SMSD News: Strengthening digital citizenship in the Shawnee Mission School District

Students and educators across the Shawnee Mission School District are dedicating time to learn more about how they can be safe, smart, kind, and responsible when using technology.

 Digital Citizenship Week officially began across the country on October 18, 2021. Classrooms from Pre-K through 12th grade in the SMSD will hold discussions and explore ways to strengthen Digital Citizenship skills this week and beyond. 

What is Digital Citizenship? 

Digital Citizenship is defined as “the responsible use of technology to learn, create, and participate,” according to Common Sense Media and Project Zero, two curriculum offerings that focus on the concept.

 When students learn about Digital Citizenship, they are strengthening their skills in digital etiquette and ways to stay safe while using technology. This includes aspects like how to care for everyone’s privacy, the power of words and actions online, how to find balance when using digital resources, and more. This could include lessons such as (but not limited to):  

  • How to create a strong password and why this is important
  • Recognizing what cyberbullying is and what to do if you see it happening
  • News literacy and what to watch for when reading online news
  • How to balance technology use in your daily schedule

Lindsay Stephenson, coordinator of instructional technology, compared aspects of Digital Citizenship to taking basic precautions in life, like locking a car door.

“There are many basic things we do to keep our property and self safe,” Stephenson shared. “Digital Citizenship helps us all stay safe online.”

Students use technology in the classroom throughout the year, with a focus on a balanced approach to technology use. Technology in the classroom is used for multiple purposes including: collecting data that drives instruction, providing collaborative learning spaces online, empowering students to create their own products, and supporting communication between the classroom and home.

All of this supports the district’s objective that every student will have a personalized learning plan that supports them in being college and career ready, with the interpersonal skills important to life success.  

Resources to Support Students

As these conversations are happening in school, the Shawnee Mission School District has also provided resources to help continue the conversation within families at home, which can be found by clicking here. Additional resources to support families and students in the use of technology throughout the school year can be found by clicking here.