Digital Citizenship FAQ

Q: Does the school board filter the internet?

A: Yes, to a reasonable extent. Our firewall filters by category, and those categories are maintained by the vendor of our network gear. We only block pornography/adult content.

Q: How effective is the filtering?

A: For blatant adult content the filtering is very effective, but far from perfect. There are very few tools these days that can completely filter out unsavory content, and even in those cases users find their ways around them. Filtering will not stop a student’s participation in social media.

Q: If filtering is ineffective is there anything else the division does to protect students?

A: Our approach to all things technological is to teach appropriate use and behavior. The internet and connected devices are now everywhere, and even if we could we wouldn’t want to control them. Instead, we help prepare our students for the real world by educating them on how to successfully and safely navigate life with technology.

Q: If technology is such a threat, why not simply ban it from schools?

A: Again, our focus is on teaching students how to behave appropriately in a world that has technology ingrained within. When the students are out of the school system they need to have the understanding and tools to make the right choices, both with technology and elsewhere.

Q: What is the approach of the division to this “digital world” education?

A: Currently teachers cover topics in their classrooms. However, the division has a committee consisting of teachers and senior administration to address issues such as digital citizenship. We are developing a division-wide approach to teaching all students how to be good digital citizens, and this training will be embedded within the curriculum at each school and grade level.

Q: Can you give me more details on this “digital citizenry” schooling?

A: Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, each month we will be promoting a consistent theme throughout the division. The themes are drawn from well respected resources such as MediaSmarts and Common Sense Media, and teachers are equipped with lesson plans to engage their students.

Q: What can I do as a parent to help teach my kids these lessons?

A: Common Sense Media is as great a resource for parents as it is for teachers. Under the Parent Concerns tab in the top menu you will find a number of relevant topics to help you help your kids stay safe in the digital world. Also, MediaSmarts has released a section on their website that addresses potential areas of concern for parents.