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New Prague, MN 56071

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Digital Citizenship

Dear Families,

 

This letter is to inform you of an exciting opportunity for your child this year as he/she enters third grade.  Our third graders will have regular, daily access to Chromebooks the districts 1 to 1 technology Powerful Learning Initiative. Some of you may already have experience with our Powerful Learning initiative if you have middle and high school students. A detailed breakdown of the initiative can be found on our district’s website, as well as parent and student resources and FAQs. I will include a link to the site at the end of this letter. We are excited to offer this opportunity as we feel that it will increase student learning and achievement, increase student engagement in high levels of learning, and increase 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. These new opportunities also come with a great deal of responsibility.  As we have done in the past, our staff will work with your children to provide a safe and productive digital learning environment.  Specifically, in my classroom, I will focus on the following 4 areas as we move towards digital citizenship. I encourage you to discuss these areas with your child and use the resources at the end of this letter to further your discussions and practices at home.

 

Basic Internet Safety is the cornerstone of any digital learning environment. I will cover this topic with my students before we receive our chromebooks and periodically throughout the school year as it is worth repeating.  

  • Children should never give out any private information online. This includes their full name, address, date of birth, or phone number.

  • Any passwords they use should only be shared with family and other trusted adults (teachers) and should never be given out to friends or classmates.

  • Downloading things on the computer should only be down with an adult’s permission, this can help protect the computer from viruses.

  • Students should never chat, email, or message with someone they don’t know personally. I’ll relate this to the “stranger danger” we talk about when discussing off line safety.

  • Finally, students should tell an adult immediately if something they see or receive online makes them feel sad, uncomfortable or unsafe.

 

Email or Gmail: The school district has set up an email account for all New Prague students as part of the digital learning initiative.  We don’t do much official emailing in 3rd grade, but as I’ve learned in the past, students get curious and try it out own their own if we don’t cover it in my classroom.  It’s better to teach them about what it is and the proper way to use it before they investigate on their own.

  • It’s important to note that with the school created email students may only send and receive emails from other people within the school email, which means other students, teachers, and staff.

  • Only send and reply to emails for people you know personally.

  • Remember that the school district and teachers can see what you send through email.

  • Don’t share your email account password with anyone other than your parents and other trusted adults.

  • Always use good netiquette: be polite, think before you send, and if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, you shouldn’t send it in an email.

 

Blogging: In my classroom we use blogs to connect with each other as well as other classrooms across the world. We begin our blogging with an extensive lesson about blogs and how to use them properly. The blogs we use in my classroom are not open to the public so I have the power to limit the people students are interacting with while blogging.  Tips for being safe on blogs include:

  • Remember all of the the basic internet safety rules when blogging. (esp. Never reveal personal information)

  • Only access blogs introduced and used by Mrs. Orth and always do so in the presence of an adult. Not all blogs are safe just because we use some blogs at school.

  • Tell an adult if anything you see or receive while blogging makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • Information on blogs can be unreliable, so be sure to back up information with other resources.

Using reliable resources and researching on the internet is an important skill for students as we research and access a lot of information for projects and lessons. Not all websites are created equally and it’s important for students to be aware of what makes a website reliable.   It’s also important for students to understand how to use and cite other people’s work properly.

  • Use the reliable resource checklist when researching

  • Request permission to use copyrighted or otherwise protected materials.

  • Properly cite the use of websites, books, media, etc.

  • Do not use pirated software or distribute music or media in a manner that violates license agreements.

 

It’s an exciting time to be in education. The tools and information we have access to will change students’ engagement and achievement.  They have opportunities far beyond anything we had when we were their age.  This new world means greater responsibility and together we can prepare our children to grow up and become successful 21st century digital citizens. I’ve included several links below to information I’ve used to create this letter as well as additional resources for you to use when discussing digital citizenship with your child.

This is a link to the district’s webpage with information about the Powerful Learning Initiative.

http://goo.gl/eUmPlL

This is a link to a family media agreement from Common Sense Media. It provides great information about basic internet safety as well as other areas related to digital citizenship.

https://goo.gl/oqWMf7

This is a link to Google’s Safety Center Family Safety Basics Newsletter.

https://goo.gl/aUz2Kc

This is a link to the National Children’s Advocacy Centers Internet Safety Tips for Kids and Teens.

http://goo.gl/xvD4o7

This is an excellent link to a Google Document by Dave Eisenmann that is filled with information and additional links to multiple cybersafety and digital citizenship resources.

https://goo.gl/O2YqSl

Thank you for your help and support,

Christine Orth