This post was originally published as McNick Promotes Ditgital Citizenship via The Catholic Beat.
McNicholas High School (Mt. Washington/Cincinnati) held its first Digital Citizenship Day Monday. It was the first school in the region to devote a day to the perils — and promises — of life in the digital age.
Organized by Director of Educational Technology Katie Ritter, “DigCit Day” meant special presentations, speakers, and discussions of computer use in every class, all day.
Ritter said the idea came to her through many discussions with students, parents, teachers, and sessions from the International Society for Technology in Education conference she attended last year.
“We needed to do something BIG to make a statement that we, as a school, think digital citizenship is very important,” Ritter says. “As a one-to-one Tablet PC school, it is our responsibility to teach our students how to navigate the online world and be responsible global citizens, which now includes their digital life.
“In the same way we wouldn’t hand the keys to a teenager to begin driving without proper training, we shouldn’t hand them these devices without proper guidance.”
A focus of the day was the “digital tattoo” each person creates through posts and other online communications, giving an impression to others of who they are and how they think and behave.
The day began with a presentation by Cincinnati Bell Technology Solution’s Steve Smith about the ramifications of creating a “negative online presence” through social media posts. Throughout the day, speakers addressed topics such as cyberbullying, sexting, legal and job-related ramifications of posts and more. English classes discussed email etiquette, fine arts classes discussed copyright and fair use law, science classes discussed “e-waste” and responsible disposal of digital devices, and heath and PE classes discussed the mental and physical effects of too much or inappropriate computer use (obesity from too much online gaming, depression from cyberbullying).
Religion classes were not left out of the DigCit conversation. Topics addressed included what digital communications say about a person’s spiritual and moral life, the temptations of appropriate sexual conduct online with photos and snapchat, and craving online affirmation.
But the opportunities for fun and friendship through digital communications weren’t left out. Students received temporary tattoos with the message “I’M a responsible DIGITAL CITIZEN” (the day’s theme) and tweeted messages and photos about the event all day long.
A followup event for parents Monday evening let them know what their teens learned and Ritter, who writes a technology blog for McNick, also created a resource page on digital communication. Thanks to the positive side of digital technology, students anywhere can use it to find out about copyright law, privacy, and other topics at her Digital Citizenship Resources page.
Photos courtesy Archbishop McNicholas High School. To see photos taken throughout the day and posted on Twitter, search #digcit and #MCNDCD.