At Cipafilter, we’re committed to helping you create the safest learning environment possible, while not stifling creativity or needlessly blocking useable content. It’s one of the reasons we’ve developed the capability to filter by group: high schoolers need access to much different information than elementary students. We want you to be able to customize your web filter, because we understand that part of teaching well rounded students is guiding them towards digital literacy and citizenship.
Digital literacy is important; the value in students learning how to use technology effectively simply cannot be overstated. Regardless of their career path, technology is going to permeate your students professional lives, and knowing how to navigate the abundance of information out there will only help them advance. Now more than ever, we need to help students learn to think critically about the content they find online, and teach them how to navigate the digital skills they’ll need in the future. Here are a few suggestions that might help…
Get Back to the Basics
We tend to think students have a better understanding of technology than adults do, simply because they're "digital natives." The truth is, however, that while teens may have mastered Snapchat or Instagram, they may still be ignorant when it comes to technology fundamentals that are useful or necessary for the job market. Do they know how to use a spreadsheet for data management? Can they create a powerpoint and use it during a presentation? Do they know how to do meaningful research with academic sources online, or are they dependent on Wikipedia? These are fundamentals that can help students excel academically and as future job-seekers.
Discern Good Content from Bad
Not all online content is created equal! Consider teaching students how to deconstruct and decode digital media and content the same way that we analyze literature or historical texts. Unpack the narrative, think about the intended audience, consider bias and motive. As students learn how to think about content and media in a more mindful manner, they're less likely to fall victim to fake news or fraudulent claims online.
Teach Students to Create
Once your students can understand content beyond just face value, then you can really get past content consumption and into the realm of content and media production. To be effective citizens of the digital world, students need to learn how to be effective content creators. Being able to post photos and tweet 140 characters isn't enough; students need to be able to share complex ideas digital media in practical ways. Whether they're writing blogs, editing photos, or recording video, creating thoughtful digital content is a great way to ensure that students are technologically literate beyond just tweeting and snapping.
Just as important as digital literacy, however, is digital ethics and citizenship. Good digital citizenship reduces instances of cyber-bullying, because kids know how much damage it can do. Good digital citizens know to be cautious with their personal information online. Students who learn digital ethics know that there are consequences to what they do online, and know how to make sound decisions about what content they consume, produce, or share.
Don’t Be Afraid to Disconnect
While technology has changed the nature of education, it’s also important to understand that it’s okay, and even beneficial to be unplugged. Students learn in a number of different ways, and some respond better to technology, while other respond better to more traditional teaching methods. In a world where we are inundated with a perpetual flood of information, it’s valuable to spend time interacting in the analog world. Cipafilter can help you with that, by scheduling permissions based on groups and time of day.
Cipafilter: a Partner in Digital Literacy and Digital Ethics
Cipafilter’s customizability, our capacity to create a number of different rules, the ability to notify you when certain search terms are used, and so much more, make Cipafilter the right partner for your school. You don’t need a device that just blocks all potentially inappropriate content; you need a device that lets you choose what your students can and can’t view, create, and share. We’re here to help you do just that.
Are you interested in how Cipafilter can help you and your school? We’d love to talk to you about it. Just reach out to us via our contact form and we’ll schedule a conversation to assess your needs and let you know what we can do for you.