Connecticut elementary students learn about digital citizenship
Administrators at Greenwich Public Schools, in southwestern Connecticut, had been looking for a content management system that would bring all their existing online tools together for their instructional staff and 8,500 students. They also wanted to provide new online tools to their youngest students to help them develop digital literacy skills. “About two or three years ago, we realized we had many overlapping functions in learning systems, which was creating a lot of redundancies,” says Phillip Dunn, director of digital learning and technology. “After looking at several vendors, we determined that Learning.com was able to bring all of our systems together and streamline how we access and organize digital content.”
Learning.com is a web-based platform with a digital content library and content management tools that teachers can use to organize and customize how they deliver content to students. It also provides a digital curriculum as well as assessments that help students develop 21st-century skills to prepare them for success in higher education and their future career opportunities. Because Learning.com also brings together other curricular content, Greenwich teachers and students now have access to a large library of digital content from one platform and do not have to stick with content from one single vendor, according to Dunn. This is done via Learning.com’s single sign-on functionality, which helps students and teachers access digital content from a variety of sources. Learning.com has also allowed teachers and administrators to build their own content around their library of learning materials. In the classroom, library and media specialists in the district’s 11 elementary schools have been using Learning.com the most often, says Dunn.
Elementary school students have been using EasyTech Keyboarding, which allows them to practice grade-appropriate keyboarding skills. This also includes how to create documents, format reports, use spell check and cite sources, all in a flexible program that adapts to each student’s skill set and pace. Throughout the school year, fifth graders have had blocks of media lab time during a four- to six-week period where they completed Learning.com’s EasyTech Online Safety program. The program includes interactive lessons and group activities on topics such as internet safety and cyberbullying.
This Learning.com program was especially important to district administrators, Dunn says, as Greenwich has recently expanded its 1-to-1 iPad program to include students in two elementary schools in early 2014. “We felt, from a strategic level, while it’s critical to make sure students have access to online materials at home, our students need to be using these mobile devices as good digital citizens,” Dunn says. “Learning.com has given us the assurance that all aspects of digital citizenship are being covered, like how to comment appropriately on online articles, and to how to treat each other respectfully.”
“The tech-friendly Greenwich media and library specialists had no problem training and working with Learning.com,” says Dunn. “While the district plans on using the program’s assessment data to measure student technological literacy, it is still too early for a quantitative analysis,” he adds. However, Dunn has heard very positive feedback from the specialists, teachers and students using the Learning.com program. “Overall, the program has been great about reminding the students that what they do online will exist forever,” Dunn says. “We want to provide students with a place online to exchange ideas, but also in a polite and safe environment.”
For more information, visit learning.com.