Middle School Class Focuses on Being Responsible Digital Citizens 

As part of the technology class Kingswood Oxford Upper Prep students have discussed what it means to be a good digital citizen. Led by the Middle School faculty team of Matthew Wiggin, Katherine Nicholson and Ann Sciglimpaglia, the group has been using Google’s Be Internet Awesome resources as a backbone for the class.
Be Internet Awesome features five different pillars or modules including:

  • Be Internet Smart: being careful about what information you share or don’t share online
  • Be Internet Alert: how to spot a potential scam and sharpen critical thinking skills
  • Be Internet Strong: best practices for strong, secure passwords and online accounts
  • Be Internet Kind: encouraging students to spread positivity online and report online bullying
  • Be Internet Brave: encouraging students to talk to a trusted adult if they see something concerning or questionable online.
In addition to the resources the Be Internet Awesome offers,  an online game, Interland, is integrated with the website with the goal of making learning about digital safety and citizenship fun. “The nice thing is that it is very interactive,” Wiggin said. “There are options for some solo and some partner/small groups, and it culminates in lots of good conversation.” 

One of the most recent pillars students focused on was how it is cool to be kind. Teachers gave a homework assignment where the students had to take a negative comment on a board (text or social media post) and develop two different responses. The first response was how they could comment in a nice way. The second was how to make the intended target of the comment feel better. “They had some really good ideas,” Wiggin said. The second part of the curriculum covered using the internet wisely: what should be private and what the legal age to start using social media.

The class focused on how to write an email, how to google, how to pass in an assignment, how to create the docs and the slideshows. The students also reviewed terms like cyberbullying, click bait, scam, phishing, hacker. “A big piece of this is the community of being online, the risks, and the ability to be good,”Nicholson said. “As team teachers we have been wanting to put in more components of digital citizenship because we feel like it is really important that they are good community citizens online as well as here in person.”

According to a 2015 poll, an estimated 20% 8-12 year olds use social media with or without their parents ok. The same study showed that those kids spending an average of six hours a day on media inlcuding TV, video, games and social media. 
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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