Common Sense Education: Exciting Updates Coming this Fall!

Last month, our ed tech team attended the NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education) Conference, where several sessions were offered around digital citizenship topics. As our digital world continues to evolve, Common Sense Education has done due diligence in ensuring that their curriculum and resources keep up with these important shifts.

At NCCE, I attended two sessions focused on digital citizenship. Both sessions discussed digital citizenship as not a tool or strategy – but as a stance through which to approach technology integration across all grade levels and subject areas.

In fact, one of the sessions argued that digital citizenship is actually far more multifaceted than many people realize. In fact, one NCCE presenter argued that teaching students to be digital citizens means teaching three things: being a digital agent (means they make their world a better place); digital interactor (communicates with empathy and authenticity); digital self (actively manage digital identity and property). It isn’t simply being safe and responsible online – it’s a more proactive way of teaching students how to engage online.

There are tremendous overlaps between teaching digital citizenship and the social and emotional well-being of students. This opens up opportunities to ask questions around who should be teaching digital citizenship, and the possibilities for making this a more collaborative focus between educators (teachers, coaches, counselors) and the community – not simply falling on the teacher or school librarian.

How Common Sense Education is Responding

Exciting new updates to Common Sense Education include an update to the K-2 curriculum this fall, which will be more song and character based. The units and lessons designed for grades 9-12 will also be getting an update in fall of 2019. Grades 3-8 have already been updated and can be found here.

What Will the Updates Include?

Both of these new curriculum updates will have a focus on media balance and well-being. There will be lessons at every grade level, and for every topic. One example of this curricular update is a lesson (for 7th grade) around “red flag feelings” which helps students recognize the way that social media makes them feel, identify the root cause of those emotions, and act in ways that are healthy. This is intended to help push students toward being digital learners, a more empowering and proactive stance than being “reactive” to social media. It also moves beyond a discussion of cyberbullying to recognize the more nuanced ways that social media is impacting the lives of students.

Common Sense has a multifaceted audience – students, teachers, and parents. Part of these new initiatives will involve educating parents on what quality “tech time” looks like, and how to effectively use it for instructional purposes.


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