BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

September 2, 2019
by blogwalker
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#DigCit in the 2019-2020 School Year

As students and staff settle into the school year, it’s time to review new resources for teaching digital citizenship. I’m lucky to share this annual task with Kathleen Watt, co-director of our district’s digital citizenship program.

Every September, we send out an email to our school site #DigCit coordinators with a link to a Google Form for them to submit their Digital Citizenship Implementation Plan, an overview of specific lessons to be taught, along with any school events (assemblies, rallies, Parent Nights, etc.) they will be hosting.

The email also includes recommended resources for students, teachers, and parents. So far, our 2019-2020 list of #DigCit resources includes:

From the #ISTE19 Conference:

From Common Sense EducationCommon Sense also led digital citizenship sessions at #ISTE19, sharing their completed set of new or updated K-12 lessons, which all open in Google Docs and Slides, and are integrated into Google Classroom:

  • Hoaxes and FakesOne of the lessons Common Sense highlighted was a new lesson for 9th grade … created from the ideas and resources Kathleen and I originally shared during our 2016 Saturday Seminar and then went on to share and present with Rob Appel and Common Sense’s Kelly Mendoza at Spring CUE. Like many of the new Common Sense lessons, Hoaxes and Fakes can be taught as a stand alone or better yet, integrated into a science, English or history/social studies class to bring an awareness to media literacy as an essential skill for today’s research projects.

    Kelly Mendoza, Gail Desler, and Rob Appel.

  • 2019 Digital Citizenship Curriculum Crosswalk – The best way to view all the changes and updates from Common Sense is to click on the link and explore the new content, which, in their words, “includes lessons and resources easier to use and more relevant for teachers and students today.”
  • When is your brain ready for social media? – Common Sense, KQED and PBS have collaborated on a video to bring awareness to what rights students are giving up when they “Accept” the terms of use for 13+ apps, games, etc. The video could be a great conversation starter on privacy issues.

  • Parent Resources – Common Sense continues to create wonderful resources to bring parents into digital citizenship conversations. I love the new Tech Balance app for parents of 3-8 year-olds, which sends parents weekly tips and resources. Common Sense’s Research section is continually updated with “reliable, independent data on children’s use of media and technology and the impact it has on their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.”

A few more #digcit challenges:

We’ll be sending out the email by the end of next week. If you have #DigCit resources to add to our list, please jump in and leave a comment.

Wishing everyone a great start to the new school year.

Snapshot of Gail Desler and Natalie Bernasconi at Microsoft celebration in Seattle

February 24, 2019
by blogwalker
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How Can a Distracted Generation Learn Anything? – An Interview with BBC

Two weeks ago, via my district email, Nicholas Mancall-Bitel contacted me with a request:

“I’m a freelance writer working on an article for BBC Capital about the challenges of teaching Gen Z (ages 10-24) and Gen Alpha (ages 0-9) students.

The basic premise of my piece is something like ‘How to Teach a Distracted Generation,’ focusing on how teachers can engage young digital natives who are accustomed to app engagement, video, screens, social media and other digital platforms. I would love to learn more from you about the particular obstacles teachers face today in teaching digital natives, as well as the ways teachers have integrated digital citizenship and new educational media into classes in order to engage these students.”

He also explained that he was on a tight deadline. We connected for an interview on February 11; on February 20, How Can a Distracted Generation Learn Anything? was posted to the BBC website.

As co-director of my district’s digital citizenship program, I am always looking for opportunities – like Nicholas Mancall-Bitel’s request – to showcase the work of colleagues who develop innovative, meaningful ways of meeting their students’ needs. I immediately reached out to four outstanding educators for feedback:

Natalie Bernasconi – Natalie teaches in the Salinas Unified High School District and also mentors future teachers through UC Santa Cruz’s credentialing program . We met about 12 years ago through the National Writing Project. It has been my privilege to learn from and collaborate with Natalie on numerous projects, conferences, and summits (e.g., MERIT11, CUE, ISTE, Google Teacher Academy, Common Sense) and to co-author Driving Without a License, Digital Writing Without Digital Citizenship, the opening article for Using Technology to Enhance Writing. Although Mancall-Bitel referenced one of Natalie’s strategies in the article, I wanted share all of her thoughts on the topic:

