May 2, 2016
by Karin Hallett
At the heart of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School library curriculum are lessons designed to strengthen modern literacy skills for accessing information, negotiating mass media, and building digital literacy. We also focus on responsibilities of using digital media by developing the concept of “digital citizenship.” Modern literacy skills and digital citizenship matter. They are a requirement for success in almost any field. Nearly every job today requires some form of technology use, from email to research. We depend on technology for communication, from announcements to organizing events to inquiring about an order status or health products. Technology has made these things easier and more efficient. But it is not about the technology–it is about using technology thoughtfully and responsibly.
Martin J. Gottlieb Day School students are immersed in and shaped by a world dominated by technology. Various devices in our homes and pockets bring to our fingertips a world of opportunity and one fraught with thresholds that sometimes dubious–or even dangerous. But this is the new normal. As parents, we seek to protect our children yet we do know that eventually our children will have to negotiate the online world.
Here at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School library, we socialize our students to these new media and integrate technology to extend and enhance teaching and learning. Each student has a personal blogfolio showcasing their learning across subject areas. Students use lots of different apps and websites to create new products. These efforts to integrate technology directly into our curricula as objects of learning in their own right, as well as tools for learning about other subjects, requires balance and an ethic of continuous improvement. Technology integration has engaged and motivated student learning as well as improved student fluency with the various tech tools.
To that end, we use Common Sense Media’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. Lessons are aligned to the ISTE, AASL, and ELA Common Core Standards and focus on Internet safety, privacy and security, online communication, cyberbullying, digital footprint and reputation, and copyright/attribution. The goals are to enable students to think critically, to behave safely, and to participate ethically and responsibly.
But we are not just learning about staying safe online and the trail we leave every time we enter the digital world. Instead, we focus on empowering students to do great things online: to access the world’s information, to communicate and collaborate with other students, and to create new products and share them. Call it guided immersion into the digital world — helping students balance safety on the one hand and purpose and opportunities on the other.
Note: Common Sense Media is a not-for-profit organization committed to providing parents and teachers with timely, up-to-date advice about mobile apps, video games, movies, and reviews of other media. There are even suggestions for what to watch and talk about together as a family. Use the link below to explore more information about digital citizenship and become an ally for your teens as they navigate an ever-changing digital world.