Schools share a common desire with families to help students be healthy digital learners. The addition of technology as a learning tool provides new opportunities to strengthen the connections between schools and families and engage in conversations about digital wellness for students at home and at school.
What is Digital Wellness?
When we explore the impacts that our digital lives have on our well-being, we are monitoring our digital wellness.
How do I feel after spending time on social media?
I wonder if I can keep my personal data more secure?
Am I spending time with my friends online and in person?
Do I act online in a way that represents the real me?
Some examples of topics which can fall into the category of digital wellness include, but aren't limited to: cyberbullying, screen time, self-image and identity, violence in media, social media, online privacy and safety, healthy relationships, and digital reputations.
In schools, digital wellness is often a part of a larger Digital Citizenship curriculum.
It takes a village
Preparing students to be digital citizens and make safe, smart online choices has become a shared goal of many school staff including digital teacher librarians, counselors, school resource officers, social-emotional learning specialists, principals, and more!
Curriculum and resources have been developed to support learners of all ages (K-12) for teachers to bring to life real dilemmas and conversations with students.
Over the years, our blog has shared resources to support Digital Citizenship instruction in Jeffco for teacher and student supports:
Building Opportunities to Explore Digital Citizenship
Be Internet Awesome: Digital Citizenship and Safety from Google
Digital Citizenship: Lessons Now Available in C-CAP(now Bridge to Curriculum)
But in our outreach, we hear increasing desires to bring this learning beyond the walls of the classroom and connect to our strong partnerships in the home. So, this blog post will dive deeper into resources to support communication and conversations with families.
Host an Event
Digital Wellness events are great ways to engage the community in face-to-face conversations. Some schools hold special event nights with a focused topic invite a guest speaker from the community. Some schools combine events and share digital wellness resources at back-to-school nights, parent-teacher organization meetings, curriculum showcases, etc... I've even heard of a digital citizenship dance.
Preparing for an event has been made simpler with presentations for parents and families available from Common Sense Education. Presentations are ready-made and come with talking points for school-based facilitators. Parent packets provide hand-outs which accompany presentations and can additional resources for parent information tables or newsletters. You'll even find presentations and resources available in Spanish. Utilize the presentation in it's entirety or trim it to fit the time and needs of your event. Take a look at the research-rich presentations in support of digital drama, social media, or learning with technology. You just might find you are one step closer to hosting your very own family event at your school!
Facilitate a Conversation
Perhaps a whole-group presentation is not quite what your family event would benefit from. Do you have a smaller group of parents/guardians? Do you have an identified need that you'd like to engage in rich discussion? Then consider a facilitated conversation utilizing Conversation Cases from Common Sense Education.
Conversation cases contain curated research and questions to consider about a digital topic, family resources, and a digital dilemma (a fictitious scenario to spark conversations). For example, is media multi-tasking and distraction a shared concern of teachers and parents? There is a conversation case for that! Grounded in research and with the goal to make common structured discussions possible.
Check-out a Conversation Case and download the participant resources, facilitator tips, and even watch the short video to get a feel for how it sounds to facilitate the discussion.
Post, Share, Print
Digital wellness communication doesn't have to start with a big event. Consider, what are effective ways you already communicate with your school community? How might bite-sized digital wellness resources be shared in Friday folders, social media posts, or online newsletters? Consider running a campaign, or short concentrated bursts of resources on a topic for a set time period. For example, a post a day for a week all about screen time.
Common Sense Education has curated an educator toolbox and a family toolbox. Find your favorite article, video, or handout and then pass it along. Post it. Print it. Link it.
Ed Tech support
Are you a Jeffco school considering hosting a family event between now and May? Contact your Ed Tech specialist to learn more about available planning time, resources, and support.