The internet is a near constant part in most of our lives. From asking our phones for restaurants recommendations to typing an email at work, to checking our watch for new text messages, the internet is everywhere. School districts are getting in the game by introducing these devices to classrooms. Just a few years ago, phones and tablets were banned. Now, they are welcomed with open arms as a part of the curriculum.
It’s perfect for today’s younger population. 90 percent of teenagers engage in online use and over 75 percent own a cell phone. Teens use the internet more than any other medium to gather and share information and connect with others.
Since young people are continuously online, it’s important for schools and parents to consider the implications of their online activities. Simply showing a student how to use a device without telling them why they are using it or how to use it to communicate effectively is doing a disservice to young people.
Children can be bullied, victimized, and scammed on the internet. It’s important for students and parents to assess and fully understand the risks involved with putting a device in the hands of a young person.
Starting Tech Programs with Online Civility
Many schools using one-to-one or bring-your-own-device programs are incorporating digital citizenship messages into their lesson plans.
Microsoft is now urging stakeholders to take the Digital Civility Challenge, which embraces the principles of acting with empathy and compassion, appreciating cultural differences and diverse perspectives, pausing before replying, and seeking help for yourself, and others, after incidents of inappropriate online behavior.
Students also can learn to be better online citizens by starting with ISTE’s Standards for Students. Educators can find best practices from Microsoft, in which the tech giant urges schools to teach digital citizenship, promote social and emotional learning, and emphasize civility online and offline.
Look Out for Bad Behavior
There are plenty of monitoring technologies to keep an eye on students’ online behavior in the classroom. Some, like Lenovo’s LanSchool, can show the teacher what is on each student’s screen at any given time.
Software is now being enhanced to be a one-stop shop for reporting all alerts. Being able to customize blocked words and websites, screenshots taken for analysis and follow up, and recording keystrokes can all help with students who are struggling.
Good Online Citizens
The baseline of any technology should be communication. Parents and students should talk to students about civil online behavior, and if they have any issues to talk to them about it. A good tech program doesn’t start with opening a box and revealing a new device, it starts with a conversation.