A new program created by the San Diego County Office of
Education (SDCOE) will help students throughout the county learn to stay safe, civil,
and productive online.
The Digital Citizenship program focuses on school site and
district office leaders, teaching them how to roll out the curriculum in their
schools. They, in turn will train teachers about the curriculum that will be
worked into classroom lessons.
The professional-learning program has been built over the
last six months in partnership with Common Sense Media to teach students how to
make safe, smart, and ethical decisions in the digital world.
“We’re working with Common Sense Media to integrate their
high-quality digital citizenship resources into an interactive, online class
that will train district leaders to bring the curriculum into their schools and
classrooms,” said Craig Leach, a technology integration specialist with SDCOE.
Common Sense Media is a nonprofit group dedicated to helping
kids thrive in a world of media and technology. It strives to empower parents,
teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice,
and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as
a positive force in all kids’ lives. Common Sense Media’s curriculum is
currently being used in over 50,000 schools nationwide.
A group of about 20 participants is expected to take part in
the first six-week course in March. From this small pilot program, SDCOE
leaders are hoping to expand the program across the county and beyond. The
course covers topics such as cyberbullying, online safety, and privacy. At the
end of the training, participants will go back to their school districts with a
plan for implementing the curriculum there.
“People are really excited about encouraging online safety
with their students and teaching staff,” Leach said.
It’s important for parents and schools to work together to
teach children about online safety, even from a young age, Leach said. The
curriculum is adaptable for students in kindergarten through 12th
The key is to teach students about the dangers as well as
the opportunities online, Leach said.
“We were really mindful of taking a balanced approach to
this,” he said.