& EVENTS


Building Positive Digital Culture

Patrick Holt, Head of Educational Technology June 7, 2019
Building Positive Digital Culture

Across all cultures, there are hundreds of years of history of social norms and values that have prescribed human interactions in our public and private spaces.   In a short time span (less than 20 years), the Internet and digital spaces that were once viewed as novel and futuristic but have evolved into a wild network of fake news, data collection and weird memes. It is very concerning that modern digital network challenges our notions of what it means to interact as humans.

Don’t you just simply wish to regress to traditional analogue values when you see your child growing up in a remarkably different environment than you did? As parents and educators, there is no precedent to fall back on.

Schools also face immense challenges in responding to the traditional challenges of childhood amplified by the digitally connected young person, adapting to the multitude of complexity emerging in our hyper-connected society, and most importantly, helping our young people and ourselves to navigate this new digital world. Though we don’t claim to have all the solutions, we will be moving forward by adopting the International Standards for Technology in Education (ISTE) in the next academic year as a framework to build a positive digital culture at GEMS World Academy (Singapore).

ISTE is a “roadmap... for innovative educators and education leaders to re-engineer their schools and classrooms for the digital age...” (2019).

As a school, we will be implementing new standards for students, educators and leaders to develop a positive digital culture.

Digital Citizens


"Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical" (ISTE, 2019).  

The Digital Citizen Standard and its four strands have been matched with the Common Sense Media curriculum to create a spiralling curriculum map to guide teachers in integrating the teaching of positive digital habits and behaviours into their daily practice.

Some of our Middle school teachers have been running a pilot for the last few weeks with Hapara Dashboard, a Google Chrome add on, that allows teachers to monitor and control student browser activity during class. The purpose of this tool is to make students more accountable for their time and workflow while they are in school.

Primary Years students (Grades 1-5) will continue to use the Seesaw platform as their digital space for modelling and interacting positively on the internet. To further support this initiative we have tightened up our overall technology policy and added a reworked Responsible Use Agreement themed iParticipate that focuses on positive and productive use of digital spaces.

Middle School students (Grades 6-8) will be working in a new digital space in the form of a student digital portfolio. This digital space will allow teachers and students to set learning goals, show academic progress while learning new digital skills and learn the value of creating a positive digital presence.

There are no perfect solutions to navigating digital spaces with our young people, however, as a school, we are hopeful that through a positive and participatory approach to digital space and digital tools we can set our young people on a safe and productive path to independence.


Patrick Holt,
Head of Educational Technology

ISTE© - International Society for Technology in Education | Home. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/