How do you take a whole-community approach to digital citizenship in your school? How do you involve students, teachers, staff, and families? This week, Common Sense Media hosted an engaging webinar with Susan Bearden and Brad Meyer, two educators from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Florida. Susan is the school’s director of information technology and hosts the monthly Twitter chat #digcit (digital citizenship). Brad is the 21st-century learning specialist and is also a Digital Citizenship Certified Educator. The webinar was hosted on our Digital Citizenship Community on edWeb, a free network for accessing lively webinars, discussion forums, and lots of resources.
In this webinar, Brad and Susan share how they built a positive school culture around technology, ultimately becoming a Digital Citizenship Certified School. Susan began by explaining Holy Trinity’s whole-community approach, which involves educating and engaging students, faculty, staff, and parents. Holy Trinity acknowledges that the faculty and staff need just as much training as the students do. They also recognize that parents didn’t grow up with the technology available today, and need to be brought into the conversation in order to be good role models.
Brad focuses his portion of the webinar on how to best foster a positive relationship with kids in regard to technology. He engages his students in digital citizenship by having them create and share a digital media project at the beginning of every year. He believes that students need to verbalize what they’re learning to reinforce the lesson. Brad also has his students share their projects with parents to help spark and foster a positive conversation about technology and media at home. Media is a constant part of kids’ lives. Brad believes kids need to know that the adults in their lives are aware of what media exist and know how kids are using it. Brad and Susan stress the importance of a positive, two-sided relationship with kids, which is only possible if kids trust adults and respect adults’ knowledge about media.
Susan centers her portion of the webinar on the best ways for educators to digitize their classrooms without fear and anxiety. She emphasizes the importance of making school a safe space for both teachers and students to test the waters. Students need room to practice their tech skills and make mistakes while they are young, when the consequences aren’t as big. Teachers can turn student mistakes into learning opportunities to further teach digital citizenship. In order for teachers to be successful in teaching digital citizenship, they need to feel empowered and safe within their community to try and perhaps fail using new edtech products or methods of tech integration. To close, Brad and Susan discuss the importance of making digital citizenship an integral part of school culture in order to successfully prepare all students.
If you missed the live presentation, you can access it in the edWeb Digital Citizenship community. Watch the recording and take the quiz in order to receive a CE certificate!
This article was featured on Common Sense Media on August 4 2014 and was written by Rachel Dow.
About Rachel Dow
Rachel is a Junior at Stanford University, majoring in History with a concentration in American History and minoring in Creative Writing. She is a summer 2014 intern for Common Sense Media’s Education Team. Her internship is focusing on teacher professional development and education marketing.