Digital Citizenship

/Digital Citizenship

Getting Sneaky About Digital Citizenship

By | January 25th, 2017|Digital Citizenship|

Article reposted with permission from nancywtech.com

Dear Teachers,

I met with a librarian friend of mine today to brainstorm ways to get digital citizenship embedded in lots of different areas of her school. She confided to me that she wanted to INFILTRATE her school with her digital citizenship efforts. Isn’t that a great word? I mean, seriously: unless you are leading a secret double life as a spy, how many times have you gotten to use that word lately? And how often have you been able to DO it? My librarian friend gave the example of when you add something to your email signature line, people just (more…)

DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP SUMMIT HEADS TO TWITTER HQ IN OCTOBER

By | May 28th, 2016|Digital Citizenship|

This week’s announcement about the Digital Citizenship Summit being held at Twitter Headquarters on 28 October is such an incredible opportunity for the entire digital citizenship global community that I wanted to write this post to thank all the people who have supported us from the very beginning. There have so many people behind the scenes, volunteers, speakers, and supporters from around the globe. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being part of this critical conversation and continuing to move it forward into your classrooms and communities.

Believing that nothing happens in a vacuum or by accident, I also wanted to write this post to thank all the people who have personally supported me from the very beginning of my digital citizenship journey. I am indebted to numerous people for casting light on my journey and am so grateful to my PLN for graciously sharing their time, talent and passion with my students over the years.

For me, the making of the Digital Citizenship Summit happened long before our inaugural event last October at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. In fact, my journey started years ago before I even had my first email address or mobile device. As a middle school teacher, I was always student-centered and focused on meeting the developmental needs of young adolescents. My interest in amplifying student voice has always been my True North and reason behind any and all decisions I’ve made during my educational career.

Although Tyler Clementi was the student who changed my perspective and inspired me to change my practice, he was never a student in my classroom.

I did not know Tyler, but his suicide made me determined to focus on a solution. Tyler Clementi could be my son, your son. He was a brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, neighbor, and most importantly, a human being. This perspective launched me into uncharted territory. I am the mother of a son. What if this was my son? What can I do to make sure this doesn’t happen again? How can I make a difference?

In many ways, Tyler Clementi was the impetus behind my First Year Seminar course, Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? My definition of digital citizenship is a direct result of the iCitizen Project which asks students to think and act at a local, global and digital level simultaneously. By 2011, I was tired of digital citizenship being an add-on to the curriculum, as well as edtech and bullying conferences. I knew digital citizenship needed its own space and that’s why I created and designed 3 credit courses specifically around the nine elements of digital citizenship at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In February 2012, I also planned and hosted my first livestreamed event, the iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting for both a live and virtual audience and just like the Digital Citizenship Summit, none of this would have been possible without the support of countless people.

As I reflect on the people who have supported me, I am reminded of just how many students and educators have virtually joined my digital citizenship courses and participated in the #digcit chat on Twitter over the years. Week after week, members of my PLN graciously shared their time, talent and passion with my students through Twitter, Skype and Google Hangout. I could seriously write a book on the entire experience, but for this blog post, I’ll share one of my favorite virtual guests, Jeremiah Anthony, a high school student from Iowa. Jeremiah Skyped and live tweeted, Stand Up & Speak Out with Digital Citizenship with my undergraduates. He demonstrated how it takes just one person to make a difference in your community both on and offline.

There have been so many people over the years who have been that one person to me and I just want to publicly thank anyone who has ever supported me through all my digital citizenship courses, projects, Twitter chats and conferences, including the iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting, Digital Citizenship Summit and the Digital Citizenship Summit UK. It has been a privilege and an honor to learn alongside a global network of students, educators, parents and the edtech industry as we collectively continue to solve problems and create solutions together.

So, from my middle school classroom in the early 90’s to my college campus in West Hartford to Bournemouth Univeristy in the UK to Twitter Headquarters — thank you, thank you for being part of this incredible journey.

