Instead of talking at students about technology and social media, how can we learn with them?
What if students became the teachers for the day?
What if this day empowered students to be digital leaders in their school communities for the rest of their lives? What if teachers, school administrators, parents, and community members got so inspired by these students that they too vowed to support all students on their digital citizenship journeys?
This March, a student-led Digital Citizenship Summit accomplished all of this and more in Lake Shore Central School District.This combination of student leadership, educator buy-in, and the DCI’s global perspective led to a Summit that was unique in its creativity, energy, and connectivity with its school community.
Located about 30 minutes from Buffalo NY, Lake Shore serves around 2,500 students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. It’s a school that has put digital technology at the very heart of how it inspires its students through learning.
Their journey towards hosting their DigCitSummit started with students wanting to show children around the world, as well as people in their local community how the internet can, and should be a tool for doing good.
District Technology Integrator, Michael Drezek explains: "Through hosting our own DigCitSummit we really wanted to highlight the importance of digital citizenship and how it can be embedded into all subject areas, Everyone has an effective role to play; from students to educators, administrators to parents, through to our wider community members too.
“We know that technology plays a big part in our daily life, and we really wanted to drive home that it can be used for good in many different ways.”
Michael, along with a team of teachers across each school within the Lake Shore District, worked closely with the DigCitInstitute (DCI) to bring together their Summit, which was held on March 15th.
“When the DigCitInstitute came in, we looked at the work we were already doing with our students and talked about the importance of empowering students to become teachers of digital citizenship.”
Deann Poleon, K-12 Technology Integrator at Lake Shore explains more: “The students were motivated and energized by the idea that they would be teaching the teachers of the district. They also understood that their work could have an impact and be used by teachers and students throughout the district. They really wanted to show the teachers what they could do.”
This combination of student leadership, educator buy-in, and the DCI’s global perspective led to a Summit that was unique in its creativity, energy, and connectivity with its school community.
Students, parents, and community members came together to celebrate Lake Shore students’ ingenuity; and experience student-led demonstrations of:
To get a taste of the action on this impactful day, enjoy the following productions created with the help of recent Lake Shore graduate, Connor Kwilos:
Feedback from those attending the event has also been empowering:
Excellent program. I appreciate the work that the students put into this event and loved learning from them!
It was amazing turning over the material I taught students and letting them decide what adults should learn and watching them blossom. They went so beyond my expectations. It was phenomenal!
I realize there is so much more to explore in the digital world that students can use for the good.
For Michael and his team, however, it was vital that throughout the day the students lead the conversations.
“Equipping our students with skills like these at such a young age is really important. We hope they’ll remember what they’ve achieved and carry it on from grade to grade, and after they graduate.”
Working with the team at the DigCitInstitute has been critical in making Lake Shore’s vision a reality.
Michael said, “As advocates for technology they were able to highlight examples from classrooms around the world and make it meaningful for our students.”
Dr. Marialice B.F.X. Curran, Founder and Executive Director of the DigCitInstitute is so proud of the Lake Shore Central School District:
“What I loved about Lake Shore’s student-led DigCitSummit was the intergenerational approach of learning together side-by-side. Instead of talking at students, the DigCitSummit was an opportunity to talk and learn with students. It was a wonderful reminder that digital citizenship isn’t just something we talk about or do at school, it is something we need to actively do at home and at work.”
And Lake Shore’s Summit is right at the heart of the DigCitInstitute’s vision for offering school communities professional and personal development for educators, parents, students and the community at large.
This student-led DigCitSummit planted the seed for continued citizenship growth and impact for years to come. Everyone involved realized that this work is too important to be a stand-alone event. A ripple effect of good was done. Lake Shore Central plans to continue this work in classrooms, at home and throughout the community as well as continue to inspire others around the world to follow their lead. To keep up with the action, follow along with the hashtag #digcitLSC on your favorite social media channels.
To learn more about bringing a DigCitSummit to your community and working with the DigCitInstitute, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest post Kevin Chaja and Marialice B.F.X. Curran