It’s been over a week since the area’s first ever Digital Citizenship (DigCit) Day took place. It was a complete whirl wind and worth every second of the time put into planning it. I’m not really even sure where to start this post-my head is still spinning!
If you’re looking for a little more background information on digcit day, check out my blog posts leading up to the day. Essentially, the entire school day and every class was dedicated to different topics relating to digital citizenship.
Throughout the day, we used the hashtag #MCNDCD on twitter. Check out the Storify including tweets from the day here.
I first started writing about the DigCit day in July of 2013 with my post about free resources from the FTC. Since then, I’ve been brainstorming with people at work and my PLN on Twitter, collecting resources, making a case to hold the day with administrators and teachers, planning, and meeting with teachers to share the resources and finalize their role in the day.
One of my favorite fun pieces to the day were the temporary tattoos, which represented students’ digital tattoos, and the T-shirts every employee in the school wore all day. The front of the T-shirts had our “McNick students T.H.I.N.K.” logo and the back had our “Is it…. True, Hurtful, Illegal, Necessary, Kind?” logo for the day. The tattoos read “I’m a responsible digital citizen.” Our librarian and web master, Anne Jones, designed all three logos. We uploaded the art for the tattoos to Tattoo Fun and purchased them for a very reasonable price.
During the first 20 minutes of school, students received their tattoos and their “digital passports” which served as their guiding light throughout the day. Each teacher had previously received a stamp (each department had a designated color) in order to stamp the students’ passports as they entered the class. In order to prevent any student from receiving the
same session twice, there was some predetermined shuffling for some students to different areas of the building than their normal schedule. For example, if a student had two math classes, they would show their math teacher for the second time that day that their passport had been stamped for math already, and they would proceed to the library session. The front of the passports had an area for each of the 10 different sessions, and the back included a schedule for the day and any major class changes.
Steve Smith from CBTS got our day started on the right foot. Many students and even more teachers have commented on how interesting he was. There’s always skepticism when bringing in a guest speaker for an all school assembly, and he definitely exceeded expectations. If you live in the Cincinnati area, you’ve got to reach out to him to bring him to your school- you won’t regret it!
From the assembly, students progressed through their normal schedules where teachers taught a designated topic relate to digital citizenship based on department. English focused on email etiquette and online privacy; Religion classes discussed sexting, snapchat and selfies; math discussed cyberbullying and how to become upstanders as opposed to bystanders; science classes had a department wide research and poster contest about responsible disposal and recycling of e-waste; fine arts classes learned about copyright and fair use; business and technology classes looked deeper into the ramifications of a poor social media presence; health and gym classes learned about the effects of technology abuse on the mind and body and then played a game of dodge ball to reiterate the importance of stepping away from our digital devices; and our S.A.I.L. classes, study halls and any students who would have received a repeat session attended a critical website evaluation session in the library. For more information about teachers and students’ reactions to the day, please check out our school’s news info about the day.
We had a wonderful line up of 13 guest speakers (including Smith) throughout the day in our foreign language and social studies classes: Matthew Wallace, Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office; Jennifer Kinsley, Chase College of Law; Andrea Smythe, Cincinnati Police Officer; John Greiner, Graydon Head; Brett Renzenbrink and Matt Worth, Strauss Troy; Anthony Reese, Union Township Police Department; Scott Griffith, School Outfitters; Josh Welsh, Matt Shoulta, Lauren Lonce, Jeff Thomas, and Chris Styles from Total Quality Logistics. The legal professionals spoke to all social studies classes about laws associated with cyberbullying, sexting and child pornography, while the HR professionals spoke to all foreign language classes about social media’s impact on the hiring process. Based on many students’ post- digcit day survey responses, these sessions were not only their favorite sessions, but also the sessions they felt they learned the most. I imagine it has something to do with the real world speakers that don’t see the kids every day.
Along with the real world speakers, we also had real data to share with the kids based on a completely anonymous student survey sent to all students before digcit day. Out of 640 students, over 200 responded to the survey. As with any high school student survey, I think there is some room for error based on students responding to be funny or lie because they’re afraid they’ll get in trouble. But, based on some of the national averages, our students are not far off. The infographic to the right was shared with all our teachers, students and the parents at the parent portion of the evening. It shows we’ve got some areas to improve upon, but we’ve also got some good things going to too, such as students ‘defriending’ or blocking someone who hurt their feelings online. I created the infographic on Piktochart (very easy to use), and I think it really helped some of the teachers answer the, “why do we need to do this? We already know better!” questions and remarks they received from some students. It also served as a wakeup call that our students (along with every other teenager across the country) are not exempt from these issues.
Along with our school infographic, I had some other images, infographics, and our three digcit logos hung up around the building. Between these images, the T-shirts, and the messages in all classes throughout the day, the importance of positive digital citizenship was at every turn throughout the day. We kept many of the signs up throughout the remainder of the week, and will leave some permanently displayed in the library.
Based on survey feedback from students, there was a feeling that a portion of the day was repetitive. This certainly wasn’t my intention since each department had a designated area/topic to discuss, but it also speaks to the fact that many of these topics overlap and are intertwined with one another. On the flip side, many students enjoyed the day and felt like they learned a lot of valuable information that would not have normally been taught in a classroom setting. Others also felt they received a direct and much-needed wakeup call in some of the other areas they’ve been hearing about for quite some time (online privacy, etc.). The majority of teachers I’ve spoken to or that filled out the post teacher survey also felt like this day was very beneficial to the students. In my opinion, I think this was one of those days and lessons that some students may not realize the impact it had right away, but they’ll realize it down the road when they go to apply for colleges and a job and decide not to post that picture or status. There have been a handful of students who have already signed up for LinkedIn, per the suggestions of our HR guest speakers, to begin building their resumes and documenting awards and achievements. Way to start making a purposeful and positive digital tattoo, guys!
To conclude the day, we had a Digital Citizenship Night for parents of our students and invited grade school teachers and parents to attend as well. There was one teacher from each department who talked to parents about what their department focused on during the day and a few things parents should know about that area. Many left the evening telling us how thankful they were for this program, and we’ve received many requests to do this again and pass on information and our presentation from the evening. We left parents with the hard copy of the Living Life Online magazine from the FTC, raffled off a couple copies of the FTC’s NET CETERA book and a T-shirt. And of course, everyone likes sweets as an incentive (and I know our teachers needed a pick me up after such a long day), so everyone received a 3 Musketeer candy bar for being one of the “3 Musketeers of #digcit!”
All in all, I think the day was a huge success! I know discussing digital citizenship with students is not something that can be done in one class or one day, but this was a great introduction to many conversations that were either overdue, or needed to be had again. It sent a loud message to students and to parents that this is important to us, as a school, and the topic is here to stay!
For more information and press about our Digital Citizenship Day, please check out the following articles:
- Strauss Troy Attorney Brett Renzenbrink and Law Clerk Matt Worth Present at McNicholas High School Digital Citizenship Day via Strauss Troy
- McNicholas Holds Digital Citizenship Day for All Students: First of its Kind in the Greater Cincinnati Area via McNicholas High School
- McNick Promotes Digital Citizenship via the Catholic Beat
- McNicholas to hold Digital Citizenship Day for all Students via Around Anderson Township
So what would you have included? What would you not have included? What do you think of the idea altogether? I’d love to hear your digital citizenship ideas.
Tech To You Later!