My heart is full.

LEADING WITH DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP: LET’S BREAK THE INTERNET WITH KINDNESS

By | April 21st, 2016|Digital Citizenship|

Although digital citizenship is not a new term or concept, the stories we generally hear tend to focus on safety and what our students should avoid.  To me, digital citizenship is everyone’s responsibility and we need to carve out time and space for our students to actively do it.  We need to switch the focus and highlight the positive ways our students are using social media.  The more student examples we can share on what to encourage (instead of avoid), will help our students practice being safe, savvy and ethical.

Personally, I’m tired of reading scare-tactic posts on how students are using social media in inappropriate ways.  After seeing this post, 8 Ways Kids Are Using Instagram to Bully on my digital citizenship (#digcit) Twitter feed, I had had enough of all the negative stories and I decided to flip the script and ask students to show us all the positive ways they use social media.

Let's Break the Internet with Kindness (1)Why aren’t the stories about the students I know and work with or the classrooms I follow on Twitter trending?  Why don’t these stories make national headlines?  Why does the media sensationalize the negative stories?  Determined to break the Internet with kindness, I tweeted out my challenge asking students to tell a different story.

The tweet got a lot of positive reaction and two members of my PLN took me up on my challenge and blogged about their experience.  High school history teacher, Rachel Murat who also teaches a digital citizenship course had her high school students use the opportunity to examine how Students Spread Happiness to Combat Haters and Trolls. The students examined how to combat trolls and haters and created videos like Passing on Positivity.

My #digcit co-moderator and Mobile Learning Coach, Jennifer Scheffer had her @BHSHelpDeskstudents reflect on the positive ways they use social media, 12 Students Speak Out About Digital Citizenship.  The big take-away is negativity breeds negativity and positivity breeds positivity.  High school senior and Digital Citizenship Summit speaker, Timmy Sullivan shared how he uses social media:

“Clearly my experience leveraging social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, my blog) is taboo. But – dare I question the status quo again – why does it have to be? If we collectively divorce from the rhetoric of social media’s explicitly harmful nature, then we embrace the challenge to promote positive social media use in schools. Students can learn to leverage Twitter to build a global community of learners, use YouTube to share their content, connect with professionals via LinkedIn, and assert their voice through blogging. Through education, demonstration, and proactive conversation we can abolish cyber bullying- but we must first abolish our negative mentality.”

My hope is that all students, everywhere have opportunities to go beyond just talking about digital citizenship and have time to “do” and create positive solutions just like the students in Rachel and Jennifer’s classrooms. Instead of disengagement and fear, we need to promote empowerment.  We need to create opportunities for our students to engage differently in a safe, savvy, and ethical manner and this needs to start early.  Our youngest students need to use technology to connect and collaborate with an authentic global audience.

In order to improve online (and offline) culture and create safe, savvy and ethical “digital citizens,” we need to actively engage students by embedding digital citizenship into our everyday curriculum.

By not teaching digital citizenship in schools, we are also denying the opportunity to empower students to think and act at a local, global and digital level simultaneously. When we help our students positively change their local community (school, neighborhood, town, state, region), we help change other communities in the process.

Let’s make digital citizenship a verb and help our students bridge the physical gap between communities by connecting, collaborating, learning and doing digital citizenship together with other students and classrooms around the world.  Let’s help our teachers and students become active citizens and enablers of positive change.  Let’s focus on empathy and help our students humanize the person next to them, as well as across the screen.

In many ways, it’s like skipping stones and I hope you will be a part of the ripple effect by amplifying student voice in your classroom by showing the world how social media is used in positive ways. Like Timmy Sullivan said, let’s question the status quo and let’s break the Internet with kindness.

*Contact the @digcit_chat moderating team if you’d like to join us for our SnapChat Challenge and join us on Friday, May 6th for a Google Hangout on Air with educators and students sharing their experiences using SnapChat in the classroom.

