Digital citizenship mentoring programs are a powerful way to promote a school-wide culture of safe and responsible use of technology. Older students can mentor younger students as they develop good online safety and digital citizenship skills, providing benefit to both the students and the school.
Many schools may already have mentoring programs so will know the benefits and can add a digital citizenship dimension very easily.
Benefits of digital citizenship mentoring programs:
- Young students develop skills and knowledge about digital citizenship and online safety
- Student mentors develop leadership skills, communication skills and act as role models
- Student mentors make a meaningful contribution to their school
- The school community works together to promote positive behaviours in the use of technology
- Student mentors can gain enormous benefits from their increased involvement in the school community and the knowledge that they can make a difference.
Setting up a mentoring program
The key to successful mentoring programmes is to follow the passion and enthusiasm of your students and staff, to start small and build on your accomplishments.
You might like to:
- Ask the following questions. Why are we setting up a digital citizenship mentoring programme? What are the expected outcomes for students in our school? What are the challenges and opportunities teachers and students see in how ICT is currently used? Is there a group of students who already provide mentoring to younger students in your school?
- Explore resources available to you before you start. What already exists that can be adapted for your mentoring programme? What resources will work best in your school? Hector’s World educational resources can be easily adapted by student mentors to take advantage of their own skill level and knowledge of the school context.
- Think about evaluating the program from the very start. How will you know if the program is effective? Being clear from the outset about what you want to achieve and why will make evaluating the effectiveness of your program much easier. It is important to be realistic about what can be accomplished in a week, a term, or a year. This enables student mentors to see their work in a series of achievable steps.
- Ensure a teacher or adult advisor will have sufficient opportunity to guide the mentoring programme. The advisor can help student mentoring teams identify their goals and appropriate resources. A teacher advisor can also help a mentoring team gather support from senior school leaders and the wider community.
- Include lots of fun activities and music. Using the Hector’s World music, older students might like to choreograph a dance or learn a song and teach younger students the words and movement. Older students can help younger students choose a safe nickname for their character hat or can listen while younger students read out loud from the Hector’s World storybooks. Hector’s World resources can help make learning about digital citizenship fun!
Examples of mentoring programs
HWL is proud of the Creative Cyber Citizen’s Team who have developed a successful mentoring programme at Mission Heights School in Auckland. Using Hector’s World resources, they are fostering positive relationships with younger students in their school while promoting the important concepts of digital citizenship. This enthusiastic group of young people are keen to build on their success and promote mentoring in other schools.
We are keen to hear about your digital citizenship mentoring program. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org .