Digital Citizenship Overview
In the 2012-2013 school year, all Elk Grove Unified School District school sites, from elementary through high school, taught digital citizenship. The scope and sequence of the program was designed to meet the newest CIPA E-Rate requirements. But more importantly, the roll out of a district wide program represents a shared commitment and crucial step to ensuring that all Elk Grove Unified School District students understand the importance of practicing good citizenship in all the communities to which they belong, both face-to-face and online.
As part of the process of transitioning the district wide teaching of digital citizenship from a vision to a reality, each site crafted a plan that best fit their school schedule, culture and community. In addition to developing a site-based implementation plan, at the close of the school year, principals submitted a form verifying that digital citizenship had been taught at their sites.
Throughout the school year, students, teachers, and administrators explored and challenged issues of cyberbullying awareness and response, digital footprints, intellectual property, and protecting online privacy. As the year progressed, it became increasingly clear that, like any subject area, when students are given multiple opportunities to put their digital citizenship skills into practice, they become active agents of change, committed to making a difference during and beyond the school day.
In the fall, Superintendent Steven Ladd’s Student Advisory Committee stepped up to confront cyberbullying by initiating and leading the year-long #UnfollowBullying campaign. Across our secondary sites, students promoted a variety of activities from anti-bullying pledge signings to video and school TV productions. Word and recognition of this student-led campaign soon spread beyond the district. By December, the #UnfollowBullying campaign had been nominated for and won an international award: the 2012 Edublog Award for Best Educational Hashtag.
The impact of the Elk Grove Unified School District digital citizenship initiative continued to spread beyond individual schools. Students from several sites walked the red carpet at the 2013 Sacramento Educational Video Awards as the proud producers of award-winning digital citizenship PSAs and documentaries. And a team of 6th grade video producers swept a global competition for digital citizenship PSAs.
In May, Elk Grove students from kindergarten to high school actively participated in California’s first-ever Digital Citizenship Month by joining a national conversation on what it means to cross the line from bystander to upstander. In a culminating event for Digital Citizenship Month, students from Valley High School accepted an invitation from the National Writing Project’s Radio Show to speak about the importance of students understanding and practicing both their rights and their responsibilities as citizens and digital citizens.
As a district, we recognize that digital citizenship, in addition to being an e-Rate requirement, is also the foundation for 21st century skills needed to flourish in a global economy.