 

CHARLIE BROWN ON DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP

By | April 11th, 2016|Digital Citizenship|

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Poor Charlie Brown doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Generations have coined him as just a blockhead, but to me, he has always been so much more than just the underdog. Charlie Brown is my hero.

I would pick Charlie Brown as my 12th player a million times over any MVP.  He is the student I’d want in my classroom and the friend I’d want by my side every day of the week. Why? He is kind all the time, he’s principled and doesn’t just follow the crowd, he’s a problem solver and regardless of how many times he might come up short, he never, ever gives up.

Which begs the question: How would Charlie Brown be in the 21st century? What would happen if Charlie Brown had a device and was on social media? Charlie Brown would be exactly the same online as he is offline.

Charlie Brown is the model digital citizen.

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Here’s the ultimate Charlie Brown lessons on digital citizenship:

Choose kind, every time. Regardless if Charlie Brown is on the baseball field, at school or directing a play, he is kind to everyone he meets. If Charlie Brown was online he would be part of the solution and not part of the problem. If he saw something mean or humiliating, he would not retweet or repost it. Just like Charlie Brown fills other people’s buckets with kindness, he’d fill their cyber buckets too.

Focus on your character. What you do when you think others are watching you is all about your reputation. What you do when you think nobody’s watching you is all about yourcharacter. Just like Charlie Brown, don’t just follow the crowd. Focus on your character. Don’t just do something because everyone is doing it. Instead, be more like Charlie Brown. Be loyal and consistent and regardless if you are on an anonymous site or you think your SnapChat will disappear, be socially responsible all the time.

Solve problems, create solutions. In 2016, Charlie Brown would be a MakerEd maker, a TEDxYouth speaker, and a Genius Hour genius. He’d make guest appearances on a KidPresidentvideo because just like solving problems offline, he’d be busy connecting and collaborating with a global network to make the world better.

Committed to changing his own community for the better, Charlie Brown not only reminds us all the about the true meaning of Christmas, he reminds us all what it means to be part of the human race.

Charlie Brown with digital access would change global communities using a variety of social media tools and if I were Charlie Brown’s teacher, I’d use #BeMoreLikeCharlieBrown as our class hashtag (or maybe I’d shorten it to #BMLCB).

Never, ever give up. This is Charlie Brown’s mantra. Although Lucy always moves the football the second he is about to kick it, Charlie Brown never gives up hope that he’ll get to kick the football. Every single time, he backs up and charges the football with such focus and clarity. Every time he approaches that football he believes that this is the time he’ll kick it.

Charlie Brown would most definitely apply this approach to being online and he would work on that blog post or that coding assignment until he had it just right. Just like students who understand the power of social media, Charlie Brown would constantly work on his online identity. He’d build up his digital portfolio and would stand out from his peers because he understands the importance of transparency and the need to humanize the person next to you, as well as across the screen.

So, the next time someone says, “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest,” know that you just received the highest digital citizenship stamp of approval you could ever possibly receive.

Now go out there and be more like Charlie Brown.

STUDENTS ARE THE SOLUTION AT #DIGCITSUMMIT

By | October 7th, 2015|Digital Citizenship|

CQa4A2EWgAEyaiC#digcitsummit student speaker Timmy Sullivan

As I reflect on the 1st Digital Citizenship Summitthis past weekend, my heart is full.

My favorite part of the Summit was the presence and voice of students. The only permanent solution to changing school climate, addressing bullying/cyberbullying and learning how to humanize the person next to you, as well as across the screen is more student voice.

We need more students like Timmy Sullivan, our invited high school speaker from Burlington High School in Massachusetts. His session was packed as he shared the need for more student voice in personalizing learning. His impressive online presence is a reflection of both his choices and character which further exemplifies what it means to be the same person both on and offline.

How do we get more student voice in our classrooms?

