Our Islands, Our Future

Tai Baird, a special-education fourth-grade inclusion teacher at Lihikai Elementary was a speaker at the 2022 Schools of the Future conference (SOTF) in Honolulu. SOTF is the largest annual event of its nature in the State and enables teachers and administrators across the islands’ public, private, and charter schools, to reflect upon how schools can better serve Hawaii’s children. Baird’s talk was about ‘My Digital Voyage’ (MDV), an online software program she helped create to teach children about internet safety. The Hawaiian characters in MDV, Hoku, a sea star, her parents, her tutu, and other classmates, learn lessons on how to be digital citizens. 

A dedicated kumu, Baird always goes out of her way to make sure her students get the best opportunities available. “MDV is a thoughtful elementary learning series in digital citizenship and internet safety,” she explained. “Led by University of Hawaii specialist Thanh Truc T. Nguyen, it is part of a larger project called Web and Internet Safe Educated (WISE) Kids created by the Curriculum Research & Development Group at the University of Hawaii College of Education. We encourage schools and parents to visit the MDV online stories with children to engage in conversations about online safety measures. There is also a complimentary version of the program with a coloring book that contains lessons about being respectful and considerate when talking to others online, cyberstalking and bullying, and the continuous act of harassment, embarrassment, or intimidation via digital communication devices such as the computer, the cell phone, and other online social networks.”

Baird added, “The  team intentionally included student developers, which increased teacher understanding of how the students are experiencing their blended realities of online and offline presence. The MDV lessons and curriculum are designed for all learners. You can use it as you wish and also expand it with math and science crossword puzzles, writing exercises, and more. Plus, there is an MDV student pledge to be a safe and responsible user of technology, to make healthy decisions online and offline, to check with trusted adults, and to listen, learn and respect different ideas.” 

Throughout MDV, the student-teacher teams lead participants through curriculum units that can be adapted at their schools. Families are also encouraged to engage in these conversations. Tai Baird, Lihikai Elementary School