Digital Citizenship in Puyallup
Digital Citizenship in Puyallup
Posted on 09/27/2018

Imagine your child’s interaction with the internet and technology as them learning to drive a car.

A 1:1 device can act as a car for your student’s studies, allowing them to accelerate their learning at their own pace. These students needed the proper training necessary before they can independently drive.

The goal of a driver’s education course is to teach a student to be able to drive safely and independently despite the many dangers out on the road.

In that same way, students can be taught to safely navigate digital highways of information, so they can safely and independently use the internet and technology to advance in their studies.

Digital Citizenship is much like a “drivers education course” for use of digital tools. Students learn to navigate the internet in a safe and reliable manner, while also protecting themselves, their personal information, and the accuracy of their sources.

Common Sense is a nonprofit organization aimed at helping students and families thrive in a world of media and technology.

Through Common Sense lessons, students are taught to be safe, responsible and use the internet and its many resources for learning in the digital world.

Instructional Coach for Technology, Nancy Nelson said, “Because we were at the beginning of the roll out of one to one (1:1) devices we thought, we need to start integrating Digital Citizenship district wide. This isn’t just seventh graders who need this because we want all students to be responsible, safe, and aware of the choices they are making as they get more and more access to media.”

With the rollout of 1:1 devices beginning in the schools in 2017-2018 school year, many Puyallup students were provided increased access to the internet and provided increased access to the internet and digital media in general.

The Puyallup School District was the first in the State of Washington to become a Common Sense Recognized District in the 2017-2018 school year and has continued into the 2018-2019 school year.

This certification allowed the district to begin training staff to properly train students in the safe use of digital tools.

Common Sense media can be broken into eight different areas of individual focus for students:

  • Internet Safety
  • Digital Footprints and Reputation
  • Privacy and Security
  • Self-Image and Identity
  • Relationships and Communication
  • Information Literacy
  • Cyberbullying and drama
  • Creative Credit and Copyright

Each area of focus has been designed into lesson plans. Librarians and technology teachers, both in the elementary and the secondary level, will teach the courses throughout the year.

For example, one of the topics that is taught through the digital citizenship curriculum is digital footprints and reputation.

 In these lessons, students are asked to examine the digital footprints of two candidates for a position.

Through this exercise in perspective taking, students consider how outsiders might judge their digital footprints.

Internet Safety focuses on what themes are appropriate for various age groups and how to use technology in a way that fosters a positive and safe experience.

Privacy and Security focuses on teaching students how websites gather and use their information. Students can learn to avoid giving away sensitive information when browsing the web.

Digital Footprint focuses on how information and media will last online for all time, even if deleted. Students learn how future colleges and employers can use your student’s digital footprint to screen for applicants.

Self-Image and Identity focuses on how the media is portraying your student and their friends. It also focuses on how to be aware of the influences from various media. As well as how to maintain who you are even with influence from the media.

Information Literacy focuses on finding reliable sources for research online. Students can learn to cross check references and check sources for accuracy.

Creative Credit and Copyright focuses on finding and using media when appropriate to do so. It also focuses on how to cite sources and give credit when credit is due.

Relationships and Communication focuses on how technology can impact interactions with one another. Students are shown that although technology can be useful, it can also create confusion.

Cyberbullying and Digital Drama focuses on students respecting one another in communications, especially online. Students can learn what to do when they see or hear of bullying and drama online.

Tech Squad with 1:1 device

This digital citizenship training was possible because of a partnership with the Niagara Bottling Company and Common Sense Media.

Niagara Bottling Company has a local plant located in Frederickson, WA and reached out to the Puyallup School District in 2016 about a grant to support the implementation of  Common Sense Resources.

In addition to the training of staff and students, Common Sense Media offers many resources for families including website ratings, tv show ratings, digital tool ratings and more. Common Sense also has resources for families to have their own discussions at about what is and is not appropriate to them and what responsible use of technology looks like inside and out of school.

Anyone can access Common Sense Media and its resources by signing up on the Common Sense website.