  1. We start early and often. We embed digital citizenship into everything we do both online and offline.
  2. We model and teach empathy in everything we do, in every classroom, both in and out of the classroom.
  3. We encourage our students to do digital citizenship – not just read or write about it.

Our students are the solution. Engage them in this critical conversation.

on stage

My son sharing closing remarks #digcitsummit

How will we get more students like Timmy Sullivan in our classrooms and in our communities? More student voice. We need to begin this conversation before devices are in the hands of our toddlers. We need to have our elementary aged students, like my son who joined me on stage for the closing remarks dodigital citizenship and experience what empathy kindness and global collaboration looks like through projects like blogging, Global Read Aloud, Mystery Skype, etc.

If we start with our youngest learners, we will model best practices and will make digital citizenship a verb. As a result, we will help produce socially responsible, ethical and savvy students who think and act at a local, global and digital level simultaneously – like Timmy Sullivan and my son and all students – everywhere.

*A HUGE thank you to my current and former students who helped plan, volunteer and present at the Summit! You are why I do what I do! #FYS15 #ed536 #ed570

*Some of my other favorite examples of students “doing” digital citizenship: iCitizen Project and the iConstitution, for students by students.

THE TWEET SEEN AROUND THE WORLD

By | November 1st, 2013|Digital Citizenship, frontpage, Uncategorized|

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Dear PLN:

Please help me show the power of Twitter during the 2013 International Education Week on our campus.  I’m presenting, “The Tweet Heard Around the World” and will be sharing the benefits of embedding social media into higher education with particular emphasis on teacher education.  It is my hope that my presentation will support the need for iCitizenship in teacher education to further support global collaboration with classrooms, students and teachers across the country and around the world via Twitter.

Please leave a comment below sharing where you are from and any comments. Also, I’d be most appreciative if you would RT this blog post to see if we can get it seen/heard around the world!

Thank you for sharing your time, talent and passion with the world!

*Here’s the link to the presentation I did for the 13th Annual International Week. This entire project has been so inspiring! My 7 year old was actively involved keeping a tally on all the locations that have responded.  He looked up every place on a world map and as a result started his first blog.  He wants to keep the geography lesson going, so please take a moment to visit his blog, Around the World With Curran and leave a comment where you are from and a fun fact about your location.  Make sure you see my son as a guest blogger for Angela Maiertoo!

#ICIT21: ICITIZENSHIP TOWN HALL MEETING ON 2/9

By | February 3rd, 2012|Digital Citizenship|

In October, I was lucky to watch the live streamed event: Stand Up to Cyberbullying Town Hall Meeting at the Fields Museum in Chicago.  I was amazed that I was in Connecticut and still able to participate in this critical conversation.  During the event, I thought we need to engage more people in this conversation all over the country and world!  The very next day, I started planning how we could have a Town Hall Meeting on our campus.  Thrilled that it has become a reality! Please use #iCit21 to follow and live tweet our Town Hall Meeting.  The event will be live streamed on http://dialogue21.wordpress.com.

The School of Education at Saint Joseph College presents:

iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting

Moderated by Brad Drazen – NBC Connecticut News Anchor

Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The Bruyette Athenaeum’s Hoffman Auditorium

1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. – The School of Education at Saint Joseph College, in collaboration with SAGE (Student Advisory Group in Education), will present an iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in The Bruyette Athenaeum’s Hoffman Auditorium located on the College’s West Hartford campus at 1678 Asylum Avenue. Admission is free of charge and the community is cordially invited to participate. Join us for this event which will engage students, teachers, parents, administrators and policy makers in a conversation on creating a positive school climate to address bullying and cyberbullying issues.

Many positive opportunities have resulted from advances in technology. While computers and digital devices are constantly evolving, parents and educators need to help children use technology as socially responsible online citizens, promoting healthy interpersonal relations with their peers and avoiding inappropriate behavior that can lead to cyberbullying.