  • If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em is one response. I use a lot of short video and music clips to augment my lesson plan. Youtube can be a teacher’s best friend
  • Technology can provide creative alternatives to traditional methods for students to demonstrate their learning. as well FlipGrid is one – which mimics the selfie/video world our teens inhabit.
  • I actively seek to empower my (Title 1) students to recognize their addiction using naming and questioning strategies.  It doesn’t work to just take away their phones – there are liability issues that make that an unwise action, and it makes them jones for it even more. Instead I ask students about the choices they are making and the priorities they have for themselves.  I remind them of their goals for themselves.  As a last resort, I have a plastic tub that I invite repeat offenders to place their phone in if they find themselves unable to control their fomo.  This is an ongoing battle that I face daily with some of my students.
  • We adults are struggling with the same issues. I found my own weekly iPhone summary to be shocking and then highly motivating to decrease my own screen time.
  •  I also try to leverage mindfulness strategies. There’s a series of soothing scenes you can choose from Calm.com, which my students love. Sometimes, we will take 1-2 minutes at the beginning of class to enjoy a scene and intentionally set our minds to focus. Students will even request this when they come in to my class when they feel a need to calm themselves.  We also do a few breathing techniques from time to time to help them be fully present in the room.  This has a measurable impact on the amount of distractedness in my students.
  • Students are aware of the addictive grip that tech has on their lives. Last semester, students  worked in groups to research and present on a contemporary issue, and several different groups across my class periods chose to research nomophobia, and its impact on people.
  • Above all, the most impactful way I am able to keep my students engaged is through culturally relevant pedagogy.  Just this morning, in my news feed, an interview came up  with the author of The Hate U Give, which I can powerfully connect to the district-mandated curriculum I am teaching on the American Dream. Infusing these types of texts helps connect students to the world and to their own lives.
Photo collage of Natalie Bernasconi and Gail Desler

A few photo opps with Natalie

Erica Swift – Like Natalie, Erica chooses to teach at a Title I school, and is committed to leveling the playing field for her students by using technology to bring experts into the classroom. In this videoconference, for instance, students are learning from a California State Parks ranger (through the PORTS program) about the monarch butterfly. From videoconferencing to video production, she offers her students opportunities to dig deeper into topics they care about and to share their findings with an authentic audience. Erica spoke directly with Mancall-Bitel, who included several of her quotes in the article.

Cathe Petuya – Cathe teaches with Erica and shares the same commitment to teaching for social justice. Cathe is also the PORTS poster child, with her Gold Rush videoconference posted to the PORTS landing page. If you listen to the videoconference, you will understand why I try to visit Cathe’s classes whenever possible. I leave every visit energized by her passion for teaching and her ability to build a learning community where every voice matters.

I forwarded Cathe’s response to Mancall-Bitel… just missing his publication deadline. Darn. Every thought Cathe has shared below is a conversation starter:

Yes, our students today are distracted.  They are used to fast-paced programming without time for reflection or even polite debate.  This practice has left them with a strong desire to bond with others on a more personal level but without the skills to do it in a healthy way.  Emotions run high and give way to outbursts frequently.  Or students are so used to being in the background or left on their own that it’s very difficult to get them to participate. Both extremes lack the social skills to solve interpersonal challenges and get their needs met. So my teaching is all about the relationships I build with my students.  Nothing matters until they know they matter to me.

Today’s students have been fed a steady diet of “fast food” in every facet of their lives.  The gift of time has been cast aside for the misguided goal of accomplishing more sooner.  We have to realize that children’s physical and emotional development can’t be rushed, but it can be derailed. And that is what is present in my classroom every day.  I have many, many students who have been exposed to a myriad of grown-up concepts without guidance or discussion to help children process all that they experience.

Deeper learning occurs during periods of reflection.  More information is retained when it is connected to a story.  It is how humans are wired.  So I try to embed opportunities for students to talk often, listen to others, and respond with a personal connection.  By focusing on these needs, I know I can create an environment where students trust me and their classmates so they feel safe to take risks and try again when they stumble.

