New curriculum discusses digital footprint and online ethics, among other topics

Students in the Estacada School District will be introduced to a new digital citizenship program during the upcoming school year.

Though the district already has a program designed to prevent cyberbullying, the new digital citizenship program will focus on additional topics like copyright laws, ethics and creating a positive digital footprint.

"There are so many more devices in today's world of technology," said Cyndi Rathbun, director of technology for the Estacada School District. "We need that additional training."

For the district's youngest students, the curriculum will focus on basic computer skills, such as how to use a mouse. Older students will be presented with topics like digital ethics and security.

The new digital courses will be a balance of independent work and classroom discussion.

Rathbun believes that in today's technologically driven world, it's valuable for students — and adults — to take a step back and consider what they are doing online.

"We've gone to having technologically infused lives," she said, adding that it's important to discuss technology with children. "This is a natural thing coming into our lives."

Rathbun also encouraged students to utilize the values they have been taught to use offline in the digital world, as well.

"Be good to people face to face and online," she said.

She also noted several areas that are important think about in today's world of technology, include creating a positive digital footprint and spending appropriate amounts of time online.

"Digital health is important. How much (technology) is too much?" Rathbun said. "And it's important to think about building an online reputation knowing that someday that could make a difference."

She added that it's important to be "mindful of your digital life."

"Mindful thoughtfulness about what (students) do online is important, even though it's so seamless today," she said. "(With the digital citizenship classes), I really want to encourage students to be considerate of what they do online."

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