Over the course of the past two school years, Dublin High School has had experiences with internally prompted DOS attacks. What does this mean? I am very confident stating that we had students that were hacking by way of bots pulling our network down with a good old fashion saturation of packets. This is troublesome for many high schools across the country. In my past three districts, we had students hacking into systems to sell grade changes, cause disruption prior to exams, and hack for the bragging rights.
This topic is prime for a very real and robust digital citizenship model. We had worked with various law enforcement agencies and had challenges in getting results due to a lack of precedent set for minors violating cyber security laws. In meetings with the high school, staff wanted to have a list of potential offenders and then remove their access to technology. My red flag- they would only add fuel to the fire. I proposed another approach which is as follows:
Ask the students involved in Leadership to begin a marketing and public relations campaign to stop bullying via hacking at the high school. Students created flyers and submitted their art for consideration. The video production department let students script, direct, and star in short videos on the topic with the soul message of “stop hacking”.
The campaign began in the late spring of 2016 and ran through the end of the school year. Posters created by the high school students are now on every classroom wall at the high school and at the district office. The first video has run a number of times at the high school during morning announcements.
The campaign being led by students for students is the most powerful way to instill change. Teachers that were initially concerned about the idea have since shared they have found it to be very effective as a delivery for messaging.
And since the beginning of the hacking campaign, I am happy to say we have had no internally prompted hocks occur at the high school as a result. It may not mean that they will stop altogether, but when it does begin, students will be empowered to address it with their peers. And you and I both know the students know exactly who’s hacking the system.
For the past 14 years, I have been supporting teachers in delivering digital citizenship professionally with their peers and to their students in their classrooms. Moving into the 2016-2017 school year, my plan is to do a student centered delivery of digital citizenship at all secondary campuses in the district. We have great teams of leadership students that want to make a difference on their campuses and we have Character Ed programs that will be great frameworks for the delivery of digital citizenship. I’m envisioning high school and middle school students visiting elementary schools and delivering the same type of digital citizenship concepts to the upper grade classrooms.
Commonsensemedia.org is the district adopted platform for digital citizenship and Dublin has reframed the name from digital citizenship to digital tattoo. The leadership students at the secondary level campuses will receive professional development on the topic and have conversations about the best way to deliver. Video, badging system, and collaboration opportunities are all on the table for consideration. My plan is to create space and time and allow the students to work out all the details. Everything student centered.