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Lenoir County Public Schools: About LCPS middle schools New program expands K-12 digital citizenship instruction

New program expands K-12 digital citizenship instruction

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LCPS students are encouraged to be smart users of the internet and practice the principals of good digital citizenship in a campaign devised by the district's digital learning specialists and made a part of the school day by administrators and classroom teachers.

"Our students are using iPads every day and we want to make sure they are making good choices when it comes to internet safety," said Katy Wyborny, the digital learning specialist at Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School. "We have a responsibility to help guide their use of the internet and instill in them the basic principles of acceptable online behavior."

Each of the district's 17 schools employs a digital learning specialist who works with teachers in developing lessons geared to iPads, serves as a resource on technical issues and leads weekly professional development sessions for school faculty. This new effort undertaken by the DLS's represents "a heightened focus on digital citizenship," Wyborny said.

The program, built around graphics and lesson plans developed by Common Sense Media, premieres a new theme each month, beginning this month and running through April. Tools include posters for display and posting on school Facebook pages, information that is incorporated into morning announcements and grade-specific lesson plans.

"These are great digital citizenship lessons," Wyborny said. "All the teachers are using student workbooks that go with them."

This month's lessons, for example, stress the virtues of privacy and security and "going places safely" online. Morning announcements are focusing on the do's and don'ts of creating strong passwords and schools are involving students in a schoolwide contest to create a digital citizenship pledge. October's focus shifts to cyberbullying and "digital drama."

LCPS has emphasized good digital citizenship since it began distributing iPads to all K-12 students two years ago, but this program represents a significant expansion from the five lessons that comprised the formal aspect of the previous instruction.

"We felt like we needed to keep it in the forefront because students are using the iPads all year," Wyborny said.