In May of 2014, the Beaverton Community passed a capital bond measure for 680 million dollars. A good portion of this money was allocated for instructional technology. Millions of these dollars have purchased computers, ipads, and significant network upgrades. This has changed the face of teaching and learning in our district and we continue to transition to a digital resources and teaching both in school and outside of school. This has provided both great opportunities along with great responsibility.
Why Should We Teach Digital Citizenship?
We need to teach students to be efficient, effective, collaborative, and ethical users of technology. Digital Citizenship refers to the concept of using technology resources appropriately, ranging from etiquette and communication skills, to copyright issues and the legal implications of one's actions. The Beaverton School District expects that all students demonstrate respect, compassion, integrity, and self-discipline in face-to-face environments as well as online and in digital environments. We are not training students for one year but are setting them up for a lifetime of success in our technology driven society.
We need to teach students to protect themselves and to protect others. Cases of cyber bullying and cruelty are increasing throughout U.S. schools and in Beaverton. We have a moral imperative to keep our children safe. The old educational philosophy of “it is out of our jurisdiction” does not apply anymore. It is also not realistic to create a system based on punishment and fear. The real key to safety is to teach students the importance of building healthy online interactions and communities and to alert others when something is not going right. Students need to own their online actions and to become partners in digital safety.
Immigrant and high poverty families often do not have a culture of digital citizenship. Teaching students helps them to teach their families. The Beaverton School District is the 3rd largest district in Oregon and has 40,806 students with a population of approximately 13,000 high school students. Of this number, about 14,890 (36.6%) are eligible for free and reduced lunch. We also have a diverse student population comprised of 51.3% students of color. The number of primary languages spoken in students’ homes is 101. In 2014, we started integrating class sets of chromebooks into a selected group of high school classrooms based on teacher application. In 2016-17, we implemented a 1 to 1 chromebook checkout for all of our high school students. In addition, we adopted the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) and are moving quickly towards providing most curriculum online. The implementation of an LMS and a chromebook for every student is fostering a significant shift in teaching and learning. Teachers are assigning much more practice and project work online, students are collaborating on projects and peer editing, and learning is happening in ways that would not have been possible just a few short years ago. Most of our students, though, have not had a formal in depth instruction on digital citizenship. Although many students get some instruction at home, many of our high poverty and immigrant families do not have the background to do this. In fact, research has shown that it is often students who are teaching their parents about technology. This landscape necessitates a formal and deliberate approach to teaching digital citizenship.
Digital Citizenship instruction is a necessary component in preparing students to engage safely with the connected world. It is also a mandatory requirement of CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) and a key facet of Future Ready schools. As of July, 2012, the latest CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) requirements (part of the Broadband Data Improvement Act, AKA Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act) mandate that districts applying for federal E-Rate funding must actually have programs in place for educating students about “appropriate online behavior including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and regarding cyberbullying awareness and response.” In other words, districts must be teaching digital citizenship. Simply including anti-bullying policies in a school handbook, for instance, will not meet the requirement. To assist schools with this mission to better educate our students and to be CIPA compliant, a Beaverton School District Digital Citizenship Resource and Awareness course has been designed to provide schools a basic understanding of digital citizenship, a review of relevant Beaverton School District forms and documents, and an overview of Common Sense Education (a comprehensive Digital Citizenship curriculum resource). Sources: CIPA, EGUSD Digital Citizenship
Why Should We Assess Digital Citizenship?
We have both the hardware and the human expertise to teach and assess digital citizenship effectively. Our current transition to proficiency based education is nearly complete and learning targets are being reported clearly on Synergy’s ParentVue. Middle and High Schools have implemented their 1 to 1 chromebook checkout and ipads and chromebooks are ubiquitous in most elementary schools. We have a dedicated team of Innovation Strategists, LITTs, and iiCadre members who are able to help infuse digital citizenship.
We have K-12 nationally developed learning targets that are vetted and age appropriate for assessing our students. These targets would be easy to integrate into our current system of assessment. We currently have detailed Common Core, AASL, and ISTE Learning targets that could easily be integrated into our system. For a detailed spreadsheet of these standards, click here.
Community Agreement and Trust
We have benefitted from the trust of the Beaverton community as they have invested heavily in school technology. We have an obligation to provide feedback to parents on how students are performing in this digital world. Voters passed this bond and support our schools in hopes that their children’s education will be improved. In doing so, they expect feedback on how their children are interfacing with this significant investment in technology. Assessing and reporting on digital citizenship keeps the trust that the community has placed in us as educators of our their students in this digital age.
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These blog posts will be compiled by the team to show our current interests, and what we are doing around the district!