We think our Common Sense Ambassadors are worth knowing. Here's the latest in a series of spotlights.
The Common Sense Ambassadors are an exceptional group of Common Sense Certified education leaders who share their passion and inspiration about our mission with others.
Today we're spotlighting Ambassador Allison Renda.
What do you do?
I am a computer teacher for grades 3–5 at Broadalbin-Perth Intermediate School in upstate New York, and I also work with the district's technology director on technology integration and training. I have a strong passion for digital citizenship. I have been a Certified Digital Citizenship Educator for two years. I am currently working with my district to integrate digital citizenship throughout all of our schools. Teaching students about online etiquette and safety is imperative. I am also a Level 2 Google Certified Educator. I believe the G Suite has opened up many opportunities for educators and students.
How is Common Sense Education's mission making a difference in your work?
When I was asked to teach computers at Broadalbin-Perth, there was no up-to-date curriculum. When I began researching, every path led me to Common Sense Education. Their mission matched my beliefs. I began to integrate the curriculum into my lessons. For the past two years, I have expanded on my lessons and activities and have encouraged other educators and parents to use the resources available through Common Sense.
Describe a digital learning project or initiative that you're currently working on.
I am currently working as the district project lead to help my school district earn its Digital Citizenship Certification. I am so proud of our accomplishments this year. With the help of several educators, our K–6 students will be trained on digital citizenship using the Common Sense Education curriculum. We are currently writing a Digital Citizenship Integration Plan for grades 7–12 and working on expanding our K–6 plan. We offered a Digital Citizenship Parent Night where I and a New York state trooper spoke on internet safety and how the district is training students and faculty. We have also opened the lines of communication with parents by providing them with tip sheets from Common Sense Education, and we now have a page dedicated to digital citizenship on our website. Our students also volunteered to make a digital citizenship video.
My goal next year is to start a digital citizenship club for students in grades K–12. The club will be responsible for planning activities during Digital Citizenship Week, as well as parent/student events and other activities the group wishes to host. My mission is to give the students a voice on topics that concern them. I want to challenge them to be "junior ambassadors."
What's a teaching strategy or tip that you could share with other teachers?
I have spoken to many educators inside my district and others at conferences. I was thrilled to hear that they all support discussion about digital citizenship in the classroom but just didn't know where or how to start. Sometimes we just need to be pointed in the right direction.
What are you most excited about in education?
I am most excited about the endless opportunities that technology is bringing to education, and of course I am excited that our district will soon be Digital Citizenship Certified.
Why did you become a Common Sense Ambassador?
The topic of digital citizenship is very near and dear to my heart. Words cannot express my passion for this topic. Digital tools open up so many opportunities, knowledge, and fun. We as educators have to teach our students how to be safe, respectful, and responsible not only in the real world but also in the virtual world.