Tools.

  • Learn about the tools (computers, smartphones, and tablets) and applications (software, apps, and programs) that run on them.
  • Help others learn these skills as well. There are many ways that someone can communicate with others using technology. Do we communicate with our students in the same way as we do with their parents (most likely not)?
  • Find ways to keep up with technology changes. The belief that students are smarter with technology is not necessarily true, but they are more willing to pick up how to use the tools from others. What is popular today may not be tomorrow.

Safety.

  • By protecting ourselves we also can help to keep others safe as well. We are all a part of the system that makes up the online world and if we cause harm or infect others because we do not have virus or malware protection we hurt the system.
  • Point out to others when they are about to make wrong choices. Help them to find a better way so that we all can benefit from technology. So much information is now online we need to be aware of what we say and also what others might say about us or in our name. It is important to be aware of your own digital tattoo—or those permanent marks we leave behind in social media, e-mail, or other posts.
  • Remember, technology has to do with balance, knowing how much and when to use it. Students are being encouraged to use the technology in schools and homes at an early age. Show them that there needs to be time to go out and be with others. Technology has provided opportunities to become more efficient; let’s use this time to get out and be with others as well.

Dr. Mike Ribble is director of technology for a district in Kansas. He is co-chair of ISTE’s Digital Citizenship Professional Learning Network (PLN).