In our ever-evolving world, kids have more access to technology than ever before. Because so many tasks, both in and out of school, involve technology and the internet, it is imperative that we help children navigate the onslaught of online content and digital tools which can be daunting for even the most tech-savvy adults. Often when parents or educators talk about introducing the digital world to young kids we are focused solely on safety – protecting children from the dangers of cyber-bullying, invasion of privacy, and even exploitation.
At SJCS we asked ourselves “…how we can help students feel excited about technology, empowered to become more independent users, and still be safe”? To achieve this, SJCS aims to pro-actively instill in our students a digital citizenship mindset. This mindset includes educating, respecting, and protecting ourselves and others when using technology, beginning at the kindergarten level.
Through direct instruction of the Digital Citizenship: Common Sense Education curriculum and hands-on learning, our students are given the tools to be responsible, smart, and safe when online and using technology. Beyond staying safe online, Common Sense Education says, “…being a good digital citizen is more than knowing your way around the web. It’s about connecting and collaborating in ways you didn’t even know were possible.”
At SJCS, teaching digital citizenship to our students, helps create a positive school culture both online and in the ‘real world,’ which reflects our Jewish values of being an inclusive and supportive learning community. Technology is changing daily, and it is our responsibility as educators and parents to make sure our children grow and change right along with it.
Beth Schustek, SJCS 5th Grade General Education Teacher