“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.
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
A highlight of my week was attending the California Department of Education’s first Media & Information Literacy Summit here in Sacramento. Below are my top takeaways from a very full day of excellent keynotes, panel discussions, and a resource fair.
Opening Comments: Jennifer Howerter, California Department of Education (CDE) – Jennifer started by going over a few definitions that would be central to our summit conversations:
Media Literacy – “The ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated messages.” NAMLE
Digital Literacy – “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” ALA
Digital Citizenship – “Being kind, respectful and responsible, and participating in activities that make the world a better place.” ISTE
Information Literacy – I like this broad definition, which was new to me, from ALA:
Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:
Determine the extent of information needed
Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
Evaluate information and its sources critically
Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally”
Welcome – Deputy Superintendent Tom Adams, CDE – Deputy Superintendent Adams opened by asking “Has the Internet changed the role of the teacher?” He referenced Stanford Professor Sam Wineburg’s findings that “we can’t assume fluency with media unless we ensure skills of healthy skeptics,” and also included several of Wineburg’s thought-provoking questions and statements:
“Since 2016, with the barrage of information and instruments for sending the information, do we want pre-selected information? Or do we want to individualize our own? We’re in a new context for educators. Students don’t lack media skills, they just need to add to the toolkit. With the California Standards, all core subject matter requires an inquiry-based approach.”
A Superintendent’s Perspective – Encinitas Superintendent Tim Baird, Encinitas Union School District – Loved Tim Baird’s opening quote:
Great journeys all start with driving questions,” … followed by his opening questions “What if we shifted from emphasis on teaching to emphasis on learning? What if we allowed students to Acquire, Analyze, Apply. Rather than start with content, start with process skills….Learning comes first – ahead of teaching. AAA leads to student dreams.”
Baird ended his keynote with a reminder that Media/Information Literacy is a basic human right, referencing UNESCO’s Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy in critical times.
From the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) .
For the Love of Learning – Director of Literacies, Outreach, and Libraries Glen Warren, Encinitas Union School District – I’ve met Glen Warren several times in the last few years, thanks to Jane Lofton’s invitations to attend the Librarian’s Dinner at the annual Spring CUE Conference. But until Wednesday’s Summit, I had never heard Glen present. Oh, my, he is an amazing speaker, who combines insights into changes needed in education with a wonderful sense of humor. I love laughing while learning!
Right off the bat, Glen had us thinking about the difference between telling student to “Go search that vs. Go research that!” His model for ramping up students’ research skills is A E I O U (see graphic below):
AEIOU graphic from Glen Warren.
Luckily for Summit attendees, in the afternoon, Glen stepped on the stage for a second presentation: Curious Skeptics Formulating Questions.
Image in Public Domain – From Wikimedia Commons
I couldn’t find the same shopping cart image Glen used to symbolize “shopping hungry,” which I know (all too well) is never a good idea. But sending students out on the Internet without a list of questions is an equally bad idea. By jump starting the search/research process with an initial list of questions, students start with an intent. I love some of these well-known phrases Glen had us rethinking:
Claim, Evidence, Reasoning – it’s the mantra. But how about we start with some good reasoning. Response to Intervention (high brow) – change to Response to Inspiration.
Essential Question > Essential Student Questions
Begin with the end mind > Begin with the endless in mind
In short, “we are killing students’ capacity to ask questions.” This issue is not limited to K-12, as illustrated in the video Glen showed of Stanford students sharing why they don’t like to ask questions. (If I can find this video, I’ll come back and include it in this post.)
We need to start teaching and encouraging students to ask questions, a skill that is included across the Common Core Standards (i.e, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.3), NGSS (Asking questions and defining problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions, Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.), the Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools, and the California English Language Arts Framework (Students should have many opportunities to creatively respond to texts, produce texts, develop and deliver presentations, and engage in research to explore their own questions.)
Bottom line: “If students are allowed to develop their own questions, they are more likely to be engaged in finding the answers.” Such a simple, powerful strategy to teaching and learning – and probably my top takeaway from the summit.
California Global Education Project (Subject Matter Project) – Executive Director Emily M. Schell, Ed. D., San Diego State – As a longtime, proud member of the California Writing Project, one of nine Subject Matter Projects across state, I was delighted that Emily Schell would be presenting (in place of Dr. Monica Bulger). She drew the audience in from the start by sharing a story of her own son’s learning and career journey, and then presented a compelling case for the need to promote media and information literacy as a pathway to “global competence.”
Emily Schell #MAILS2018 Keynote. Image from @christhejourno
Global Education Summit Report – Published in 2016, has nine recommendations for California, with a focus on considering multiple perspectives, considering audience, engaging in civil discourse, and ending in a Call to Action! Wait! How did I not know about this report?!?
Emily’s work with the California Global Education Project (formerly known as the California International Studies Program) builds on the work I am currently doing with digital citizenship initiatives. I am excited to connect with the CGEP group and learn more about their global citizenship projects.
The summit included three panel presentations, each with different members, with a different set of questions to address. Below is a sampling of questions and responses:
Question: How do we help students work through hyper-partisan media? Response: From Chris Nichols – NPR created Politifact California as a response. “Trust, but verify” (even when referring to NPR).
Question: How should we be rethinking schools? Responses: Establish a credential program for administrators that includes information literacy. CHANGE CREDENTIALING PROGRAMS! Teaching thinking should be at the top. Capstone projects should be included at every grade level. Embed research across the curriculum – so no kids miss out.
