The ISTE 2018 conference is now a fading memory. It’s always such a great experience to connect with other like-minded educators, overwhelming as it is. (Read about ISTE 2018 by the numbers here.) As you might expect, I spent no small amount of time talking #digcit with my nerdy friends from far and wide. We were all so excited that Richard Culatta, ISTE CEO, specifically called out the importance for all educators to address digital citizenship. He spent about 20 minutes in his pre-opening-keynote address urging all of us to commit to teaching our students to build more positive online communities, to engage in online disagreements respectfully, to work to change public policy, and to critically assess the validity of online resources. That is a tall order!
But as I always say, it doesn’t all have to happen at once; it just takes all of us on the same page, actively working toward these goals. My mantra is “Every Teacher, Every Classroom, Every Day” – meaning that if every teacher in every school across America and the world would make just one reference a day to some aspect of digital citizenship, we could make significant positive changes to our online spaces. But I’ve also been thinking lately that digital citizenship efforts are a lot like my yoga practice: even though I *intend* to go to yoga class 5 days a week, if I go even ONCE a week, I feel better. So if you miss an opportunity to preach a good word for #digcit one day – don’t give up and just go back to your old habits! This week maybe you’ll say just one thing; next week perhaps it will be two or three. The more you do it, the easier and more natural it will feel (also like yoga), and saying SOMETHING about #digcit is better than saying nothing at all! The point is: COMMIT to making a concerted effort to encourage your students to have the best possible citizenship, both online and in their face-to-face interactions. For most of our students, there is not a hard line between digital and real life.
I was so gratified to see how the digcit conversation continues to expand. The DigCitPLN meeting had a whopping *31* people in attendance! I loved hearing how important #digcit is to each person who attended the meeting. My tenure as co-chair of ISTE’s DigCitPLN is over, and I’m pleased to be turning it over to the exceedingly brilliant and competent Lauren Villaluz and Vanessa Monterosa. I can’t wait to see how the concept of digital citizenship continues to evolve over the next year!
If you’re looking for #digcit resources to help you get started, you might start with #ISTE18 – My Top Takeaways by Gail Desler, the winner of the DigCitPLN’s inaugural PLN award. And check out my growing, curated list of all things #DigCit at my Cultivating a #DigCit State of Mind site.
What will YOU commit to doing this year to grow great digital citizens in your classroom? We can’t continue to NOT act on this: the future of democracy truly depends on our students’ citizenship – digital and otherwise.