Today’s teens have the whole world at their fingertips. Literally.
The world our students are able to instantly and discreetly access is full of both amazing opportunities and dangerous pitfalls. It is only with careful consideration, guidance, education, and discernment that teens are able to pick the good and avoid the bad.
This year, Grant County High School allowed teachers and students to utilize their own personal digital devices (smart phones, tablets, readers, laptops) to supplement the learning experience in the classroom. This decision, known as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) was made, fully realizing the dangers and distractions that may arise, but also acknowledging that we are doing our students a tremendous disservice if we pretend technology does not exist and do not equip students with the skills now expected in today’s digital world.
A major part of equipping students with necessary skills, therefore, became equipping them with the education and guidance needed to navigate their world access responsibly. It was with this in mind that Grant County sought and had the good fortune to connect with two phenomenal education partners, Everfi and Neustar. Everfi is the author of several student education programs, one of which is “My Digital Life”, an online training tool for teaching responsible digital citizenship. Neustar is a company which provides the technology running all types of digital communication, including email, texting, internet and more. These two companies have partnered together to make this training available, free of charge, to all students in the Commonwealth of Kentucky!
To date, 260 GCHS students have completed the full “My Digital Life” program and have gained their “Digital Literacy and Responsibility Certification.” An additional 500 students have begun the training and have completed the program’s most essential components. These numbers represent the highest number of participants of any high school in the state!
In honor of this distinction, representatives from Everfi (Charlie Peabody) and Neustar visited Grant County High School on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, to personally congratulate the 260 students completing the program. Neustar’s Director, Homan Haghari, and Vice President for Customer Experience, Melanie Shook, took a few moments to again emphasize to the students their responsibility in avoiding and preventing cyberbullying and other dangerous, hurtful behaviors, while their Director of Human Resources, Andi Pollard, emphasized attention to studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – all essential for careers in this cutting edge field.
In addition to certificates and punch and cookies for each student completing the program, Neustar donated five new laptop computers to GCHS for student use! Grant County Schools would like to express its appreciation to Everfi, Neustar, and every staff member who embraced this training program. Special thanks to Carolyn Horn who administered the program, schedule lab times, collaborated with teachers, ran reports, addressed technical issues, and anything else needed for the program’s successful implementation. With students, parents, staff, and businesses working together, we can do great things for our kids!