VoiceThread and Seesaw, the Learning Journal, are my top go-tos  for getting students to reflect and respond. They work perfectly for any age group and on any topic and on any device. The point of those options is for students to tell their story and connect with others beyond the classroom.  It is the perfect way to expand their vision of what could be and practice kindness and consideration for others – a key component of learning digital citizenship. Adding in video production reveals many more layers of skills to be built through collaboration, planning, and performance. Kids want to do and share and be known.  Tech used in the right way can make all that happen and so much more.

Photo of Gail Desler, Cathe Petuya, and Sandy Hayes at ISTE 2018 Conference in Chicago.

Celebrating #ISTE18 with Cathe Petuya (left) and Sandy Hayes (right)

Conrad Bituin – I had the privilege of co-presenting with Conrad at my district’s Digital Kids, Digital Classroom Saturday Seminar – and am looking forward to more opportunities to collaborate with and learn from him. I sent Conrad’s response along with Cathe’s, again, just missing Mancall-Bitel’s deadline. Each of his five suggestions is a gem:

  • Most important thing for me is to try to incorporate their “outside” interests into assignments, or even just into the class discussion. This starts with relationship building, and ends with authentic differentiation.
  • More technology related – I use what some would call “app smashing” (See https://k12technology.weebly.com/app-smashing.html). I try different combinations of technology tools to create an experience for the student. Youtube is great, until you get to the 10th video – then it’s “just another youtube video.” Combining various tools and technologies allows the student to experience content in different ways.
  • I try to keep in mind that just because many of our students are digital natives that have only known life with a device, this doesn’t translate to being successful in every aspect of technology. We still have conversations about appropriate use, class expectations, and effective use of technology (just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should). I also keep this in mind when introducing new applications – many students still need to be instructed on how to use the system, and when.
  • The old educational adage “voice and choice” can also be harnessed in limitless combinations through the use of technology!
Photo from Saturday Seminar session with Gail Desler and Conrad Bituin

Saturday Seminar Twitter session with Conrad Bituin

Teaching to a “distracted generation” is a reality and an ever-changing challenge. I am pretty sure if you read the BBC article and the additional insights shared in this post, you will start the week with new ideas to best engage your easily distracted students in whatever topic or subject you are addressing.

I would love for this post to be an ongoing discussion on tips and best practices for building and maintaining student engagement. You are warmly invited to leave a comment.

 

February 18, 2019
by blogwalker
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Protecting Students from Hate-Motivated Behavior

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Ruby Bridges and marshals leaving William Frantz Elementary School, New Orleans, 1960. Image in Public Domain.

What resources does your district make available for “protecting students from hate-motivated behavior”?

Kathleen Watt and I were recently asked this question by our district’s Educational Equity Specialist, in preparation for the March 5 school board meeting. The board will be addressing current board policy, which calls for “providing professional learning to staff in recognizing and preventing hate-motivated behaviors and providing instruction to students and families to do the same.”

Below are the resources we shared. Like many large districts, our district departments often operate in silos, not necessarily aware of the work Kathleen and I do. So we prefaced the list with a quick introduction:

“EGUSD is a Common Sense District. This designation is due to 76% of EGUSD schools teaching Common Sense lessons as part of their required digital citizenship curriculum. CS lessons are designed and developed in partnership with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hate Speech is included in one of the six topics (Cyberbullying, Digital Drama & Hate Speech) addressed through CS curriculum.These lessons meet standards for Common Core ELA, CASEL and ISTE.”

Online Resources

From Common Sense

Grade 3
The Power of Words – What should you do when someone uses mean or hurtful language on the internet?

Grade 4
Super Digital Citizen – How can we be upstanders when we see cyberbullying?

Grade 5
What’s Cyberbullying? – What is cyberbullying and what can you do to stop it?

Grade 6/7
Upstanders and Allies: Taking Action Against Cyberbullying – How can you respond when cyberbullying occurs?

Grades 6-9
Upstanders, Not Bystanders – I created this lesson on what it means to cross the line from “bystander” to “upstander” several years ago for Common Sense.  Note: Although the lesson is designed for grades 6-9, the Upstanders Not Bystanders VoiceThread is an invitation to Kindergarten – Senior Citizens to share an “upstander” story. The project was inspired by Margaret Mead’s above quote.

Link to Upstanders Not Bystanders VoiceThread: https://voicethread.com/myvoice/share/4134620 (you must be logged in to view)

Grade 8
Responding to Online Hate Speech – How should you respond to online hate speech?

