. It's their world. Let's keep them safe!