By Smarty Guest Blogger Adele Paynter, Head of Lower School, Charlotte Country Day School
Last year, Country Day became the first school in the area to be “Common Sense Certified,” which means we met all the requirements for teaching our students how to thoughtfully, safely, and independently navigate their digital lives. Our reasons for incorporating digital citizenship were simple but compelling:
– Students live in a world in which technology and social media play a huge role and we want them to be more mindful and more skilled users of technology than we are!
– Technology is an important tool for our students’ learning and productivity; we have a 1:1 iPad program in 3rd grade and up.
– While our children are very comfortable with technology, they are not necessarily skilled or savvy users.
– Digital spaces/communities require different—and usually more sophisticated—social and relational skill sets to navigate them.
– Students need to learn, practice, and mess up with these skills in a more controlled environment long before they are expected to use them independently.
– Our children have more access to more information/messages/images than any other generation, and we need to help them develop a critical lens.
The good news is that our children really crave learning and mentoring on all these fronts. And the good/terrible news is that WE are their models :). They don’t do as we say, but they definitely emulate the ways in which we engage with technology.
I don’t know about you, but that research definitely gave me pause; I have a bit of work to do to become “role model” worthy; in fact, just the other day, I had to throw my phone in the backseat so I wouldn’t text and drive on my trip back from Atlanta (which incidentally caused a host of other issues, as I’m directionally challenged, and my phone is my GPS!)…
SO, that’s all to say—we have time to get this right, but we ought to start thinking about it now. So, as a starter, let’s commit to:
– Put our phones away a little more (especially during dinner, etc.) and seek to find a bit more balance.
– Use our own social media (texts, e-mails, Facebook) kindly and thoughtfully…no oversharing!
– Problem solve challenges in person (using e-mail/messaging, etc. is the cause of most digital drama for kids… and, errrrr, for us!)
– Model patience in a world of instant gratification (slight issue for me!)
– Be a critical consumer of news, media, and advertisements (hey-the election is a great place to start!)
– And… also for me, NOT text while driving
You in for this challenge?