Grades 9-12
Breaking Down Hate SpeechHow can you create a community culture in which hate speech is unacceptable, both online and offline? Several years ago, I had the privilege of observing how a high school English teacher and a history teacher wove this lesson into a unit on the Holocaust, making a powerful connection from “then and there” to “here and now.”
Turn Down the Dial on Cyberbullying – Which factors intensify cyberbullying and online cruelty, and what can you do to lessen them?
Taking Perspectives on Cyberbullying – How does online cruelty affect the people involved?

Other Resources

In addition to Common Sense resources, we share other national resources addressing hate motivated behavior and strategies for confronting all forms of exclusion and intolerance:

Teaching Tolerance – In addition to lessons and resources for confronting hate and intolerance, Teaching Tolerance also offers online professional development through webinars. Teaching Tolerance is project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which also offers a variety of resources, including 10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response.

Media Smarts – Media Smarts, a Canadian organization for promoting “digital and media literacy,” offers excellent, vetted resources, including a guide for educators on Responding to Online 

Anti-Defamation League/Crossing Lines Summer Seminars – The organization has expanded its resources and lessons beyond its initial mission of combating anti-semitism to include all forms of exclusion, hate and intolerance. We’ve connected with staff members of ADL through No Place For Hate workshops over the years.

ADL representatives have also been regular presenters at our Crossing Lines Summer Seminars.

Media Literacy Workshops
As part of our media literacy workshops, district and statewide (ISTE, CUE and CA League of Schools), we include resources such as The Dangerous Speech Project, strategies for deconstructing URLs (Stormfront and other hate organizations) and confronting bias (our own filter bubbles) and hate.

Literature

Never underestimate the power of a single story to change hearts and minds. I’ve read and loved many of the books on Common Sense’s Books That Teach Empathy list. I strongly believe that promoting empathy through stories can be an effective strategy in derailing hate speech.

Anne Frank, Montessori School, Amsterdam

I often think back to 7th grade, the first time I studied about the Holocaust. The staggering statistics were unimaginable to me. But a single story, the Diary of Ann Frank, provided a window into the genocide of over six million Jews.

Although I probably did not recognize it at the time, Anne’s story was life-changing, starting me on a journey that led to attending the Shoah Institute (back when it was on a back lot of Universal Studios), joining the TOLI Holocaust Educators Network, making the pilgrimage to Manzanar, bike ‘n barging across Holland with Holocaust survivor Hannie Voyles, initiating the Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project, and joining humanitarian Carl Wilkens for a journey to Rwanda.

Hannie Voyles,, Montessori School, Amsterdam

I hope to return on a regular basis to update this post with additional suggestions. For now, here’s this list:

I doubt there has been a time in history when hate speech did not exist. A downside of the digital age is the spread at which it can now be spreed.

But we can make a difference. The many stories shared in the Upstanders Not Bystanders VoiceThread stand as testimony to our ability to make a difference, whether through a group effort/movement or by a single individual. I am looking at my copy of I Am Malala and thinking about the incredible difference a single child can make and the power and pull of education to inspire action. Next to Malala’s book is my copy of I’m Not Leaving, Carl Wilken’s story of how respect, compassion, and empathy were the driving forces that kept him in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

I have more room on my bookshelf. Please keep the upstander stories coming, along with curriculum and resources we can bring into the classroom to protect our students from hate-motivated behaviors.

February 16, 2019
by blogwalker
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Navigating Digital Information: John Green’s Fantastic Crash Course

I am a huge fan of author John Green. I’m currently reading Looking for Alaskaand The Fault in Our Stars has a permanent space in my bookcase. So I don’t know why it even surprised me that John Green would also focus his creative talents on developing a fantastic media literacy resource: Navigating Digital Information. This 10-episode Crash Course series was developed in partnership with the Poynter Institute MediaWise project:

MediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative, funded by Google.org, and aims to teach 1 million teenagers how to spot fake news on the internet by 2020, with at least half of them coming from undeserved or low-income communities.

