Kid Tested, Teacher Approved: My Digital Life Works
Monday, I had the privilege of helping about 70 middle school students celebrate their completion of the My Digital Life program.
I, along with Alexandria County Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman and EverFi CEO Tom Davidson, visited Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, Va., to give the students certificates of completion and hear them share what they learned from this digital literacy program. Neustar makes the program – which teaches kids about technology and digital citizenship, and encourages them to consider careers in technology – available to every middle school in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We also make it available to every middle school in Kentucky and California (two other states that Neustar calls home).
While the adults present, including me, spoke about the program – so did the kids. And I am not embarrassed to admit the kids were the far more compelling speakers. They made it clear that they not only enjoyed the program, but they learned the lessons it was designed to teach. All of the adults squirmed in their seats just a bit when one student described the program as “much better than school.” But we also sat up a little straighter when one student after another explained clearly how the program taught them how to handle cyber-bullying, how intelligently to choose which technology to purchase, or how to use social media in a responsible way. Given how mature and sophisticated they sounded, it was stunningly easy to forget that we were listening to kids in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
I focused on the part of the program that encourages interest in a technology career – pointing out that if they studied science, technology, engineering or math they could invent the next blockbuster video game, cool mobile app, or super-fast computer. Neustar has invested in My Digital Life because we hope to spark both a lifelong interest in technology and a clear understanding about how to use technology responsibly. I came away from the ceremony knowing Neustar had made a worthy investment.
Rep. James Moran (D-VA), whose district includes Alexandria, congratulated the students for participating in the program. A member of his staff, a graduate of Hammond Middle, also spoke and helped hand out certificates to the students.
“The Internet is an integral part of life for today’s younger generation—students use the web for everything: communicating with friends, doing their homework and applying for college,” Rep. Moran said in a statement. “Neustar’s My Digital Life program not only gives students a foundation for digital literacy, it teaches them at a young age how to use these resources wisely and responsibly.”
Morton Sherman, Alexandria County Public Schools Superintendent, summed up how we all feel about this program when he told the students: “You understand digital citizenship and digital literacy and the importance of respecting one another online. Obviously, this program works.”
I couldn’t say it any better.