Santa Cruz Tech Beat


A Salinas school district fights online misinformation, trolls and hate speech with tech-focused education

George Lopez leads AUSD’s digital citizenship programs and lesson plans.

By Marielle Agueza
Monterey Bay Now

August 11, 2020 — Salinas, CA

(Photo above: George Lopez leads AUSD’s digital citizenship programs and lesson plans. Credit: Parker Seibold)

Alisal Union Elementary School District uses Common Sense Media teaching models to foster a culture of digital citizenship

START THEM YOUNG. Alisal Union Elementary School District, a K-6 district, is taking that mantra and translating it into the bones of the way they teach their students about how to navigate technology. Using the teaching models of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that advocates for safe media and technology use, AUSD is fostering a culture of digital citizenship – the responsible use of technology and the internet.

It began when AUSD adopted a one-to-one policy. One internet-connected device – a tablet or laptop – per student. Integrating digital citizenship grew naturally from the surge of internet-connected technology on campus and in students’ homes.

“We wanted to help create an understanding between teachers, students and parents that technology isn’t just about cyberbullying and too much screen time. It can be helpful in the classroom and it can be a useful tool,” says George Lopez, an AUSD teacher on special assignment.

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