When I last wrote about “Drawing the Line” it was more in reference to where we set the boundaries for using images in the classroom and what we teach our students about this and the rules of “Fair Use”. This time, however, I’m using the phrase again to reflect on what I’ve been reading about the role of students, technology and keeping them safe.
It seems that one very difficult question to answer is where the line is between responsibility of the school and that of the parents to manage students’ online behaviors. I read about instances of one family’s determination to eliminate texting as part of their children’s cell phone packages, hoping to improve face to face communication. I read about Avery Doninger’s story, where she was punished at school for comments she posted online about the school administration. I read about where schools have gotten involved to remove inappropriate Facebook pages.
So, as a teacher, what is our responsibility to our students?
I believe that if we are using computers, the internet, and other technology tools in the classroom, then part of our instruction must include relevant discussions about being a responsible digital citizen, observing standard netiquette practices, and considering the digital footprint you leave behind.
The following sources may be good places to start finding resources for helping your students be better prepared for living in today’s online world.
Common Sense Media’s CyberSmart Curriculum- A large collection of activities that cover a broad range of internet and computer safety topics.
Learning Lab- A website from the Virginia Department of Education that uses Garfield to teach kids about computer safety and some other topics as well. Most lessons are three part, and include a video and an activity or two.
NetSmartz Kids- From the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, this animated website has videos that help kids learn about the dangers online.
Teaching kids about their digital footprint- An article I found on KC Kids Doc website written specifically for parents, but I thought it offered some interesting perspective to helping students understand the concept of a digital footprint.
Teaching Kids to Manage their Digital Footprint- The Innovative Educator’s blog post on the topic, with resources included below the post. It also has a promotional video for Daniel Pink’s book Drive embedded, which I thought was an interesting connection to thinking about your life and how you’d want your digital footprint to reflect upon you.
What do you teach your kids about in terms of their online safety and being responsible digital citizens? Does your school regulate their online behavior out of school?
If you have any other websites that you’ve found particularly useful, I hope you’ll share them in the comments!