Why schools should be welcoming digital citizenship
As the curriculum focus takes hold there is a perfect storm brewing in the sphere of Digital Citizenship. It’s not a storm to be feared but one to be welcomed as a refreshing break from a long lasting drought! Following years of calls for action 2019 could be the year of Digital Citizenship.
The calls can be traced back to 2008 and the Byron review, through Ofsted’s Inspecting E-Safety report in 2014 to the Children’s Commissioner’s Growing Up Digital report in January 2017. However, there has never previously been a set of factors that have drawn such focus to the topic including coherent guidance, legislation and opportunity as there is in 2019.
How can UKCCIS help plan effectively?
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 recently introduced the (UKCCIS) Education for a Connected World framework to many schools despite its publication in January 2018. This gives a fantastic, coherent set of ‘can do’ statements covering the digital spectrum for children and young people from 4-18. Add into the mix the development of Online Relationships as a strand of the Relationships (and Sex) Education, which will be statutory from September 2020 and you have both the pressures and means to develop an effective digital citizenship curriculum.
What about internet safety and age-appropriate design code?
But it doesn’t end there. In addition to the curriculum influences we are also likely to see two further developments that may have a significant impact. The DCMS is likely to publish the Internet Safety white paper in the coming weeks and the ICO is due to report back on the age-appropriate design code. Although neither are designed to directly impact schools they will both have an effect that is likely to reach the school curriculum.
The long-overdue Internet Safety white paper will most definitely call for greater life-long education recognizing both the benefits and risks of online usage. Whilst it is highly unlikely to tread on the toes of the DfE (and the two teams of policy advisors work closely) it will have a ripple effect on schools. Parents will be a focus on educating children. But how can any society properly educate parents without using schools as a route to reach them. Watch this, and other spaces to see how this one unfolds.
The age-appropriate design code is another key development to which schools will need to respond. Remember 12 months ago and the impact of GDPR? How could we forget? Well the age-appropriate design code will unleash another round of school activity ensuring that the apps and sites that children use will meet the standards set around children’s privacy. Although it may not have the same impact as the curriculum developments on what children need to learn but it may well impact on what resources teachers use to teach. It is likely to impact the array of free resources and apps that schools use to support learning and it will certainly take the GDPR statements and position a stage further.
Digital literacy should be at the heart of your curriculum
These developments are to be welcomed. A curriculum that ensures (digital) citizenship is at its heart is one designed for the twenty-first century and is long overdue.
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