What’s your digital constitution?
One of my graduate students created this digital constitution with her sixth grade class last semester and as I write this post, I hope more teachers and classrooms will be encouraged to do the same.
I’ve become more aware that teachers are unsure how to teach digital citizenship. Teaching a lesson or a unit is not the answer. We need to model and engage our students in this critical conversation on a daily basis and I can’t think of a better way than to create a digital constitution for your classroom, school and community!
A year ago today, I launched the Dyslexic Professor with some apprehension and today I want to take some time to share what I’ve learned this year. Here are a few of my favorite posts: I Carry Your Heart; Learning From our Mistakes: The Art of an Apology; Writing My Wrongs; The Utter Joy of Curiosity; Around the Rotary: The Roundabout of Learning; A Letter to My Son on Father’s Day and Total Trust.
My “coming out” to the online community permanently as the dyslexic professor has been an empowering experience. My first post on February 23, 2011, Modeling Being a Risk Taker EDUC 536 stated:
Ok, here I go walking the walk and talking the talk and trying something new. A little nervous, a little anxious, but excited to take the risk! It’ s Wednesday morning and I’m creating my first WordPress blog before class tonight. It’s a new format and I’m used to navigating through my Weebly and Ning accounts. Plus, I’m very aware that my words and feelings are now public and I find myself typing, deleting and retyping to make sure I’m as accurate as possible. We’ve been safe in our own PLN in our class Ning, but now our boundaries are expanding. Are you ready to jump in with me? In class tonight, let’s take time to try something new. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and embrace being a change agent!
A lot of wonderful things happened to me once I started blogging.
- First, I learned the difference between a RT, MT and #FF as I began to develop my PLN through Twitter. In a year, I’ve sent a little over 7,500 tweets and made some amazing connections with teacher educators all over the world. Here are a few of my Twitter posts: A Little Like Casablanca; What Took Me So Long?; I Applaud You and Thank You PLN for Changing Teacher Preparation.
- I was fortunate to have Nick Howley (@nhowley) as a graduate student in my Educational Psychology course last spring semester. His research on LGBT teens, The Social Education of LGBT Teens has greatly influenced me as a parent and as a teacher educator. Many of my posts this year have focused on changing how we treat others both face to face and online. Here are a few of my favorite posts on this topic: Dinosaurs of Tiaras: Facing Intolerances; I Care Jamey Rodemeyer and A Million Reasons and More.
- I attended my first EdCamp in Boston, went to ISTE for the first time and helped plan the first EdCampCT. These experiences have inspired me to submit a proposal to ISTE (I’m presenting in June) and host an unconference on our campus this May, Dialogue 21.
- With my colleague, Tracy Mercier (@vr2ltch) we launched a weekly #digcit chat on Twitter. There were times in the beginning that I was unsure if the chat would catch on, but am so pleased that there are so many dedicated educators committed to modeling and teaching digital citizenship in their classrooms.
- I taught my first First Year Seminar, Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? This authentic learning experience was a defining moment for me as a learner and teacher educator. In May, I blogged hoping to collaborate with high school students: High School Skype and Twitter Project Request and this post was my first introduction to Beth Sanders (@MsSandersTHS). We met at ISTE a month later and our collaborative iCitizen project became a reality, What Does it Mean to be a Citizen: Nationally, Globally, Digitally? As a result @MsSandersTHS and her students hosted #digcit chat, #digcit Chat: A Defining Moment and also inspired planning the iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting which focused on creating positive school climate and engaging others in a conversation about what it means to be a socially responsible iCitizen in the 21st century: #iCit21: iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting on 2/9.
And all of this was captured on my blog! The more I wrote, the more I learned. Connections were made through Twitter and I was able to provide virtual mentors to my preservice teachers. As a result of blogging, I’ve become a better learner and writer. I’ve become more reflective and as a result my teaching has changed. As I write this reflective anniversary post, I marvel at all the things I’ve learned, unlearned and relearned in just three hundred and sixty-five days. I continue to be inspired by my family, my students, my colleagues and my PLN.
*An extra special thanks and #youmatter to Lisa Sandstrom @scram_socrates @ThomasRiddle_II @JoAnnJacobs68 @ncarroll24 @yourkidsteacher @francesblo @MrMusselman @Grade1 @tsocko @engaginged @hmfryan7 @vivimat78 @K_Rose201 for your constant support and encouragement this year! You have been invaluable to my own professional development and for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
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. Global; I 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
You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything…affects everything.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
When you post an embarrassing photograph or video of someone else or you forward an inappropriate email or you continue adding to the rumor, think twice. As one of my undergraduates said it best last semester, “If you’re not part of the solution; you are part of the problem.”
Props to Jay Asher for writing such a powerful story about the consequences of our actions in Thirteen Reasons Why. It is required reading for one of my undergraduate technology courses next semester and I strongly suggest that you add it to your must-read list too.
What are your you engage, model and teach empathy and perspective early and often in our classrooms?
Turning the corner on the final week of the semester and a graduate student sends me this tweet:
I was shattered after watching Jonah Mawry describe Whats going on...
This is exactly why I wanted to teach Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? as a First Year Seminar this year. I’ve blogged and tweeted about it all semester using the #digcit, #fys11 and #icitizen hash tags. My freshmen have engaged elementary, middle and high school students in conversation about what it means to be socially responsible in the 21st century both on and off line. We have focused on empathy and asked K-12 students to join us on our crusade to be the generation that views and treats all human beings as equals. Our final multimedia projects will be shared and posted on Twitter this Thursday.
To Jonah Mawry – thank you for sharing your story with us! Your courage has provided me a million reasons and more to continue to engage others in this conversation!
Yesterday, we were waiting in line to see Santa. A girl behind us, maybe six or seven years old said to her dad, “I don’t want to see Santa.” When her dad asked why she responded, “Santa was mean to Rudolph.” As we waited, her comment lingered and began to weigh heavy on me. Was Santa mean to Rudolph? I quickly retold the story to myself in my mind.
Here is what I can remember, Rudolph was different and his father was embarrassed and tried to make him look and act like the other reindeer. His friends made fun of him, called him names and wouldn’t let him play. The reindeer teacher, Coach Comet sent Rudolph home because he was different and poor Rudolph left home in a storm because he felt as if he didn’t belong. On his journey, he met Hermey the Elf and Yokon Cornelius and they end up at the Island of Misfit Toys. Oh no, I thought to myself, this is too familiar. I’ve been talking about this all semester with my students.
But, was Santa mean to Rudolph? What was his role in the story? Had he been a bystander and allowed this to happen? After much thought and deliberation, I finally decided that Santa was not mean-spirited towards Rudolph. How could he be? He’s just a jolly old soul! He probably could have done more in the beginning and perhaps he could have engaged the young reindeer and the teacher into a conversation on what it means to be socially responsible, but Santa was not intentionally mean to Rudolph. I’m just glad that the rest of the reindeer figured out how wrong they were about Rudolph and I thank that young girl in line waiting to meet Santa yesterday for providing me a time to reflect on this teachable moment.
As one of my college freshmen said it best last week, “If you’re not the solution; you are part of the problem.” Here’s to engaging more people into the conversation so no one feels like Rudolph, Hermey, Yokon, Bumble or the other toys on the Island of Misfit Toys. As we embrace the spirit of the season, make sure we take the time to be part of the solution!