Educators consider ways to teach 'digital civility'

Dive Brief:

  • With the increased amount of students using smartphones and smart technology, the tools have become a commonplace part of education, but it is important for educators to be clear with students about the risks and concerns about smartphone usage, according to K-12 specialist David Andrade writing in EdTech.
  • Schools that have one-to-one or bring-your-own-device programs are also working to talk more about digital civility. Andrade notes that Microsoft asks its stakeholders to take a “Digital Civility Challenge,” which can activity as an example for how educators could approach their own students.
  • Schools must also incorporate technology that can help educators keep tabs on how students are using smart technology. School administrations should make a particular effort to stymie attempts at cyberbullying, which has had a strongly adverse effect since the introduction of tech to classrooms, Andrade wrote.

Dive Insight:

Educators are increasingly reporting that they are spending more time working with students on how to properly understand and contextualize the media they take in, including how to discern credible internet sources. So much of this contextualization is happening on students' smartphones; according to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, smartphone ownership has surpassed laptop ownership among adults 18-29, and that gap was only expected to grow as smartphone usage continues to increase.

One method for educators to use in in developing their approach to incorporatinng digital civility into the classroom is to view it as a form of social-emotional learning. The technology changes the lessons, but the essentials of self-awareness, kindness and collaboration are similar. Educators are considering how to integrate SEL into their classrooms, and they can do the same with digital civility. This will be all the easier if smartphone ownership reaches a saturation point among school age students.

One note of caution for educators, particularly in higher educational institutions, is to make sure a balance is struck in the attempt to police smartphone and digital usage in the attempt to weed out instances of cyberbullying. In past years, college students were not always passionate about concerns for digital privacy, but as instances of hacking increase, higher ed administrations need to be wary of too heavy a hand, lest students feel their data is not their own.

Filed Under: K12 Technology