The centerpiece of the project is a new curriculum being written by grant partner Stanford History Education Group that will be available to schools across the country in the fall of 2019. Stanford is writing this curriculum after studying how professional fact-checkers, college students and historians navigate digital information. The foundation of the Stanford lessons is built on skills that professional fact-checkers use after Stanford discovered that fact-checkers and journalists are more critical and think very differently about what they read on the internet and how they sort through misleading or flat-out false information.”

If you have colleagues who ban the use of Wikipedia, be sure to share with them Using Wikipedia: Crash Course Navigating Digital Information:

A year ago, after reading Mike Caulfield’s What Reading Laterally Means and watching this Common Sense video, my colleague Kathleen Watt (co-director of our district’s Digital Citizenship program) and I wanted to include a lesson on lateral reading in our Media Literacy Resources. We could not find one. So we created Flex Your Fact-Checking Muscles – Lateral Reading. In the Media Literacy Vocabulary section, we included a video for each term – except for lateral reading because, again, we could not find one. Yesterday I revisited our lesson/hyperdoc and added  John Green’s Check Yourself with Lateral Reading:

If you visit our Flex Your Fact-Checking Muscles lesson, be sure to scroll to the bottom, where you will find an invitation to your students:

Students-teaching-students is a powerful teaching model. We have included a video in the Explore section of a teacher talking to other teachers about fact-checking and lateral reading. We would love to replace this video with a student-created video, slideshow and/or infographic to show what lateral reading looks like from the perspective and experience of a student fact-checker. Go for it!”

We extend the above invitation to students across the globe.

Media Literacy / Digital Citizenship 4 Themes by Elk Grove Unified School District is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

photos of students using devices.

February 5, 2019
by blogwalker
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Digital Citizenship – Joining the #michED and #DigCit Tweet Chat

I’ve marked my calendar for 5:00 pm (PT), February 6, to join Kristen Mattson for the #michED Tweet chat on digital citizenship.

Tweet chats are public conversations, via Twitter, connected by a unique hashtag (#).  If you haven’t participated in a Tweet chat before, I can promise you it’s a fast-moving hour! For that reason, I’m drafting my initial responses to Kristen’s seven questions in advance so I can fully focus on the chat. Thank you, Rachelle Wynkoop, for posting and sharing the questions a week ahead via the graphic below.

Each of the seven chat questions invites discussion at a global, national, district or school site level, starting with Q1. The challenge is to limit your answers to 280 characters (the maximum number of characters allowed by Twitter).

Q1: To help develop a shared understanding of ‘digital citizenship’ as a concept, please complete this sentence:

I want my students to be digital citizens who can/are ____________.

A1: I want want  my students to be digital citizens who are ready and willing to confront hate speech & other acts of intolerance by crossing the line from bystander to upstander, changing school culture and climate where/when needed. #michED


Q2: Who “owns” digital citizenship lessons in your school or district? When/where are students receiving these lessons?

A2: We are hoping to see a shift in our district from #DigCit lessons being taught as stand alone lessons during advisory period or computer lab time to a more integrated approach. We are also reaching out to see if/how other districts evaluate #digcit on report cards. #michED


Q3: A lot of digital citizenship curriculum focus on personal behaviors over skill development. What are some of the skills digital citizens need to be successful in global communities? How are you helping students gain those skills?

A3: Using technology to take student voices beyond the classroom and zip code is a priority. Today thru tools like blogging, videoconferencing, VoiceThreading, etc., students can effectively read, write and communicate with authentic audiences on topics they care about. #michED


Q4: Digital citizens should have opportunities to explore digital ethics. For example, “Should the government be able to access data collected by private companies?” What areas of digital ethics do you think students should explore?

A4: Although protecting online privacy is one of four main themes for our district #digcit program, this year we’re putting a focus on protecting student data privacy. The sample question is a great one to spark classroom conversations and drive interest-based research. #michED


Q5: A hot topic in digital citizenship right now is balance. How do you balance time online and off? What does “balance” mean to you? How might you help student reflect on their digital practices and achieve a healthy balance?

A5: I’m trying to find that balance myself. If I were in the classroom, I might share my “screen time diet” plan, which starts with cutting back on the number of times I check my phone. Will also be using iPhone’s screen time weekly stats. #michED


Q6: Reflect on your own knowledge and abilities as a teacher of digital citizens. What is one way you can grow this year? How might you go about improving your content knowledge or practice?

