Technology is part of their Biology!

Digital Citizenship for Digital Natives

Parents, how many of you turn to your children to help you navigate through your digital day?  We ask for their help with our smart phones, our “apps,” a site on the Internet, a computer issue, and the list goes on.  While many of us are slowly getting better with our technical abilities, it is easy to see the divide when comparing the younger generation’s skills in the digital world.  These students, our Digital Natives, are inherently programmed differently due to the technology that surrounds them and permeates their daily routine.  So, while they may help us navigate our mobile devices, it is our duty to help them navigate their world of technology in a safe and responsible manner.

We are living in exciting times – we are witnessing a transformation in how society attains information, communicates and works together.  Integrating technology into our students’ learning is imperative if they are to be prepared for their digital world.  We’re proud that we are able to use technology and allow their mobile devices in our classrooms, as we know this will be another tool in our learning toolbox.  Students in grades two through twelve will be allowed to bring their digital devices to school this year.   Makes me wish I had gone to school during this era!

To use their digital devices, though, students and parents will need to read and respond to the new Digital Citizenship agreement form.  This is an important step in outlining the expectations we have for the new policy.  Here are some key points:

  • Students may bring personal devices that can access the guest-filtered wireless internet, as available, for educational purposes.
  • Students may use their devices in designated instructional areas.
  • Students may use their devices in designated non-instructional areas (i.e. cafeteria before school), as determined by the campus.
  • There are consequences for violations of the Digital Citizenship agreement (access may be restricted or revoked).
  • District computers and Wi-Fi have filtering software that blocks access to obscene sites, as defined by the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act.

Digital Citizenship training sessions will be held for our elementary and secondary students.  It’s important that everyone understand what it means to be a good digital citizen – how to make appropriate choices when going online and how to be polite in our responses and comments.

As with anything new, there will be ups and down as we work through our Digital Citizenship policy and its effects on our classrooms and our expectations of our students.  As 21st Century learners, they will need to be problem solvers, collaborators and analytical thinkers.  They will also need to be ethical and take accountability for their work.  By emphasizing discovery learning using technology that is at our students’ fingertips, our District is empowering our digital natives to step into their future today.

Follow me on Twitter @CIOatFBISD.

Robert Calvert
Chief Information Officer