Created by Belinha De Abreu, Ph.D. for the Digital Citizenship Institute
So, what is digital citizenship? To us at the Digital Citizenship Institute, digital citizenship is about human connections online where participants are active citizens who are designers, creative thinkers, global collaborators, problem solvers, and justice-oriented digital citizens. We believe that digital citizenship needs to be an action, something we practice and do every single day. Ultimately, we believe that digital citizenship is about seeing and valuing the human being sitting next to us, around the world and across the screen.
Now, let’s think about the future — specifically the future of work. With emerging technologies — augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence — our world is changing at such a rapid pace that we need to ask if we are preparing our students for their future?
Will our students be ready? It’s up to us to ensure they are DigCit Ready.
This is why, in today’s networked world, digital citizenship is everyone’s responsibility, it doesn’t matter what language you speak, where you live or what religion you practice — to us, digital citizenship is all about community. We believe digital citizenship is an opportunity to empower others to become changemakers in their own communities because once you make an impact in a local community, it has a ripple effect an influences both global and digital communities simultaneously.
Our mission and definition of digital citizenship came as a direct result of a collaborative student project called the iCitizen Project during the fall of 2011. The project happened as part of a First Year Seminar for incoming college freshmen at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. The course, Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? is the beginning of our digital citizenship journey. Despite geography and different time zones, the college freshmen collaborated with high school juniors in Birmingham, Alabama through a variety of social media tools like Skype and Twitter to connect and learn together. The iCitizen Project defined citizenship in the 21st century as an active citizen instead of just a resident; an enabler of change and not just a bystander. The focus on local, global and digital communities emerged as the foundation for being an iCitizen in the 21st century.
The iCitizen Project focused on student voice and student choice. It was the impetus behind wanting to create the first ever digital citizenship conference, the Digital Citizenship Summit, or the DigCitSummit as it is most commonly called, as well as the Digital Citizenship Institute. Understanding that the iCitizen Project is at core of our foundation will help better explain our digital citizenship community model which we refer to as our DigCit Community.
We want to help communities look out through this new community lens of digital citizenship. Instead of seeing local, global and digital in isolation, we want you to see them as one entity. In this way, we are able to model how all it takes is one person to stand up, to speak up, to take action and make a difference. In our work, we have repeatedly seen how ONE becomes MANY because of the ripple effect of choices, words and actions.
Our DigCit Community Model prepares us to see the humanity in everything we do both on and offline, where we humanize the person sitting next to us, people around the world and across the screen. Although today’s headlines might remind us that we’ve lost the art of civil discourse, that we are more divided as a human race; it is our goal to change those sensational headlines with stories about our young people as leaders who inspire and awaken others to action. Just like the iCitizen Project, our DigCit Community Model or what we also call being #DigCitReady allows us to be active citizens in our local, global and digital communities.
You’ll notice that our DigCitSummit logo includes a person shaped to resemble the letter “i” as a connection to the iCitizen Project. In many ways, the “i” also is a reminder of our own choices, words and actions. This local, global and digital community lens is our way to view digital citizenship as a foundation built on being safe, savvy and ethical. Our ‘we not me’ focus continues to highlight our shared humanity where we are learning together side by side in school, at home and in the workplace.
Knowing the “i” in our DigCitSummit logo represents each of us, our DigCitSummits happen in communities all around the world. We unite organizations, educators, industry, parents and students to work towards solutions, promote best practices, and empower citizens to be the digital change.
In order to do this, we have identified four core dispositions necessary to support this #DigCitCommunity Mindset Model with four specific attributes: an Empathetic Mindset, an Entrepreneurial Mindset, an Inclusive Mindset and an Innovative Mindset.
We believe that our students need to lead with empathy because an Empathetic Mindset allows you to understand and share the feelings of another and to walk in their shoes. The next layer we add is an Entrepreneurial Mindset because an entrepreneur is someone who identifies a need, any need and fills it. Our students need an entrepreneurial opportunities every single day to be action driven and willing to collaborate deliberately and mindfully to be critical thinkers, creative problem solvers and who ultimately are transforming minds, hearts and attitudes by solving real problems in local, global and digital communities. Our next layer is focused on an inclusion where access for all, diversity and equality are at the heart. Applying the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, an Inclusive Mindset gives all individuals equal opportunities to learn. It promotes personalized learning where all learners and all abilities are recognized, included and valued. UDL provides flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs in order for everyone to have access to the same learning opportunities. An Innovative Mindset is our last disposition needed for a DigCit Community Mindset because innovators are asking questions that haven’t been asked yet, they are the makers, the dreamers, the doers, the futurists who constantly think outside the box. Leading with an Innovative Mindset allows you to be filled with an insatiable sense of curiosity.