A6: In 2018, #MediaLiteracy for students was a top priority. In 2019, #MediaLiteracy/#DigCit for adults is a priority. We could all benefit from a #MediaLit skill set. Would love to hear what others are doing on this topic. #michED


Q7. What are some of your favorite resources for teaching digital citizens? Hit us up with links to activities, blog posts, books and more.

A7: Common Sense is at the top of my list. I love the range of relevant resources, for parents as well as for students and teachers, covering all areas of #DigCit. #michED

A7: For the latest research on cyberbullying,  I appreciate Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin continually updating the Cyberbullying Research Center website. #michED

A7: For tips on protecting student data privacy, I like the Connect Safely’s Parent Guide  and Common Sense’s Tips for Teachers short video. #michED

I’m looking forward to joining and learning from Wednesday’s #DigCit chat. If you would like to join the chat, but need a little guidance on how Tweet chats work, here is a great guide from Janet Fouts. If you cannot join the chat live, you can always follow up on the questions and answers by putting #michED into your Twitter search bar.

Hope to see you Wednesday.

Digital Citizenship in Action

October 1, 2018
by blogwalker
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“Hacking the Learning Standards” with #DigCit Connections

 

“Stop thinking about digital citizenship as a stand-alone technology topic and begin thinking about it as an essential component of a well-rounded humanities curriculum.” Kristen Mattson, Digital Citizenship in Action

A top priority of my day-time job is co-directing my district’s Digital Citizenship program. Last week a teacher at one of our elementary sites reached out with concerns about a recent string of events, ranging from cyberbullying to even an attempted hack into some of their canned curriculum programs. As the computer resource teacher (CRT), he is the single staff member tasked with teaching digital citizenship, the norm for most of our elementary schools.

Yes, that would be teaching “digital citizenship as a stand-alone technology topic.” My co-director, Kathleen Watt, and I are constantly rethinking best practices to help teachers embed digital citizenship into the core curriculum in ways that go beyond stand-alone or one-and-done approaches and that bring students into an on-going conversation and commitment to practice good citizenship in person and online.

We often share (tweet, blog, text, email) #digcit tips from Kristen Mattson, pulling from her wonderful ISTE publication Digital Citizenship in Action – Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities. So I was delighted this week to receive the fall edition of ISTE’s quarterly magazine, Empowered Learner, in which Dr. Mattson’s article “Embed digital citizenship in all subjects” is the featured spotlight article. The article is a reminder and wake-up call to start “hacking learning standards to create opportunities to weave digital citizenship education into content area classes.” This process is exactly what Kathleen and I needed to help our elementary teacher.

Adding to the process, Saturday morning I received an email notification that Nicole Nadiz had posted new content to my Collaboration in Common feed: Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Digital Citizenship. I love this Google Doc! It’s a road map to “hacking learning standards.” Nicole has paired CCSS with Model School Library Standards (MSLS) and Common Sense Education. It took all of 3 minutes to add Common Sense Digital Citizenship connections to the Teacher Notes of our ART of Reading Laterally lesson. One down, three to go (The Forbidden Treasure, On Coming to America, I’m Not Leaving).

Whether it’s your own curriculum or district-adopted curriculum, having Nicole Nadiz’s document really speeds up the process for making the digital citizenship connections for whatever Common Core ELA Standards are listed in a lesson. Please note that Nicole has also invited educators to add their lesson samples via this Google Form. I just submitted The Art of Reading Laterally.

“Helping students explore the fine line between our technology and our humanity can be the work of every educator if we’re willing to be creative in the ways we think about curriculum and the ways we think about digital citizenship.” Kristen Mattson

#digcitcommit

 

July 29, 2018
by blogwalker
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#DigCitCommit – Heading into the New School Year

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

April 22, 2018
by blogwalker
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Five #DigCit Shout Outs to ISTE

I’ve been a long-time fan and promoter of ISTE’s significant contributions to digital citizenship resources for teachers and students. So I wanted to give some #DigCit shout outs:

Shout Out #1: ISTE Standards for Educators – Standard 3: Citizen – I love the emphasis on students as creators and contributors, not just consumers of information. And in an age of fake news, Standard 3B is a must-have skill.

ISTE Standard 3B graphic

Includes link to download and print poster.


