Is your school talking about digital citizenship?

Your school should be discussing and helping you and your child understand the challenges of the contemporary world.

Welcome back to school! Over this past school year, many parents and schools have reached me out to start a discussion about how to teach children to use the internet safely. So, I will start this school year bringing this conversation back:We can’t effectively parent or mentor children from a place of fear or denial. We have to face that we cannot change that screens are part of our children’s lives, so we have to teach them the foundation of a thoughtful and healthy use of this tool. As the new school year begins, I invite you to think: our goal is to teach children to be digital citizens. 

Digital citizenship is about confident and positive engagement with digital technology. A digital citizen is a person with the skills and knowledge to effectively use digital technologies to participate in society, communicate with others, and create and consume digital content.

Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner

I invite you to enlighten yourself about the pressure of being a child in a digital world, many of these links will help you create conversation starters:

Teachers (and parents) can also navigate through these fantastic resources at Common Sense Media:

I believe the path of education is to making visible the underlying issues, establishing a critical thinking conversation about them, and modeling. To help your students and children use better the internet, explicitly talk about how you use it to communicate with others, and what strategies you have to get trustful information or learn something. 

Your school should be discussing and helping you and your child understand the challenges of the contemporary world. Let me know how I can help.

Wishing you all a great school year!

Now homework is a battle for schools too!

Researchers are urging schools and educators to rethink homework, parents and students should be part of this conversation.

What is an efficient homework?

Research data shows that the benefit of homework to increase students’ achievement is stronger starting only at 7th grade.

Looking at this data it is urgent to discuss why and how teachers should assign homework due to how much time, efforts, and emotional stress are children and parents spending on it every day. Homework can help students develop study skills, but it needs to be thoughtfully assigned for it. It is not just a drill that the teacher can pull out from the internet or textbook.

An efficient homework invite learners access working memory, and ask them to create their own narratives about what they have learned at school.

It is crucial that district, schools, and educators discuss what research has shown to be efficient or not. We already know that before a particular grade, homework is inefficient to improve students’ grades, and sometimes harm achievement. However, it is not about banning homework, but discussing how much homework is appropriate for each grade level, and (what I believe is most important) to rethink what kind of homework should be assigned.

Watch this video from Edutopiaand invite your teacher to watch it. Bring it to your school and discuss it:

Check the recommendations about homework at the National Educational Association

Bring the “influencers” to the table!

Today our children are exposed to “influencers” (people followed by thousands or millions on social media like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and many others). Sometimes it is challenging for parents to understand the values that these influencers stand for, or how figuring it out if he or she is a good role model or someone to run from it! My advice for parents is first to go online, check whom your child is following, and then discuss it. However, when having this conversation it is imperative to listen first, then problematize, after that reaffirm your family’s values. Let your child explicitly explain to you if following this person is a good choice… this is critical thinking!

Critical thinking is essential for digital citizenship, a crucial topic in the 21st-century. Many schools have adopted digital citizenship curriculum to help learners navigate safely in online spaces. Ask your school about it. Ask me about it. I can help!