Students are creating an increasing amount of digital drama on social media, email, mobile apps and online collaboration tools. These stories were among the topics discussed during last week’s Gaggle webcast, “Making Online Student Safety a Priority.”
Diana Graber, co-founder of Cyberwise, an online resource for adults seeking to help kids be safe and productive online, started the webcast with some statistics and information about her middle school digital citizenship media literacy program called Cyber Civics. “It all starts with education,” she said. “It needs to be embedded in your school culture and not just a one-day event.”
Cyber Civics prepares young people with the skills to be ethical, competent and empowered digital citizens. Diana believes that making digital citizenship a part of your curriculum is more important than ever, especially when you consider that children between the ages of 8-18 consume about 11 hours of media per day.
Common Core State Standards and standards established by the American Library Association and ISTE now require that digital literacy be part of a child’s education. While social and behavioral skills aren’t the three Rs, Diana believes that they’re becoming increasingly important.
The next part of the webcast featured stories from both Luann Hughes, Director of Technology at Temple Independent School District, and Gaggle’s Kathy Boehle.
Kathy discussed how instances of cyberbullying, drug use, self-harm and more have been prevented at schools using Gaggle Safety Management, which reviews content 24/7 on school-issued technology such as Google Apps for Education and Office 365. “We want to protect students as they move through K-12 and lower the risk of them making a mistake that could follow them forever,” she said. “We want to guide them to be better digital citizens.”
Throughout Kathy’s presentation, webcast attendees were shown word clouds consisting of shocking terms that Gaggle discovers.
Luann then shared how Temple ISD uses technology to protect its students and ended the webinar with real stories about how Gaggle Safety Management helped prevent a drug deal, an inappropriate relationship and other potential student situations. “Many of what occurs happens after school hours,” she said. “A lot of the activity we find happens inside Google Drive. We see kids who not only need help but also reach out for help for others.”
You can watch the “Making Online Student Safety a Priority” webcast on-demand by scrolling to the section “Archived Webcasts (2015).”