As I reflect on the 1st Digital Citizenship Summit this 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?
- We start early and often. We embed digital citizenship into everything we do both online and offline.
- We model and teach empathy in everything we do, in every classroom, both in and out of the classroom.
- 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.
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 do digital 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