#DigCitCommit – Heading into the New School Year

Published on: Author: blogwalker Leave a comment

With the start of the new school year only days away, it’s time to send out some new #digcit resources to teachers and administrators. This annual email is something my colleague Kathleen Watt and I send off in August as part of our district’s digital citizenship program. Typically, the new resources come from sessions attended or vendors booths visited during the annual 4-day summer ISTE Conferences, which take place the last week in June.

This year, some wonderful #digcit conversations started a few weeks prior to the ISTE 2018 Conference, thanks to a Tweet from the awesome Nancy Watson. The Tweet included Nancy’s thought-provoking infographic gem 5 Stages of Growth into a #DigCit State of Mind.

Ten years ago, when tasked with supporting district-wide digital citizenship initiatives and programs, Kathleen and I can definitely remember site administrators and teachers who were at Stage 1: Digital Aversion. Over the years, thanks to organizations like Common Sense, ISTE, and Google, we’ve continued to share timely, relevant resources on #digcit topics, ranging from taking a stand on cyberbullying to building a positive digital footprint. This school year, we look forward to being involved in conversations ignited by the 5 Stages infographic as our school sites develop and submit their 2018-19 Digital Citizenship Implementation Plans.

Besides the infographic, Nancy’s Tweet included a powerful hashtag: #digcitpln. Even if you were not at ISTE, a quick Twitter search for #digcitpln will bring up lots of opportunities to participate in upcoming digital citizenship related discussions, chats, and events.

#digcitpln – an invitation to action!

There is another Twitter hashtag we’ll be including in the email: #DigCitCommit. It still gives me chills when I think back to this year’s opening ISTE keynote speech. Chief Executive Officer Richard Culatta’s emphasis on the importance of making sure we are grounded in what it means to be contributing digital citizens set the tone for the conference. His invitation and challenge to share our 2018 commitments to model, teach, and promote positive digital citizenship practices can be followed via #digcitcommit.

Richard Culatta #ISTE18 keynote

There is one more ISTE takeaway we’ll be sharing in our district email. This takeaway is not actually from the conference. It comes from two questions posed by Matt Hiefield on ISTE’s Digital Citizenship PLN Discussions page:

How are school districts assessing digital citizenship behaviors and communicating these behaviors to parents?  Has anyone put digital citizenship language on report cards?”

Matt shared a draft from his school district:

ISTE PLN discussion post from @MattHiefield

If you, like me, are in a large school district, then I’m sure you already know there would be many steps and committees involved in changing district report cards. But baby steps could have a powerful impact and ripple effect. For those monthly student awards assemblies, for instance, how about changing the Good Citizenship Award to the Good (Digital) Citizenship Award?

I know parentheses are typically used to include information that clarifies or is an aside note. I’m proposing that, in the case of (Digital) Citizenship, the parentheses indicate something that goes without saying.

In the 2018-19 school year, I hope to see more school sites recognizing that not only is “digital” part of our students’ lives, but it can also be documented and acknowledged as part of their school day. Students who are using their online voices to address issues and make positive contributions to all the communities to which they belong (online and face-2-face) are already stepping into Stage 5: Digital Advocacy territory

One more bullet point I’m thinking of adding to Matt’s list is “Students verify information before posting or sharing.” I’ll also draft a sample letter that teachers or principals could send home to parents to explain the integration of “digital” into grading practices and policies. The more stakeholders involved in the conversation, the better.

It’s possible I already have an elementary school ready to start the (digital) citizenship conversations.

#DigCitCommit

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