Moderated by Brad Drazen, weekday morning co-anchor of NBC Connecticut News Today, Saint Joseph College’s iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting Panel on February 9 will feature:

  • Dr. Jo Ann Freiberg, associate education consultant; School Climate, Bullying, and Character education at the Connecticut Department of Education
  • Dr. Jordan Grossman, assistant superintendent, Canton Public Schools; adjunct professor – School of Education at Saint Joseph College
  • Donna Sodipo, director of education services, Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
  • Craig Outhouse, assistant principal, Woodland School, East Hartford
  • Ryan Brown, behavioral intervention specialist, McDonough Expeditionary Learning School, Hartford
  • Nicholas Howley, Saint Joseph College graduate student and Admissions Officer at Goodwin College
  • Quinn McDonald, Saint Joseph College freshman and student representative from the College’s First-Year seminar entitled, “Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen

Best part of our Town Hall Meeting?  We will be Skyping in with Beth Sanders and her students in Birmingham, AL!  They will kick off our panel with positive solutions on how students can collaborate on #digcit projects to make a difference.  Quinn McDonald will represent our First Year Seminar’s class: Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen?  For more information about our iCitizen project: Be The Change.

#DIGCIT CHAT: A DEFINING MOMENT

By | January 12th, 2012|Digital Citizenship|

Last night was a defining moment for me as I watched an idea become a reality. Last May I began planning how to teach my first First Year Seminar at our college.  I hoped the seminar would define their college experience.  The course was called, Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? I wrote a post looking to collaborate, High School Skype and Twitter Project Request.  Many people responded with interest, but only Beth Sanders made it happen.

We met later face to face at ISTE in June and really started to plan our #fys11 #icitizen project, but even as the semester began, I was not sure how we would really get to a final product.  A constructivist approach to teaching and learning plus a little help from Skype, Twitter, Schoology, Posterous, Prezi and YouTube made it all possible.  College freshmen from Connecticut collaborating with high school juniors from Alabama – what I had wanted to be a defining moment for my college freshmen became a defining moment for me.  Students separated by geography defining What does it means to be a citizen nationally, globally and digitally?  Amazing! What was the best part of being part of a collaborative project?

Last night was beyond fantastic!  @MsSandersTHS and her students co-hosted #digcit, a chat dedicated to empowering students, educators, parents and policy makers to integrate empathy into 21st century learning.  As I’ve read over the archives a few times today, I’m so proud of @MsSandersTHS students and I’m not the only one saying it:

I hope others were inspired and co-host another #digcit chat with their students. Change happens within.  We need to engage more students into this critical conversation.  Please sign up to co-host #digcit chat every Wednesday @ 7pm EST.

As the students said so eloquently last night:

A special thanks to all for supporting #digcit and @MsSandersTHS and her students!  We had 81 contributors last night!  Woo Hoo!

*Posts written during our collaborative project: Local. National. GlobalI care Jamey Rodemeyer;  What is your responsibility – legally and morally?Students as Change Agents;  A Million Reasons and More; A Teachable Moment in Line Waiting for Santa; Thirteen Reasons Why

EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE

By | October 1st, 2011|Digital Citizenship|

Adolescence hasn’t changed.  Young adolescents still recycle the same three questions all day long: Who am I? How do others view me? And where do I fit in?  I asked those questions and so did generations before me.  I was awkward as an adolescent.  Who wasn’t?  I made poor choices.  Who didn’t?  The only difference was I wasn’t answering these questions online.

Today’s adolescents have a difficult road to navigate.  Their frontal lobes haven’t developed any more quickly, but social media is recording their every move and decision.  It actually reminds me of one of my favorite songs from high school, “Every Breath You Take”.  (Make sure you listen to the song while you read this post.)

Who would have thought that a 1983 song would depict the future?  Just some of the lyrics: “Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.  Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you.  Every move you make, every vow you break, every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you….”  

How can we help teenagers survive adolescence in a digital age?  How can we teach and not preach about the seriousness of their digital footprint/tattoo? How can we engage more students in this conversation?