Blog: Digital Citizenship

Meet the Cast of Digital Compass

Eight quirky animated characters encourage students to make wise decisions online.

Say hello to the newest members of the Common Sense family. Our new educational interactive for middle schoolers, Digital Compass, has a slew of fun and quirky animated characters that will make exploring the digital literacy and citizenship world ... well, a little more entertaining for students. Each humanoid character must navigate a unique digital dilemma reflecting real-world issues and events that shape how our students move through the digital landscape.   Grade 10 | Wallflower Digital Dilemma: Cyberbullying and Digital Drama   Rhoda is known for keeping a low profile with her petals in the books, but she's quickly thrown onto a roller coaster of digital drama when he....read more


Announcing Digital Compass

Common Sense Education’s digital literacy and citizenship resources have played an integral role in addressing the technological revolution that is happening in today’s classrooms. Having touched more than 200,000 teachers who have educated over 5 million students, this forward-thinking program addresses what it’s like to behave responsibly in the digital age.   Our suite of resources gives educators the tools to introduce reliable, research-based information to students about digital media and its impact. Fostering an organic classroom dialogue goes hand-in-hand with access to interactive activities. The conversation moves beyond the classroom by introducing parent resources and educator development opportunities ....read more


The Beginning of BYOD in New York City Schools

Devices in the Classroom, Part 5

On March 2, 2015, the New York City Department of Education lifted its school cell phone ban. Students are now allowed to bring cell phones and other personal electronic devices to school. Each school is tasked with creating its own cell phone and electronic device policy for students. This brings some challenges but also many exciting opportunities for those schools willing to explore the possibilities of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program. I recently chatted via email with Jackie Patanio, technology coach at Public School 16 in Staten Island, N.Y., and Carolyn Semet, technology specialist at Intermediate School 230 in Jackson Heights, N.Y. I wanted to hear how things were going for them and the teachers they work with one mont....read more


Digital Citizenship Lesson Flow: Helping Kids Communicate with Teachers

Devices in the Classroom, Part 4

If we want to prepare students to be college and career ready, we have a lot of bases to cover. This includes giving students the tools and experience they need in order to be successful in the real world. Teaching students how to communicate effectively and appropriately with a variety of audiences is an essential skill.  Recently, the popular communication tool Remind added a feature that lets teachers accept messages from students and their parents (previously, Remind only offered one-way messaging, from teachers to students/parents). Remind Chat has security and safety features, so teachers and stakeholders feel comfortable while opening the door to increased communication throughout the school day. One reason I'm so exci....read more


Webinar Spotlight: Fostering Meaningful Youth Dialogue in Digital Spaces

Educators want young people to participate in digital spaces in order to collaborate, communicate, share their voices, and learn from others. But digital spaces open up the potential for trivial or even uncivil and hateful exchanges. How can we encourage young people to have meaningful dialogue online?  In February, we welcomed Chris Sloan, high school teacher and PhD candidate at Michigan State University, who shared how to foster civil, meaningful, and respectful dialogue among young people in digital spaces. He discussed specific techniques such as "conversation moves" and thinking routines to support positive online dialogue, with a focus on middle and high school students. He showed examp....read more


Tips and Tricks for Managing Devices in the Classroom

Devices in the Classroom, Part 3

From seating charts to taking turns to supply bins, classroom management encompasses the rules, routines, and procedures that encourage a positive classroom culture. And now devices -- fancy, expensive devices -- are being added to the mix. With New York City's lift of its school cell phone ban, there's a renewed buzz about device management, not only at the district level, but also within individual schools and classrooms. As teachers know, setting and communicating clear expectations is half the battle! A successful approach is for schools to fold technology use into their existing missions and codes of conduct. While this landscape and the devices might be new, the behaviors around safe, responsible, and respectful use are ....read more


New Digital Citizenship Starter Kit for Remind

Devices in the Classroom, Part 2

Remind contacted us earlier this year to let us in on a secret: They had a plan in the works to add two-way "Chat" to their popular messaging tool for educators. We were thrilled to hear about the added functionality, which would continue to encourage teachers to capitalize on seamless communication with students and family members. Remind’s tool clearly illustrates how today’s technologies can take learning beyond the four-walled, brick-and-mortar buildings by encouraging a strong and ongoing home-school connection. And we all know that “just in time” and “on the go” learning is crucial for today’s 21st-century student. Remind asked if we could partner with them to reinforce safe ....read more


How Common Sense Is Helping NYC Welcome Cell Phones into Schools

Devices in the Classroom, Part 1

Today’s students are hyper-connected multitaskers who operate in the state of now. But opportunities for connected learning aren't always available at school, where students are often asked to disconnect and power down. As a result, students can feel the world of school isn't relevant to their outside lives. Fortunately, an increasing number of districts across the country recognize that for student success, we must allow them to learn with the tools they love. The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) is one of them. On March 2, 2015, they are lifting their cell phone ban and empowering schools to make instructional decisions regarding the use of personal devices for learning. Lifting the cell phone ban means ....read more


New Year, New Start: Bring Common Sense to Your Classroom

Check out the offerings from Common Sense Education, and try something new in 2015!

I remember, as a classroom teacher, always loving the end of January. With the holiday craze over, kids came back familiar and comfortable with my classroom procedures, protocols, and expectations, and we all would be ready to kick off the second half, Part 2, of the school year. We’d clean out our desks, dive into new units, and off we’d go! I know part of my New Year’s resolutions always included taking a second look at my long-term teaching plans for the winter and spring semesters. To that end, I’d like to suggest trying something new from Common Sense Education in this latter half of 2015. Over the past two years, we’ve added many new products and programs. So here’s a menu of sorts, as many of ou....read more


"Connecting Families" in Action

A West Virginia middle school gathers students, teachers, and community members for Teen Panel.

In September of 2014, Huntington Middle School (HMS), in Huntington, WV, began plans for our yearly Title I Parental Outreach programs. After speaking with Jason Jackson, West Virginia education manager for Common Sense Education, HMS chose to kick off our work for the school year with the Connecting Families Program. Connecting Families is a free year-long program from Common Sense that includes everything parent facilitators need to encourage their schools and communities to use connected technologies in ways that are both fun and safe. The program kicks off with a Teen Panel, which puts the voices and experiences of teens in your community at the center of the conversation. We scheduled ours for Nov. 13, 2014, an....read more


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