How the tools schools need are changing

For many generations, we have been teaching civics in our schools; students are taught how our government works and who we are as a nation. We want students to feel empowered to become active citizens because they have learned valuable leadership skills in school. But as technology has advanced and the knowledge of new platforms and tools is needed, this generation of students should be equipped to adapt and become digital citizens.

Placing “digital” in front of citizenship, does not mean that we change how it is taught; digital citizenship changes the tools we need. Knowing this, how can we better educate on digital citizenship?

Teach How the System Works

Our students know how apps work—they take selfies and message their friends at a rapid speed. But do they understand why Facebook is now one of the largest companies in the world? Do they understand why advertisers find so much value in social media platforms? When we teach civics, we teach how students should understand and engage in the roles of government and citizens. Digital media plays a role in this system and its use and implications should be part of the curriculum.

Let Students be a Part of the Content

One of the reasons we struggle with teaching the next generation of students how to interact on social media is because students have been told “no” so many times that their trust has been broken. On top of this, the several highlighted incidents of student misconduct on social media have made adults wary. There has not been a value placed on social media as a tool to create content for social media platforms. Instead, we’ve told students to stop taking selfies while grown-ups create social media content.

Often, we’ve said that social media takes too much time away from other classes. It’s true. Social media does take too much time when we do it ourselves. We would say the same thing if we had teachers writing the school newspaper. There is a better way to engage students in social media creation, and it starts with educators embracing the need to teach digital citizenship and getting students involved with safely sharing their school’s story on social media. By creating curriculum focused on helping students create content for social media, we can help students become active and engaged digital citizens.

Class Intercom Enables Student Participation

Class Intercom’s platform builds trust with students while saving educators time by safely moderating social media content. The platform allows students to post content on the school’s social media pages and gives administrators or teachers the opportunity to review and approve/decline the student’s post prior to it being published. Students have a story and when it is told, it engages the school, alumni, and community. To learn more about Class Intercom visit

Ben Pankonin, Class Intercom