As an instructional technology coach, I often assist teachers and parents with many tough topics related to the use of technology in the classroom as well as at home. There are no easy answers about internet safety, copyright laws, and cyber-bullying, but there is ONE fabulous resource that helps me to convey important messages in these areas.

Welcome to the first of a two-part series centered on the variety of uses for the Common Sense Media website. Part one will focus on some of my favorite components of the main site and its benefits for educators and families alike. The second post will zero in on graphite, a service that assists educators in finding quality technology resources, strategies, and tools for the classroom.

Common Sense Media: A Fantastic Teacher Tool

I recommend that ALL parents, classroom teachers, technology coaches, and in-service providers take a look at Common Sense Media, which addresses many concerns and interests related to popular media.

For Parents

From a parent’s perspective, the main website is full of helpful information, such as:

  • reviews of past and current music, apps, games, websites, books, television shows, and movies
  • how to deal with technology in the home
  • blog posts on a variety of topics
  • home internet safety tips
  • and a sign-up option to receive emails highlighting current events and posts

You will love the reviews! I really wish this site existed when my kids were younger and I actually had some influence over them. It’s extremely useful and informative.

For Educators

As a classroom teacher, you will be thrilled with the incredible and plentiful resources available for the classroom! Here are a few of the highlights under the website’s tab called “For Educators.”

Digital Citizenship

Common Sense Media: A Fantastic Teacher Tool

A screenshot of Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum chart

This section provides lesson plans, Nearpod presentations, games, books and resources for embedding internet

safety and citizenship topics in K through 12 classrooms. In addition, Creative Commons licensed posters are available for download to use in schools and classrooms for FREE!

Connecting Families

Common Sense Media: A Fantastic Teacher Tool - Connecting FamiliesIn my home school district of Central York, we have used some of these resources and materials to run parent workshops. Tough topics such as cyber-bullying, screen time and online safety are broached in ways that bring everyone together on the same team. Everything you need to plan the event, including scenarios, discussions topics, and materials to share with families to help them with kids growing up in a digital world are extremely useful.

Educator VideosCommon Sense Media: A Fantastic Teacher Tool - Videos for Educators

A growing collection of videos for educators on the topics of Digital Citizenship and Technology Integration give teachers a chance to observe experts in hot topics sharing their ideas as well as take a look into classrooms using specific strategies with great success. Most videos are in the 2-3 minute range, so even the busiest teachers can find time to explore and view some of the powerful and current ideas in education today.

We would love to hear what you found to be useful on this website. Please comment and share a link wherever appropriate so we are able to check it out ourselves! Stay tuned for Part II of this post next week on graphite!

Carol Roth is a professional development and technology coach for Central York School District. She is a passionate technology integrator certified in supervision and administration. She also teaches for Eduspire.

You can follow Carol on Twitter: @rothscience.