Digital Literacy in an International Primary School in Singapore
Digital technology has become an intrinsic part of society. At Chatsworth International School, our focus is creating a modern 21st-century classroom by integrating technology into the learning process in a balanced way.
Preparing Students for The Connected World
In 2011, Chatsworth International Primary School was one of the first international schools in Singapore to implement a 1:1 laptop programme and was promoting the use of digital technology. We believe our role is to equip all our students with digital usage, literacy and safety in an increasingly connected world which is crucial in their whole development. We want our students to be global-minded digital citizens who understand the importance of being ethically responsible and how their specific actions can directly affect themselves, their family and friends and the larger online community. They aim to act responsibly within the digital world.
All our teachers provide relevant knowledge and skills appropriate to the student level with a responsible, safe and balanced viewpoint. Since 2008, Chatsworth has employed and trained staff who are Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) and certified Google Educators. We currently have two ADEs and numerous Google certified staff on campus.
The Three Areas of Digital Citizenship
In 2016, Chatsworth integrated a comprehensive digital citizenship programme into our K-12 international school curriculums. The programme’s focal point was to ensure students are exposed to a variety of digital and information literacy topics to boost students’ confidence and familiarity in the digital world by promoting a positive understanding of technology. Digital Citizenship consists of three areas and they are:
Digital usage, involving students being productive and responsible with their technology use, showing empathy and compassion.
Digital literacy, promoting the critical analysis and evaluations of digital media sources.
Digital safety, focusing on the positive digital identity of the user, acting in a safe, legal, and ethical manner online.
These strands provide teachers with a framework to progressively implement essential skills, practices and concepts from Early Years through to the Diploma Programme.
Digital Education from a Young Age
With rapid changes in education in current times, students at international schools must be aware of digital literacy and how to be productive digital citizens in the current digital world we live in. They cannot escape the increasingly digital world that they will inherit.
At Chatsworth International School, the Kindergarten curriculum is drawn from the internationally recognised IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), which sees the need for an introduction to being a “Digital Citizen”. The programme in the curriculum is designed to introduce students to digital safety and balance.
Throughout the IB Primary Curriculum, the students will understand many topics such as appropriate ways to use online platforms, website and passwords safety, research skills, identify fake news and protect themselves online. Kindness and empathy are two values that are vital for ideal digital citizenship.
Many challenges can arise when children are misinformed or ill-equipped for the digital world. Without a sound understanding, children can be exposed to many dangers and pitfalls found in the world of technology.
A child needs to understand the risks of digital technology and make critical decisions for the well-being of themselves and others. Age-inappropriate content, disclosing personal information, and cyberbullying are aspects of technology that need to be addressed.
Preparation for a Globalised World
As a top international primary school in Singapore, we aim to equip our primary students with the necessary skills to navigate the ever-changing terrain of the digital world. Our Education Technology Coach runs dedicated lessons to discuss with students on how they need to think critically about what they see online, to understand the risks of sharing information online and how to balance screen time as well as other activities.
We run a full 1:1 laptop programme with all teachers and students from Years 3-13 to assist in the development of proper digital citizenship. Our early years classes have access to a range of technology including iPads, iMacs, robotics and iPods to suit their learning needs. Our students develop Internationally-recognised ePortfolios which start in Kindergarten. We utilise online learning platforms to enhance our curriculum like many top international schools in Singapore and SouthEast Asia. These allow students to develop independence, build life long learner skills and evidence their learning.
At Chatsworth International School, our experience and research supports that student learning is enhanced through the use of technology in a carefully guided and balanced learning environment (between curriculum and classroom activities). Technology is used when and where it adds too, enhances or extends learning and not simply for the sake of it.
As one of the best international schools in Singapore, our emphasis on digital citizenship plays a pivotal role in developing our students for the digital world. Suppose our students are able to access digital content safely and responsibly, create and analyse information critically, and behave ethically online. In that case, they will be adept at negotiating the digital world as teenagers and adults, when their digital self will take a more prominent role in their lives.
Digital citizenship is vital for students looking for success globally, as technology connects them to everyone else across the globe.