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Southpointe’s Goals for Digital Citizenship in the Middle Years
Garima Goswami

A few weeks ago, I attended a guest lecture on The Gift of Failure by teacher and author, Ms. Jessica Lahey. Ms. Lahey spoke about the importance of allowing students the opportunities to make mistakes. She went on to explain that rather than jumping in as parents to complete tasks for children, we need to let them experience discomfort through something she called ‘desirable difficulties’. Desirable difficulties are opportunities for developing important skills that may require a lot of patience and practice.

A few weeks ago, I attended a guest lecture on The Gift of Failure by teacher and author, Ms. Jessica Lahey. Ms. Lahey spoke about the importance of allowing students the opportunities to make mistakes. She went on to explain that rather than jumping in as parents to complete tasks for children, we need to let them experience discomfort through something she called ‘desirable difficulties’. Desirable difficulties are opportunities for developing important skills that may require a lot of patience and practice.

This year in the Middle School, our goals regarding Digital Citizenship are similar. At Southpointe Academy, we want to educate students and then give them the autonomy to make choices about the topics they are passionate about. Building a whole-community approach to Digital Citizenship is possible when parents, teachers, and students discuss issues that matter most to one another. In our classes this year, your child will be encouraged to voice opinions, ideas, and beliefs about Digital Citizenship topics that affect their day-to-day lives.

When we approach Digital Citizenship from a positive perspective, more children feel that their voice means something and they are inclined to make smarter choices about their use of technology. Our School believes that by providing opportunities for growth and failure in a safe, caring and inclusive environment, we can learn to make more informed choices in the future. Students approach Digital Citizenship from a participatory approach, preparing them to be active and informed citizens of our global world.

Our goal this year in the Middle School is to continue the conversation of what it means to be a digital citizen and linking our digital life with our core values and the IB Learner Profile. Through ongoing, authentic, and meaningful conversations, students will be given the voice and choice to make connections, share ideas, and become active members of our school community. Some of our guiding units for this year in our digital literacy curriculum include:

  • Media Balance & Well-Being
  • Privacy & Security
  • Digital Footprints & Identity
  • Relationships & Communication
  • Cyberbullying, Digital Drama & Hate Speech
  • News & Media Literacy

Just as Ms. Lahey mentioned, when we give students choice in decision making, we are strengthening lifelong skills. From Monday, October 15 to Friday, October 19 our school will be participating in Digital Citizenship week. During advisory, students will be reflecting on their digital selves, digital communities, and global society. Together through reflection we are working to create a collaborative art piece. We encourage families to continue discussions at home. Common Sense Media is a great resource for parents looking for more information geared towards families.

– Cristina Leo, Educational Technology Teacher