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Digital Citizenship and Social-Emotional Skills Are Inseparable

Recently Deborah Heitner wrote a fascinating article for the NAIS blog regarding curriculum methods and education technology.
Here is a snippet of Heitner’s article:

“Every school has its own unique culture. It is made up of all the ways in which students relate to one another and their teachers. In today’s world, digital devices in particular (and technology in general) have a huge effect on these relationships. For better or worse, communication is different now, and it has the potential to make a big impact on your school’s culture.

When I collaborate with schools, we often identify areas where a gap exists between what administrators, teachers, and parents believe students need to know, and what students actually know. The assumption persists that because kids are fluent in technology, we cannot teach them much about it. Watching a student navigate Snapchat or build environments in Minecraft is impressive. They are fast, facile, and fluid.
Digital citizenship is not about operating the devices, however. It’s about people using technology in a thoughtful, positive way that shows they are aware of its impact on others. So my aim is always to go deeper than what the device or the app can do — and to focus instead on its impact. I ask key questions:

* What connections can it forge?
* What issues can arise?
* How is it different — or the same — as regular, face-to-face interactions?

In my experience, school leaders often wish there was a digital citizenship curriculum that could prevent some of the difficult interpersonal challenges arising in a connected, always-on environment. That’s why I’m a strong believer in mentorship around the principles of digital citizenship. This core set of immutable values acts as a rudder for making decisions in the digital world.”

To read the full article, click here.


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