Here at DCD and around the country, students and teachers celebrated Digital Citizenship Week on October 16th to 20th! In honor of Digital Citizenship Week, we spent the month of October discussing and considering how we can be better digital citizens and build positive digital footprints.

My favorite part of Digital Citizenship Week was visiting classrooms in each grade to help students and teachers begin building digital portfolios. Our digital portfolios are places online where we are documenting, reflecting, and publishing our “moments of pride.” For our youngest students, this may simply mean loading moments of pride and kindness into a Google Drive folder that is shared with teachers and parents. In grades three through five, students begin taking ownership over their portfolios by decorating Google Slides and reflecting upon their portfolio entries. By middle school, students get creative, designing their own personal Google Slides or Sites to display their positive footprints. The end result is a collection of pride and the development of positive digital citizenship habits.

In these conversations around the school, we also asked some big questions:
What does it mean to be a digital citizen? At our Assembly about digital citizenship, one of our students defined citizenship as “belonging to something bigger than ourselves.” I absolutely love that definition, because it allows us to think about how we can use technology to belong to something bigger. How can we use technology to be true and kind to others? How can we use technology to help other people?

How can we be safe when we are using digital tools? We practice two very important rules around technology: 1) Our devices are learning tools, and 2) Online = Offline. Both of these rules remind us that we want to practice safe and positive behavior in all aspects of our lives.

How can we build positive digital footprints? Even at the youngest age, we can help students collect moments of pride, kindness, and celebration in our digital portfolios. And there are plenty of authentic audiences for sharing our portfolios – from teachers and classmates inside the school walls, to family and friends outside the school. Developing positive habits at a young age can lead to positive digital experiences as children grow.

What does your digital footprint say about you? Conversations around identity are important as we collaborate and interact with one another in the digital world with authenticity. Do our actions on our iPads and laptops reflect our authentic selves? What do others learn about us when they look at our digital footprints?

As parents and teachers, it is so important that we model positive digital citizenship in our own lives. We can use technology with students, share our own digital footprints with our families, and engage in conversations around technology topics with one another. Not only does it provide a rare opportunity to pause and reflect, but it also empowers our children to be positive digital citizens, belonging to something bigger than ourselves.