Shout Out #2: ISTE #DigCit Posters and Infographics – Starting with their Citizenship in a Digital Age poster, which compares citizen vs. digital citizen, to their more recent Today’s News: Real or Fake infographic and accompanying article, ISTE’s #digcit visuals provide an instant window into current topics and issues.

Click on the graphic to open a printable version.


Shout Out #3: ISTE Publications – From Mike Ribble’s Digital Citizenship in School, to my most recent purchase, Kristen Mattson’s Digital Citizenship in Action, and, of course, the quarterly entrsekt publication, I love being able to share hard copies of “thought-provoking articles on edtech trends, columns by influential and innovative leaders from within and outside the education world, as well as examples of best practices and edtech in action.” ISTE publications have a designated space in my bookcase.

Come join the Digital Citizenship in Action book study!


Shout Out #4: ISTE #digcitPLN – Several weeks ago, the awesome Nancy Watson tagged me in a Tweet that drew me into ISTE’s #digcitPLN. The Tweet included a link to her blog post How We Grow into a #DigCitStateOfMind, where she has embedded a Piktochart: Stages of Growth into a
#DigCitStateofMind. If you need a quick way to ignite school and/or district conversations on strategies for moving from Digital Aversion (Stage 1) to Digital Action (Stage 4), send your thank you’s to Nancy.

#digcit poster/conversation starter from ISTE’s Nancy Watson.

Last week, I joined the #digcitPLN chat, and look forward to more ways to connect with this dynamic group committed to tackling #digcit challenges and opportunities.

Questions from April 19 #digcitPLN chat.

Questions from April 19 #digcitPLN chat.

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I am also hugely honored to be the recipient of the ISTE #digcitPLN inaugural Digital Citizenship Network Award. The opportunity to join and meet other ISTE Professional Learning Networks awardees for a special breakfast will be the highlight of my 2018 Conference experience.     

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Shout Out # 5: ISTE & Teachers Guild Collaboration – The Teachers Guild had a great idea: Sponsor an online challenge for teachers to create lessons that “empower students to be better digital students,” open a voting window, and award the top three entrants with a year’s membership to ISTE and the opportunity to present their ideas and lessons at ISTE’s annual conference in June.

ISTE and Teachers Guild sponsor a contest for creating digital citizenship lessons.

Eleven #digcit lessons made it to the final round.

I am honored that Can I Use That? A Guild to Creative Commons, Copyright and Fair Use made the top three!


Thank you, ISTE, for the many ways you continue to walk your mission talk:

ISTE inspires educators worldwide to use technology to innovate teaching and learning, accelerate good practice and solve tough problems in education by providing community, knowledge and the ISTE Standards, a framework for rethinking education and empowering learners.”

 

I’m starting my countdown to the June Annual Conference – and the opportunity to give my #digcit shout outs in person to all my ISTE heroes.

April 3, 2018
by blogwalker
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Why We Need to Teach Media Literacy

“Media literacy is a constellation of life skills that are necessary for full participation in our media-saturated, information-rich society.” Renee Hobbs, Center for Media Literacy

In the eight years I have been co-directing my district’s digital citizenship program, new challenges and new resources have called for regular updates to our Digital Citizenship website, which is organized around four main themes: cyberbullying, digital footprint, intellectual property, online privacy.

EGUSD #DigCit logo

EGUSD #DigCit logo

This school year, in recognition that we are living and teaching in a “post-truth” era, my co-director Kathleen Watt and I been gathering and curating resources to prepare students – and teachers – to deal with the escalating onslaught of fake news and disinformation. It was definitely time to integrate “media literacy” into our digital citizenship program and workshops.

So we were rather surprised – and disturbed – by social media scholar danah boyd’s recent SXSWEDU talk: What Hath We Wrought? We were not expecting her negative views on the value of teaching media literacy, even though she begins with a warning that the content may be provocative.

It has been validating to learn that other educators who are passionate about the need to teach media literacy have also found boyd’s message a bit off and are speaking out on where boyd is mistaken. A shout out to the three educators listed below for stepping up to a global microphone. I’ve included a snippet from each of their posts, along with the link, so you can read each post in its entirety, which I highly recommend doing. Each posts succinctly counters boyd’s points.

