District 211 Student Digital Democracy Committee Creates Action Plans for Future

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Groups of students from each high school and District 211 academies discussed ways to remind their peers of the importance of responsible use of technology. Photo courtesy Lynn Swanson

Last year, several District 211 students from each high school served on a Digital Democracy Committee, which created a Student Declaration for Acceptable Use to generate awareness and develop expectations for best practices and behavior while using technology both in and outside of the classroom.

The groups were back in action and met on Dec. 16 to discuss how the guidelines have worked in the schools since implementation at the beginning of the year, as well as create an action plan for the future.

“We had a productive morning with student representatives from each school here to discuss and then generate solutions to the digital challenges this generation faces as they seamlessly use technology throughout their day,” said Lynn Swanson, director of Educational Technology at District 211. “It is essential that we provide a platform that will empower our students to take a lead role in helping to design and develop guidelines and strategies to ingrain digital democracy into the culture at each building.”

Since guidelines were introduced to the entire District at the beginning of the school year, students and staff have noticed a difference in the way students use technology and report issues that may arise. Groups of students from each high school and District 211 academies discussed ways to remind their peers of the importance of responsible use of technology. The committee identified five areas to focus on for the rest of the year. These included:

o   Teaching students to identify what should be reported based on the guidelines;

o   Educate students about how to report issues after they have identified them, such as who to talk to;

o   Ingrain Digital Democracy into school culture;

o   Outreach to District 15 and District 54 feeder schools to teach incoming freshmen the importance of acceptable digital use;

o   And, connecting with teachers, staff, and parents.

Students at each building will come up with an action plan and goal to implement before spring break 2015. The committee hopes the school-wide, student-led initiatives will help their peers continue with positive behavior while using technology.