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Area students learn about digital citizenship at annual education symposium

September 26, 2018

Diller-Odell students discuss what they learned at the Digital Citizenship Symposium in Beatrice on Tuesday. Education service units from across the state hosted the annual symposium. Students were prompted to talk about how they will teach others at their school what they learned about digital citizenship.

Education service units from across the state hosted a Digital Citizenship Symposium in Beatrice on Tuesday for students to learn the importance of being safe and kind online.

There are 17 ESU locations in Nebraska with Beatrice being home to ESU5, which hosted the symposium at its offices on West Court Street.

Nick Ziegler, technology integration specialist for ESU5, said that six school districts came to the ESU5 building to partake in the Digital Citizenship Symposium.

“At ESU10 in Kearney Nebraska, one of the presenters is presenting, and at ESU17, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, another presenter is presenting later on,” he said. “We’re sharing the presenters but then we’re engaging our kids in some of those activities.”

The student listened to a lawyer and a Nebraska State Patrol representative talk about how to be safe and kind online. Karen Dux, Fairbury’s technology integrationist, said that bringing students to these kinds of events is important. She said she believed having the students aware of the legal side of their actions is needed.

“When you’re dealing with law and students and there are so many things that kids can mess up on today online and for them to be aware I think that’s so important,” Dux said.

There were about 40 students in attendance from six districts, according to Ziegler. Each school brought about seven students to partake and the students got to decide how they were going to bring what they learned back to their schools.

Beatrice Middle School students said they learned a lot - like that nearly 80 percent of people online call others hurtful names. In order to combat these messages, students at the symposium decided to start a kindness Instagram to share the good things in their school.

Another student from Diller-Odell said that he was shocked that adults will go online and pose as children to get younger children to meet up with them. He said he plans on informing his classmates to make sure they only message people that they know.

When choosing students to attend the symposium, each district had a different approach. Carly Winter, Fairbury High School media specialist, said she choose some students from her computer class. Dux added that they also tried to get students who set a good example.

“[We chose] kids that are leaders in the school and might be able to share what they learn with their peers,” Dux said. “I think that is important.”

This was the symposium’s fifth year. Adults like Dux have been attending the event for a while. Even though she has been multiple times, she said she learns something new each time. She wants her students to be aware of their digital footprints and the impact they have on each other.

“It’s not like it used to be. When I was their age I could burn my notes,” Dux said, jokingly.

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