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District 196 tech campaign focuses on digital citizenship and well-being

With parent concerns rising around students’ screen time and social media use, Superintendent Mary Kreger asked leaders of the district’s Community Education, Teaching and Learning, and Communications departments to develop a yearlong campaign of opportunities for students and families to get information and have discussions about digital citizenship and well-being.

More than ever, said Teaching and Learning Specialist Mark Aronson, families are searching for ways to best support their students. “They are asking questions about screen time, social media, and digital safety,” he added. “And while there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, the Digital Citizenship and Well-Being campaign is designed to offer students, teachers and families opportunities to engage in conversation and share helpful strategies to approach the topic.”

Director of Teaching and Learning Steve Troen said it’s an ongoing goal of the district’s one-to-one iPad environment to develop critical consumers of information and positive contributors in the digital world. He said this year’s campaign will provide a renewed focus and give schools and families ideas on ways to integrate common expectations and behaviors around the use of digital tools.

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“These expectations and protocols were in place prior to COVID, but the challenges presented by the pandemic forced schools to shift focus quickly to ensure all students had digital devices and access to the internet,” Troen said. All students in kindergarten through high school now have personal iPads and access to Chromebooks, laptops and computer labs as supplemental educational tools during the school day.

“With the return to full in-person learning last school year, teachers and administrators saw the need to reset and refocus students on how to use technology appropriately,” Troen added.

To develop the campaign, teams of teachers, administrators, media specialists, and school counselors from each level came together to create a proactive plan that refines common expectations around the use of digital tools. Best practices in digital citizenship and technology expectations will be integrated into students’ regular classroom instruction at every grade. Each school will also host a family tech night this fall and will periodically share digital well-being tips and information.

Later this school year, Community Education will host three districtwide events (more information will be shared with families later this year):

  • “What Science Tells Us About Parenting in the Digital Age” workshop with Erin Walsh of Spark and Stitch Institute, Saturday, Nov. 12, 9:30- 11 a.m., Eastview High School. Register for the workshop >
     
  • Screening of movie, “Like,” followed by panel discussion, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 6 p.m., Rosemount High School.
     
  • Braver Angels workshop, “Skills for Social Media,” spring 2023