Snapchat, Twitter, and Pokemon Go, oh my! Modern technology allows opportunities for children to interact with the world around them in ways never before experienced. That connection brings opportunities for young learners to gain valuable knowledge but there are also risks that go with the increased access to information. Each day children are tested with each post, search, chat, text message, file download, or profile update on the internet. The challenge for adults is to help young people use technology effectively to connect with like minds and locate the knowledge needed to be successful without falling prey to the many safety concerns lurking in cyberspace? Beginning Monday, teachers in Floyd County Schools will empower students to be safe, savvy and responsible 21st-century citizens as the week of August 22 has been designated as Digital Citizenship Week.
The Floyd County Schools Department of Instructional Technology will work with teachers to provide them with lessons that are specific to their classroom and curriculum. Teachers will be conducting classroom discussions, assignments, and exposing students to real-world examples of digital citizenship over the course of the week. The purpose of Digital Citizenship Week is to encourage conversations with students geared towards getting them to “think before you tweet” and to be safe online. Ryan White, instructional technology coordinator for Floyd County Schools, is enthusiastic about the week’s focus on online safety and citizenship. White stated, “We are very pumped about integrating more technology into the classroom, but it is essential that children in our schools understand how to us these new educational tools in a safe manner.” Floyd County Schools added four new instructional technologists positions this year specifically to help teachers expand their use of technology in the classroom increasing the need for digital citizenship lessons. White added, “The addition of these four rockstar instructional technologists allows us to support our teachers and students in innovative new ways.”
A big part of getting students ready for the world around them is to teach them how to be good citizens. “I’m excited about this learning opportunity,” commented Craig Ellison, executive director of Technology and Media Services for Floyd County Schools. “With the addition of instructional technologists to our team we are in a position to make sure our students and teachers are equipped to deal with the digital world around them.”
In addition to digital citizenship offerings in the classroom, the Nutrition Department in the school system will get in on the technology focus during the week to offer “byte” size foods on Friday in recognition of Digital Citizenship Week. Donna Carver, director of School Nutrition for Floyd County Schools said, “Anytime we can partner to reinforce the concepts being taught in the classroom we are excited to take advantage of that opportunity.”
For more information on Digital Citizenship, the Floyd County Schools recommends consulting Common Sense Media at www.commonsensemedia.org.