In a meeting yesterday, two division heads, our laptop specialist, and I met to kick off an effort to build a K-12 digital citizenship curriculum. We are trying to avoid a past habit of conflating discussions of teaching good decision-making about technology with the formulation of technology policies and restrictions. We want to start this conversation from a different set of assumptions: that our students are deeply immersed in digital technologies, so we need to find out how they spend their time online, what they value there, and how that may continue without impeding their participation in the school’s academic program. Next step: a conversation with all four division heads to decide how to facilitate this conversation with our teachers.
A number of teachers find ubiquitous use of social technologies disruptive and distracting. Discussions and of new technology policies will continue, perhaps even leading to their implementation, but this should not substitute for actual teaching and learning about life in a digital age.
These discussions also represent a new threshold in the role we have been trying to create for the IT department in the academic life of the school. For the first time in recent memory, IT staff will be teaching classes (some for just a few days, others for longer), deliberately inserting ourselves into the academic life of the school in order to inspire more conversation about what we should teach and what conversations we should have with our students.
We will simultaneously teach new classes and collect data on student technology use. Onward with both efforts! Classes start in just two weeks.