Jonathan RogersTeaching Media Literacy With A Cape After SXSWEdu

“boyd’s speech has unsettled me, but it has also made me believe more in the ways I have found to teach media literacy. Now back in my classroom, I see students grappling with bias, publishing important stories, reading the news on their phones through a variety of sources, and taking pride in the rising power of student voices. The complexity of the screen world doesn’t look so complex to me when I see real students working in a journalism classroom.”

 

Faith RogowWhat a Media Literacy Educator Hears When danah boyd Talks About Media Literacy

“Oddly, boyd reduces media literacy to a superficial version of fact-checking and describes it as “fundamentally, a form of critical thinking that asks people to doubt what they see.” That makes her “nervous.” It would make me nervous, too – if that was what we actually did. It’s not.

Media literacy education doesn’t teach students to “doubt” what they see; it teaches students to interrogate what they see, and to do it routinely. We call it “inquiry.” That isn’t the same as doubting. And it’s not just a matter of semantics.”

 

Renee Hobbs (always my first and foremost go-to mentor for media literacy questions!) – Freedom to Choose: An Existential Crisis – A Response to boyd’s “What Hath We Wrought?”

“Media literacy education is a pedagogical approach that aims to be continually responsive to the ever-changing media, technology and cultural environment. A visit to the annual National Council of Teachers of English conference would enable boyd to recognize the amazing work of middle school and high school English teachers who explore media literacy through film analysis, analysis of social media, making media with a smartphone, digital storytelling, the study of memes, fandom, reality TV, celebrity culture and more. Media literacy competencies are embedded in the Common Core Standards and they promote academic achievement….

…Whether students are analyzing and creating hip-hop, examining propaganda, creating public service announcements, composing Scratch animation, or studying the patterns of representation in Disney films, they’re engaged in a learning process that creates opportunities for dialogue and reflection on the choices we make as creators and consumers.”

 

Eight years later, the four themes still remain at the heart of our digital citizenship program. In thinking through a program update, we realized that media literacy was not a separate 5th focus, but rather the overarching framework for digital/global citizenship. Media literacy is the key to unlocking the critical thinking skills needed to confront online bullying, to build and maintain a positive digital footprint, to respect and create/remix intellectual property, and to protect online privacy.

Our Digital Citizenship website now has a Media Literacy page and a new logo.

If you have media literacy resources you recommend we add, please leave a comment.

February 8, 2018
by blogwalker
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Digital Citizenship – It’s not just for students

In recognition that we are living in a “post-truth” era, rampant with “fake news,” and that we all need media literacy skills, I’ve been gathering resources, collaborating with colleagues, and creating presentations geared to both students and staff. I’m adding to my Media Literacy site almost daily, with a weekly featured resource.

For the past 10 years, I’ve been co-directing my district’s digital citizenship program with my colleague Kathleen Watt. We’ve recently been discussing ideas for merging media literacy into our digital citizenship resources, with possibly a new logo coming soon.

A recent article by Keegan Korf, Embracing Our Digital Footprints and Guiding Students to Curate and Reshape Their Own, has us rethinking how we’ve been rolling out our program. Until now, our focus has been solely on students. While we provide a wide range of resources for teachers and parents to use with their students and their children, Keegan’s infographic (below) serves as a timely reminder that we should also be providing resources to help adults be aware of the need to be role models and to build and maintain positive digital footprints.

digital citizenship infographic by Keegan Korf

Infographic created by Keegan Korf

It’s not difficult to find excellent videos for students, such as Netsmartz’ 2 Kinds of Stupid, on how quickly your online reputation can destroy future job opportunities, scholarship options, and more.

But what about digital footprint videos for adults? I’m wondering how many talented, young teachers applying for positions in school districts across the nation will not even make it to the first interview due to something they’ve posted on social media. TED Talks such as Megan’s You Posted What?! could help “xennials” or anyone just entering the job market to stop and think before posting, retweeting, etc.

I appreciate the stellar work ISTE has done in developing (digital) citizenship standards for educators.

Over the next few months, I would like to gather examples of the many ways educators are modeling Standard 3 – with a special focus on 3a. If you have stories, infographics, TED Talks, lessons, articles, etc., to illustrate how an educator is actively making “positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibiting empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community,” please share by leaving a comment.

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