When you combine these four dispositions into one DigCit Community mindset, we focus on being DigCit Ready, on being proactive and highlight the importance of providing our students opportunities to be actively participating deliberately and meaningfully online, who know how to navigate the digital landscape and produce media not just consume it. This DigCit Community Mindset unites people who are mindful that their choices, words and actions matter deeply. Much like the Future Ready Framework, our DigCit Community model prepares citizens to be DigCit Ready at school, at home, and in the workplace.
Experience Real History (@ERHHistory) and Jaime Donally (@ARVRinEDU) share how #AugmentedReality and #DigitalCitizenship intersect through experiencing history through emerging technologies.
GPS The Series
We were hired by WorldChanging to spread the word about GPS The Series
One of the highlights for us at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) this year was the announcement of the Global Problem Solvers: The Series (GPS: The Series), a new Cisco corporate social responsibility (CSR) educational initiative. We had an opportunity to sit down and talk to the team about this new middle school program developed to inspire students to become global problem solvers.
GPS: The Series embeds problem solving, critical thinking, entrepreneurship and social impact into middle school curriculum by providing students an opportunity to put digital citizenship into action. As our DigCitKids Chief Kid Officer (CKO) shares, “The next CEO is a kid, so we need to include more student voice in solving problems and creating solutions.”
We loved how many student presenters were at ISTE this year. Here are some of our favorite highlights.
Learning Braille With 3D Blocks
This group of high school students from Mexico presented about their 3D Braille blocks. When we asked why they created these 3D blocks, the students responded, “We saw a problem and we wanted to fix it.” Another added, “We want to help people.”
Students who are solving problems around Universal Design are focused on access for all and when this happens, everyone wins!
Learning Different is OK
This student Ignite session by Elli Bee, a brave third grader illustrates how she is the ultimate problem solver, “I’m like Jack Jack from the Incredibles because I can adjust to any situation.” Imagine if we had more students like Elli? We’d have more global problem solvers who think and act differently.
This sketch note by Amber McCormick about Elli’s Ignite session says it all. If our students can adapt to anything, they can solve anything too.
This Is the Real World
What are we waiting for? As Leila, a high schooler shared during her presentation, the real world isn’t waiting for us, it is happening now.
We need connected classrooms providing real world opportunities for our students.
These student ISTE presenters are examples of Global Problem Solvers in action. Our students are wired to identify and solve global problems and GPS provides them the opportunity to solve social, economic, and environmental problems around the world like access to clean water in Malawi and helping students continue to learn when schools are closed after a hurricane hits the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The best part of GPS: The Series? The resources are already provided and you can make the lessons your own. We are really looking forward to seeing how teachers like Bronwyn Joyce, Michael Drezek and Malinda Hurt bring the GPS and the UN Global Goals to #OurGlobalClassroom Flipgid to students and classrooms around the world.
How Will You Commit? #DigCitCommit
ISTE asked us how will we commit to promoting digital citizenship this year? Here at the Digital Citizenship Institute, we are committing to students actively engaged in digital citizenship every single day. We commit to showcasing student examples of global problem solvers who use digital citizenship for good.
We hope you’ll join us at our 4th Annual Digital Citizenship Summit at Webster University in collaboration with METC for a Weekend of Digital Citizenship.
Some Additional GPS Posts:
The Global Problem Solvers Series Challenges Students to Tackle World Issues by Shelly Terrell; Scratching Below the Surface of GPS Series by Valerie Lewis; GPS: Global Problem Solvers by Susie Highley.
Education software developer, NetSupport Inc. partners with The Digital Citizenship Institute to reshape digital citizenship engaging in a proactive approach creating a safer learning environment
Atlanta, GA – June 21st 2018: Today, NetSupport Inc. and The Digital Citizenship Institute announced a strategic partnership aimed to help schools and their stakeholders reignite the digital citizenship discussion and enhance their approach.
With children between the ages of 8 and 15 spending more than twice as much time online at school and at home as they did a decade ago, now more than ever there is a need for young people to be educated about positive digital interactions and how to behave responsibly online – as well as ensuring schools and guardians are providing a safe learning environment.
Working together, the partnership will leverage the benefits that come with The Digital Citizenship Institute’s expertise in changing the narrative from a reactive to a more proactive approach and NetSupport’s 29 years’ software experience helping schools and districts manage their technology and its users effectively.
