Students Learn How to Leave Positive Digital Legacy
You can’t watch the nightly news without being exposed to a story revolving around social media. Unfortunately, many of the stories are about the inappropriate or misuse of social media by teenagers. Understanding the new and broadening challenges students are facing, this year Valley Christian implemented a digital citizenship component to students’ computer curriculum. “Digital Citizenship teaches online ethics to give a moral compass to everything we do online,” first-year faculty member and computer teacher Tom Croke said. “We live in an age where we all have digital footprints; digital citizenship is understanding what footprints we leave and how they impact us.”
Valley Christian is working with Common Sense Media on the curriculum for the program. “The best thing about [the curriculum], is that we are able to integrate scripture and discuss where we get our moral compass,” Croke said. “For example, we talked about hate speech and online hate crimes and then dove into the Bible to see what Scripture instructs us about speech and respecting others.”
The class looks at real-world case studies and then discusses how they should respond. A recent case study was the news of Twitter banning “unofficial” NFL videos which led to a discussion of the ethical responsibilities of posting videos. Students also study cyber bullying – identifying what it looks like and what are students’ responsibilities when confronted by it.
It’s not all negative though, the class also identifies positive digital footprints. One case study was of a student-athlete who was discovered, recruited, and offered an athletic scholarship for college because of their positive social media footprint. “Our digital footprints track with us through high school, college and our career,” Croke explained. “We can either have a positive impact or a negative impact. With this curriculum students are challenged to think about what their online legacy will be and how their actions shape it.”
For more information about topics covered in this post, contact Bryan Winfrey, Director of Communications and Student Recruitment at Valley Christian High School in Chandler, Arizona via phone at 480.705.8888 x216 or by email.