A revolution in classroomsThe digital age has brought about a revolution in the classrooms. No longer is it the norm to learn from textbooks and chalkboards, rather, students are digitally connecting to resources – and other students – from around the world via a litany of means: search engines, video, telecommunications, social media and more.
It has opened up a world of learning and opportunity that did not exist a mere decade ago.
However, while the digital world offers amazing opportunities for kids, there are also multiple challenges.
The pervasiveness of mobile devices mean that it is becoming harder to track activities by children and the resources they are using. The use of digital and social media has highlighted bullying, personal security and privacy concerns. More recently, attention has been drawn to tech addiction and antisocialism.
Parents are certainly aware of the issues. According to Pew Research, 72 percent of parents with teenage children are concerned about how their child interacts online. In the same survey, 69 percent of parents are concerned with how students manage their online reputation and how that might affect their future careers. The problem is that parents may not know what to do about it.
This is where the Digital Citizenship program at PVSchools steps in.
What is Digital Citizenship?
The Digital Citizenship program commenced at PVSchools in May 2014. The aim of the program is to raise awareness by parents, students and teachers of online responsibilities, how to learn and have fun online safely, and of the consequences that can occur when online responsibilities are not fully understood.
It works by providing students in-class tuition on subjects as varied as internet safety, cyberbullying, digital footprints and reputation, through to copyright issues, digital law and plagiarism.
In addition, there is an array of materials for parents so that they are not only conversive on the issues, but can discuss digital citizenship with their children in the home.
The Digital Citizenship program at PVSchools, which is still in the pilot stage, is taught to 900 fifth to eighth grade students across the district, with planned expansion of the program to all fifth and eighth-graders in 2015/16.
Teenage online usage statistics*
- 95% of teens use the internet
- 74% of teens aged 12-17 access the internet on their mobile device
- 81% use social media
- 77% of teachers say the internet and digital search tools have a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work.
How do students learn about Digital Citizenship?
The in-class activities are STEM-based virtual simulations of real-life scenarios. Activities come in the form of games, apps, quizzes videos and more and are designed to be a fun, engaging, yet challenging learning experience. PVSchools participates with organizations such as EverFi, the NHL/Arizona Coyotes Future Goals program and Common Sense to bring the curriculum to the classroom.