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Digital Citizenship: How Lamad Helps Students Develop a Healthy Relationship With Technology

Updated: Jun 1


Digital natives, like the middle school student in the picture, do homework on computers.

Middle schoolers are digital natives – see how Lamad is encouraging responsible digital citizenship and promoting healthy relationships with online media


Key takeaways:

  • Today’s middle schoolers are digital natives – what does that mean?

  • The three pillars of digital citizenship: respect, education, protection

  • Managing your digital footprint: T.H.I.N.K.

  • How Lamad is decreasing the digital divide by giving every student a free laptop

  • Preparing for the future


Today’s middle schoolers are digital natives who were born never knowing a time before the Internet. They grew up confidently using mobile devices. Now more than ever, educators should teach young adults to be effective and capable digital citizens to prepare them for life in the 21st century. There are three key pillars of digital citizenship that digital native students need to know: respect, education, and protection.


The dedicated team at Lamad Academy Charter School delivers technology-driven lessons which encourage responsible digital learning from a young age. Our exciting curriculum focuses on STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Digital citizenship helps students develop a healthy relationship with digital media. See how we are helping our students.


Respect


Good digital citizens show respect when interacting online. Lamad’s holistic educational model and teaching methodology foster a positive, respectful, and inclusive learning environment across our in-class and remote learning platforms. Respect in the digital world is about using etiquette/ good manners when interacting with others (no cyberbullying), understanding the privilege of having access to resources and technology, and following requirements when online.

  • Online etiquette

Appropriate etiquette is an important habit to adopt when interacting with others online (and in real life). At Lamad, our focus is on empathy and fostering curiosity and collaboration among our students. We encourage our students to be respectful and inclusive to others online. Students who practice good online etiquette will leave behind a positive digital footprint that will serve them well in the future.

  • Access

All assignments at Lamad are paperless and students are given their own laptops to encourage digital literacy and enable access to remote learning. Students without access to educational resources like computers and internet access can easily get left behind. We address the digital divide by helping student’s families set up internet services and providing funds so that all students have access to technology.

  • Law

Students must follow the principles in the Student Handbook when interacting with their peers online. It contains guidance on this aspect of digital citizenship by discouraging inappropriate online behavior such as plagiarism and copyright violations, such as illegal or unauthorized downloads, hacking another user’s account, and deleting browser histories while engaged in remote or in-class learning.


Education


The second element of digital citizenship is education and it involves understanding how to use a technology-integrated learning platform and developing a healthy relationship with all forms of digital media. Digital literacy is when students learn to find, analyze, and reference educational materials online. Lamad encourages our students to use critical thinking when reading material online and to only choose information that is evidence-based and from a reliable source.


Our learning community focuses on building digital literacy and encouraging students to question what they read online. We also instruct them to be mindful in all their digital communications, including email, instant messaging, and live chat sessions in the remote classroom.


Lamad incorporates STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) into its curriculum and has a smaller, more dynamic learning environment where students can apply their digital citizenship skills and learn to be responsible learners and critical thinkers.


Protection (of themselves and others)


The third pillar of digital citizenship is protection. A smart digital citizen will respect the rights of others online while protecting their own privacy/security and health by following sensible practices.


  • Digital health and wellness: manage your screen time

Students at Lamad are taught to be aware of the signs of physical and mental stress on their bodies and minds when they overuse the Internet or computers. Overuse can lead to repetitive strain injuries (wrists/hands), as well as eye strain, headaches, and depression/anxiety. Parents and students should use a time tracker to help them better manage their time spent online.


  • Manage your privacy

Our students are taught to safeguard their information and use privacy settings so that their personal information cannot be stolen. This may include using reliable virus protection software or a VPN and never sharing personal information with strangers online.

  • Interacting safely online

Students need to know what information is appropriate to share and what to do if a stranger approaches them online. At Lamad, our students know that their first course of action is to talk to their teacher or parent about any unusual online events.


Managing your digital footprint


A digital footprint is created the instant a person goes online and does anything. Middle schoolers may not realize that the digital footprint they are creating now could follow them through their lives and could affect their future career path. One rash social media post made by a naive youngster could haunt them later on.


A good general rule to teach our students to follow before they post anything online is to remember the acronym, T.H.I.N.K., which asks:

  • T - Is it True?

  • H - Is it Helpful?

  • I - Is it Inspiring?

  • N - Is it Necessary

  • K - Is it Kind


If the answer to any of these questions is no, then a good digital citizen would not post that information. Following the T.H.I.N.K. framework guarantees that you will leave a good digital footprint behind.


Middle schoolers are digital natives who have grown up with the Internet and they interpret the world around them differently from earlier generations. Students who manage their digital footprints by using the T.H.I.N.K. system are effectively protecting their future careers and reputations. Employers routinely check social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and even TikTok. Younger students need to be guided on the responsible use of social media.


Avoiding the digital divide


The digital divide describes the gap between people who have access to computers and the Internet and those who do not. It arises when marginalized groups in society are unable to get access to electronic hardware and software to function online.


There is no question that students who lack access to computers at home and are forced to use public Wi-Fi to complete homework will have a diminished experience of education and learning. All of our students are given the tools to succeed and particular attention is paid to students from potentially disadvantaged or at-risk families (facing personal and economic challenges) to ensure that they are not falling through the gaps.


Digital natives are on the path to success


One of the most significant trends in education has been the improvement in students’ access to digital information and the need for them to develop 21st-century skills in competent, digital citizenship. Lamad addresses this by continuing to deliver a high-quality, holistic, STEAM-based learning model for our students which incorporates the three key pillars of digital citizenship: respect, education, and protection.


Enroll for Fall 2021


Our teaching model focuses on inclusiveness, empathy, and fostering curiosity and collaboration in a digital world. If you are a parent looking for a school-home for your future middle schooler, enroll for the Fall 2021 semester today.

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