NetSupport’s latest software solution, NetSupport DNA, helps schools and districts to promote a culture of good digital citizenship, both in the classroom and across the school, with its unique features. NetSupport DNA offers keyword and phrase monitoring tools, age-appropriate internet controls, concern reporting to trusted staff, and access to self-help resources. It allows teachers to demonstrate appropriate behavior while ensuring schools can stem the increasing instances of cyber-bullying, radicalization, sexual predation, racism and more – while complying with CIPA requirements.
“Often, discussions around kids and technology begin and end with all the don’ts. We are committed to changing this narrative from the reactive to the proactive where the don’ts become I will statements and the positives outweigh the negatives,” states Dr. Marialice B.F.X. Curran, Founder and Executive Director of the Digital Citizenship Institute. The Institute expands the digital safety discussion to explore how adults and children can also work side-by-side to learn about and experience deliberate, positive uses of technology together.
Marcus Kingsley, MD of NetSupport Inc., explains “The increasing use of technology in schools brings with it the responsibility to keep students safe. Unfortunately, many schools rely on a restrictive policy to achieve this and believe this supports and cultivates good digital citizens. Restricting sites does help keep students safe (in school); however, it doesn’t educate or prepare them for the dangers online outside a school environment. This opens up a wider debate as to who is responsible for this task, but in short everyone is, from teacher to guardian, which is why we hope that this collaboration will not just enforce the importance of the digital citizen message to everyone but also, educate schools to consider applying proactive standards to allow teachers to demonstrate positive digital usage in a safe learning environment.”
In addition to joint collaboration and representation at upcoming industry events, the partnership will also entail the dual creation of factual and informative materials to help educate the global education audience and mutual input in a community-driven approach for empowering students and other educational stakeholders, transforming them into 21st century facing digital citizens.
Atlanta based NetSupport, Inc. is a member of the UK headquartered NetSupport Group of Companies and with a 29-year development pedigree, is an award- winning developer of IT Asset Management, Classroom Management, Desktop Security, ITIL ServiceDesk, and Desktop Alerting software.
NetSupport solutions and their derivatives are sold worldwide and enjoy market-leading status in many countries while supporting more than 16 million customers. Its flagship multi-platform classroom management solution, NetSupport School, has been consistently named best in breed, most recently awarded ‘Best of Show’ at ISTE 2017 and TCEA 2018.
For more information about the NetSupport range of IT Management solutions, visit www.netsupport-inc.com.
Press Contact: Priscilla Rein, Marketing Coordinator
About the Digital Citizenship Institute:
The Digital Citizenship Institute is an inclusive innovation network promoting a positive digital citizenship message of safety, social responsibility and social good through the use of social media and technology. The Institute partners with districts, schools, parents, organizations, industry and government agencies to provide a community approach to digital citizenship. The Institute is committed to turning negatives into positives and helping transform participants into designers, creative thinkers, global collaborators, problem solvers and justice-oriented digital citizens.
Since digital citizenship is everyone’s responsibility, the Institute’s mission is a community-driven approach to educating and empowering all stakeholders to be actively involved and engaged in solving problems and creating solutions in local, global and digital communities. The Institute provides professional development and certifies teachers, schools, districts and organizations.
*The original post was uploaded on Craig Kemp‘s website on February 22, 2017. In collaboration with Craig, we wrote this post to address how we can help students learn how to consume and produce media.
We live in a fast-paced, constantly changing world with many struggles and frustrations that are often out of our immediate control. The recent viral trend of “Fake News” has taken the internet by storm and our role as educators is to support our students to understand who is behind the information that they are consuming.
In order to support our students, we first must ensure that our teachers are fully upskilled on the matter and understand it themselves. Our responsibility is to prepare our students for the world they live in NOW. Blocking and banning is not the solution. Here are five ways to teach kids how to navigate “Fake News” as consumers and producers:
Fact Vs. Fiction
As an example, let us look at this website on The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. The site has information about the tree octopus and even includes resources, citations, sightings and images. The question we need to ask our students is “is it even possible for an octopus to live in a tree?”.
When we are researching online, we must run through a checklist to determine if the site is fact or fiction. Consider these questions next time you get stumped:
Schools must prepare students for the real world instead of continuously protecting them from it in the little bubbles we have in our communities.
*Here’s the start of some additional “Fake News” resources.
We spent Safer Internet Day 2017 with Falkirk Schools in Scotland. Six Falkirk Schools (4 primary and 2 secondary schools) volunteered to teach one aspect of digital citizenship as part of the global online safety activities happening around the world. It was a wonderful example of amplifying the positive as the students shared lessons on safety, social responsibility and technology and social media for social good.
A Summary of the Learning
Conversation on Twitter
Thank you to all the Falkirk students and classrooms who were our teachers for #SID2017.