SAN FRANCISCO – On March 5, Common Sense Media, the national nonprofit dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology, will partner with educators and advocates across Texas for the first statewide Digital Citizenship Day, an initiative to teach students to be responsible and safe in the digital world.
Throughout the school day tomorrow, participating K-12 educators will use Common Sense Media's free digital literacy and citizenship resources to engage their students in lessons on thinking critically, behaving safely, and acting responsibly online.
Co-sponsored by Common Sense Media and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), the initiative is also supported by the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE), the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA), the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).
"As educators, we know that the use of technology in the classroom can provide engaging and meaningful learning," said Jeff Turner, president of TASA and superintendent of Coppell Independent School District. "We also know that being constantly connected has both benefits and pitfalls. Texas Digital Citizenship Day reminds us that it is vitally important to teach our students how to safely and responsibly navigate our online world."
"Public schools have evolved into engaging and fun digital learning environments that allow students to easily share stories, messages, videos, and photos," said ATPE State President Deann Lee. "However, students need to be mindful of the information they choose to share online on and off campus because it's permanent."
In today's digital world, kids are tested with each post, search, chat, text message, file download, and profile update. A recent Common Sense Media study revealed that 90 percent of teachers believe digital citizenship skills are critically important for their students, but 55 percent of teachers say their students' knowledge about how to engage safely and responsibly with technology is fair to poor.
"Texas Digital Citizenship Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the need for digital literacy and citizenship education in every school in Texas and across the country," said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. "Educators know that learning to be a good digital citizen is central to our children's success in the 21st century. We applaud the many stakeholders who have come together for this initiative with the goal of preparing kids to succeed with technology."
Thanks to the collaboration between principals and technology directors in the Katy Independent School District, for example, more than 64,000 students will participate in Digital Citizenship Day through hands-on activities and student-created videos in class. They'll also take home information to parents to help them better understand the digital world their kids are living in.
"We think empowering our students to behave responsibly and safely online is one of the most important lessons we can teach them as they grow up in our digital world," said Katy ISD's Kris Mitzner, principal at Winborn Elementary, where all 784 students will take part in a 45-minute lesson on the basics of digital citizenship.
Digital Citizenship Day is a continuation of Texas' demonstrated commitment to digital literacy and citizenship education. So far more than 2,696 schools and more than 3,746 educators across the state are registered to work with Common Sense Media's free K-12 digital literacy and citizenship resources.
To view the free online lesson plans, activities, and parent handouts in English and Spanish, go to www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/texas.
About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to: www.commonsensemedia.org.