That’s not a typo.
The ‘C’ stands for online Consent and is just one of the critical parts of students receiving their digital citizenship at Scotch College.
Most of us are playing catch-up when it comes to all things technology and computers. We learned to use them later in life and sometimes need to ask our kids for help with TV remotes and navigating the latest apps. Fear plays a huge part in our learning as adults — the fear of being scammed online or having our identities stolen, and the fear of new technology like Chat GPT and artificial intelligence (AI) potentially threatening to take our jobs.
At Scotch College’s Junior Campus, they focus more on the positives: innovative thinking, student agency and sharing a love for digital technology. In that, children learn how to stay safe online and how to look after their devices. But the bigger picture is empowering them from a young age, to use these digital literacy skills to go big in life!
“Jo Rea, our Digital Technologies Specialist, has worked hard to get the age and stage right, so when they get to social media at 13, they’re ready,” says Ieva Hampson, Head of Junior Campus. She continues, “We want to prepare them but understand that families have different situations about what they allow at home”.
RECEPTION TO YEAR 2
In Reception, students sign a digital agreement that reinforces making good online choices from an early age, with Scotch College’s Digital Citizenship’s student-designed mascot, Digi Dude, looking on. “If you hit people with this all too late, they don’t know how to use it responsibly,” says Warren King, Head of Marketing.
YEARS 3 AND 4
The R-2 program dovetails into the curriculums for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. In Year 3, a new digital agreement is signed and students complete a cyber security certificate, which includes how to be accountable for their conduct online. Jo says, “We want to get them into the mindset to do the right thing online. It’s understanding the power in the good stuff they can use technology for, rather than just focusing on the pitfalls and risks”.
YEARS 5 AND 6
Students get their devices for school and learn how to look after them while becoming good digital citizens. They also complete a term-long inquiry on the ethics behind AI and how to use it to their advantage, instead of only looking at the negatives from news stories featuring driverless cars and deep fakes. Every learning has a purpose and in Years 5 and 6, students gain a deeper understanding of how this machine learning will help them, rather than fostering fear.
DIGIDO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES CONFERENCE
One of Scotch College’s Digital Technologies Policy’s guiding principles is to equip students with the knowledge and experience to thrive in the digital world. Well, the students aren’t sitting around waiting to graduate to start thriving! In 2022, Scotch kicked off its inaugural DigiDo Digital Technologies Conference, led by Jo Rea. She says, “The conference represents something lacking for kids.
In the digital world, there’s plenty for children who love sport through e-sports, but there isn’t much at the primary school level to celebrate a love for digital learning. This is a good example of being able to do that”.
Just like in the real world, this student run conference has a showroom filled with different technology displays. The Year 6 team organises the entire conference, including inviting other schools, plus parents and professionals who use technology in their work to present at the conference held in Scotch College’s new wellbeing centre, Purruna.
“Jo is an innovator and leader in this space and has been awarded the EdTechSA Leading Light Award for 2023,” says Ieva Hampson. She continues, “In organising the conference, it’s not Jo setting it up for the children. The children are doing everything in the background as well, from creating lanyards, right through to marketing and presenting the workshops”.
“It’s so easy for us adults to just see the risks and problems inherent with digital technology, but by introducing it so early and ramping the curriculum up that way, kids develop a passion and find a real application for these tools in their own lives,” says Warren.
With the assistance of external experts, parents and professionals, Scotch College’s Digital Technologies program shows students how many opportunities are out there for them in this rapidly changing world.
Student-led panels include discussions around AI and ethics, plus conversations about digital security. DigiDo is a true test of the student agency piece — from naming the conference to speaking on the microphones and directing visitors to the different panels and displays. Jo says, “Last year I had COVID the week before the conference and when I turned up, staff said they couldn’t believe how well it went. The kids just owned it!