Question: How does media/info literacy support student engagement and empowerment? Responses: Media literacy can help bring awareness to a variety of health issues. Kids need to analyze information they’re finding online; they need to be “health literate.” A Health Framework will be released in 2019. Suicide prevention and mental health issues will be included. Check out the Directing Change contest, a venue for kids to create and share Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about critical health topics.
Question: How can we help students understand bias in media? Response:Tara Woodall – Have students google a current event (e.g., Colin Kaepernick). How is the same event depicted in different headlines? Here’s where connotation comes into play. Writing shouldn’t be a formula. Ethical use of information, such as following citation rules, happens naturally when students can carry it into their own writing. Tip: Team up writing teachers with statistics teachers.
Resource Fair Breakout Sessions
Sue Thotz, Common Sense
It’s always a treat to join Common Sense’sSue Thotz (Senior Program Manager, Education) at any event. Here’s a link to Sue’s Summit presentation: News and Media Literacy with Common Sense, which is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amazing – and free – resources Common Sense provides for teachers, students, and parents on current topics connected to digital citizenship.
As co-director of my district’s Digital Citizenship program, I deeply appreciate always having Common Sense’s timely, content-rich lessons and resources to share with teachers. And did I mention that both Kathleen Watt (my #DigCit co-director) and I are both Common Sense Certified – as is our district. 🙂
KQED Like Common Sense, KQED also has a long history of providing resources to engage students (aimed at secondary students) in current topics, via KQED Learn, such as those listed below:
Deeper Dive (from Go Above the Noise) – Explore and then reflect. Students are able to share with other students within the KQED community.
Copyright & Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens
Although they were not included in the schedule, two representatives from Copyrightandcreativity.org (AKA iKeepSafe) were in the audience and available during the breakout sessions, with a handout that provides a justification for teaching copyright: “In short, because students today are creators and publishers – so they need to understand the basic ground rules around creative work.” Check out the website for an excellent set of lessons, starting with kindergarten through high school, including a set of videos for secondary students.
Information Literacy Toolkit – Summit coordinator Jennifer Howerter took the stage again to share CDE’s newly released Media & Info Lit Toolkit: Collaborate in Common, “a free online toolkit filled with resources and current research that teachers, administrators, and parents can use to help support their efforts to advance media and information literacy and the implementation of California’s standards and frameworks.” I definitely plan to spend some time exploring this site and adding to the content.
What’s Next? Media Literacy in our Nation and the World – Tessa Jolls – The closing keynote speaker was Tessa Jolls (President, Center for Media Literacy). Tessa summarized beautifully both the importance of media literacy and the message I will integrate into future workshops:
Media literacy – It’s not a new subject to teach – but a new way to teach all subjects. It is a call to action!”
I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to attend the California Department of Education’s first Media and Information Literacy Summit. I appreciate CDE’s recognition that, increasingly, media and information literacy are critical skills in an age of misinformation. In reflecting on the expertise and energy of the speakers and panelists, the introduction to the Model School Library Standards, and the “Curious Septic” theme, start to finish, the Summit was well worth the $20 registration fee (which even included a box lunch). I am already looking forward to attending the 2019 Media and Information Literacy Summit.
We should choose to teach copyright not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because the goal of understanding copyright will serve to measure the best of student energies, skills, and citizenship.”Tara Woodall
I somehow managed to miss Tara Woodall’s article The Right Stuff – Teaching Kids about Copyright when Common Sense posted it back in July. But thanks to a re-tweet from Common Sense, the article came my way in December. I have read it, bookmarked it, tweeted it, and days later, keep circling back to Tara’s quote.
The challenge to teach copyright and fair use, even though “it’s not easy,” resonates with me on many levels. I started weaving copyright into my workshop agendas about 10 years ago, making sure to remind teachers of legal constraints when adding images found on the Internet to blogs, wikis, VoiceThreads, or whatever program I was teaching.
Initially, I shared Hall Davidson’s chart. Fair use was not part of my agenda. But I let go of Hall’s chart in 2011, after attending an amazing 3-hour ISTE workshop facilitated by Renee Hobbs. Renee’s Copyright Clarity session provided me with a window into “how fair use supports digital learning.” I left the session with a commitment to develop workshops for my district and region on copyright and fair use and to embed the resources into a digital citizenship toolkit.
As a co-director of my district’s digital citizenship initiative, I’ve had the good fortune to team with Kathleen Watt. Ironically, as we were developing Can I Use That? A Guide to Creative Commons, schools and districts across the country were copying Kathleen’s digital citizenship graphic – without giving credit. Oh, yes, a teachable moment: Oh no they didn’t:
Although we continue to post and add resources to our digital citizenship blog, copyright has taken a bit of a back seat due to a continual abundance of cyberbullying issues and the current rise of fake news. Even Google’s newly released Be Internet Awesome program focuses on confronting fake news, protecting privacy, and combating bullying, and omits teaching students about their intellectual property rights and responsibilities.
Not since the March 2017 CUE Conference have I facilitated a workshop on copyright. I’ve had a lot of things on my plate (mainly the roll out of a new student information system!), but it’s time to start submitting proposals again. Tara Woodall’s post is a call to action and a reminder that, as rapidly as technology changes, digital ethics are timeless. An understanding of copyright “will serve to measure the best of student energies, skills, and citizenship.”