Countdown to 2014-2015: What’s new in HISD #8 — Cybersafety website unveiled as part of PowerUp expansion

This is the third in a series of stories counting down to the start of school, spotlighting what is new in HISD in the coming year.

As 21 more HISD high schools gear up to become part of the PowerUp one-to-one laptop initiative in the 2014-2015 school year, HISD has unveiled a powerful new companion — an all-encompassing cybersafety website to make sure students’ cybercitizenship matches their technological knowledge.

Developed for use by students, parents, and educators at all grade levels, the new site offers updated and user-friendly information about safe and sensible use of the Internet and social media. The site, which includes content from Common Sense Media, features resource links, tip sheets, videos, learning resources, parent information, and a model media agreement for families to use to set down guidelines for use of cell phones, tablets, laptops, and gaming devices.

“We want all of our students to take advantage of the powerful technology that fills their lives both at school and at home, and this includes making good digital decisions,” HISD Chief Technology Officer Lenny Schad said. “But in order to make wise choices, kids must know how the digital world works, and so must our parents and educators.”

“Keeping our students safe is the top priority of the HISD Police Department, and that extends beyond the four walls of the classroom and the neighborhoods surrounding our schools,” HISD Police Chief Robert Mock said. “This new website will help students and parents understand that a few bad clicks on a computer or cell phone can have lasting and harmful consequences.”

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In addition to the HISD cybersafety website, high school students receiving laptops as part of the district’s one-to-one initiative also receive regular and consistent instruction on cybersafety and good digital citizenship throughout the school year. Teachers at these campuses will also undergo cybersafety training, and all HISD teachers at all grade levels are required this school year to take a social media guidelines course.

“Instilling cybercitizenship into our youngsters is part of our role as educators and parents,” writes Dr. Terry Grier in his weekly blog posting about the new cybersafety site. Read more here about why HISD’s digital transformation includes an emphasis on cybersafety.

More Countdown to 2014-2015 stories:

Countdown to 2014-2015: What’s new in HISD #10 — Big changes in high school
Countdown to 2014-2015: What’s new in HISD #9 — Lunch is free at 169 campuses