In an age where digital technology is an integral part of our lives, it is essential to educate our students about the responsible use of the internet and digital devices. Digital Citizenship Week at Henry Lord Community School in Fall River, Massachusetts, saw the emergence of a remarkable initiative led by the student tech team. This group of tech-savvy students took the lead in promoting awareness and understanding of digital citizenship among their peers.
The students on the tech team were determined to create a lasting impact and engage every student from kindergarten to eighth grade in a meaningful way. Their mission was to foster a sense of responsibility and empowerment, ensuring that students understood the importance of digital citizenship not just for one week in October, but for a lifetime.
The tech team organized a schoolwide spirit week, which enabled them to engage students of all age groups in a fun and relatable way. Each day of Spirit Week was dedicated to a specific theme related to digital citizenship:
Monday – School Spirit Day: Let’s celebrate the positive impact you will make on our school community by being a respectful digital citizen! Wear school swag and colors.
Tuesday – Superhero Day: Dress up as a superhero, keeping yourself and others safe online.
Wednesday – Unity Day: Wear orange to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. Stand up against bullying.
Thursday – Sports Day: Rep your favorite sport to celebrate getting outside and moving.
Friday – Mental Health Awareness Day: Wear green, the color that represents mental health awareness.
Weekend Challenge – Turn it Off: Challenge yourself to go one day without your favorite technology tool or app.
The student tech team created videos for each day’s theme, with members of the tech team explaining the topic and its relevance to digital citizenship. The videos were then shared with parents and guardians to allow them to engage with their children on the subject. We also shared family activities and tips from Common Sense Media. By involving the entire school community, the student tech team ensured that the message of digital citizenship extended beyond the school walls.
In addition to Spirit Week, the student tech team challenged middle school students to bring their Verizon Innovative Learning Schools devices to school charged every day. They were asked to complete a battery check form each morning and include a screenshot of their battery level. Those that were at 90 percent or higher during Digital Citizenship Week earned a “dress-down pass,” allowing them to wear any school-appropriate clothing rather than the school uniform.
The student tech team’s innovative approach made Digital Citizenship Week a resounding success, and the impact of their efforts was felt schoolwide. Students across all grade levels not only participated in the spirit week but also actively engaged in discussions about digital citizenship. The concept of being responsible digital citizens was no longer abstract; it became a part of their daily lives.
Parents and guardians, too, appreciated the initiative, as they gained valuable insights into the digital challenges their children might face and how to guide them in navigating the online world safely.
The Henry Lord Community School student tech team’s proactive approach to Digital Citizenship Week serves as an inspiring example of how students can take the lead in educating their peers and creating a positive digital environment. Their commitment to the cause and creative execution made a lasting impact on the entire school community. Digital Citizenship Week at Henry Lord Community School was not just a week; it was a launchpad for a culture of responsible digital citizenship that will benefit these students for years to come.