Presenting at the First National Digital Citizenship Summit

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of Timmy Sullivan

Digital Citizenship Best Practices for College and Career Ready Students:
An Inside Look at the Digital Citizenship Summit

Having just arrived home from presenting at the nation’s first Digital Citizenship Summit, I am eager to share the highlights of today’s event. Unfortunately, I arrived a few hours late to the summit, as I was taking SAT Subject tests this morning. I did, therefore, miss the opening ceremonies and keynote. No amount of standardized testing, however, could keep me from representing student voice at the conference! Though I arrived late, I was still fortunate enough to meet several ed-tech superstars, as well as watch the amazing Sarah Thomas entertain us with her drone.

Digital Citizenship SummitPresenting at the conference alongside Jenn Scheffer was an incredible privilege. Since we received our invitation to present, we have been eagerly curating resources to demonstrate the benefits of integrating social media into the classroom in an effort to produce college and career ready students. Using my digital footprint as an example, Jenn and I explored the various digital platforms available to students, such as Gmail, WordPress,Twitter, YouTube, Google +, and LinkedIn. Together, through personal anecdotes and professional sources, we challenged the myth of students being “digital natives” while demonstrating the need for social media exposure in academic settings. Digital role modeling for students, as we ultimately demonstrated, yields greater results in preventing cyber-bullying, as well as educating students on the principles of digital citizenship (without the lecturing!).

Digital Citizenship SummitThe power of technology never fails to amaze me. As I was presenting, I reflected on all of the personal, professional, and academic opportunities that have come my way in the last year because of my digital presence alone. To think, at this time last year, I was not even a part of the Burlington High School Help Desk! Never would I have thought myself to become a recognized presenter at several leading ed-tech conferences. Nor could I have imagined landing an online, summer internship with EdTechTeacher, learning and working on SEO and digital content comfortably from my host-family’s home in Spain. I am especially “mind-blown” by all of the professional connections I have made online- some of whom I have spoken with for several months, but did not meet in person until today! (Special shout-out to Marialice Curran, Susan Beardan, Meghan Davis, Sarah Thomas, Judy Arzt). All of these amazing aspects of the digital world- presentation opportunities, online work, and a strong PLN- would still be unknown to me if Burlington restricted social media tools in schools. As demonstrated in our presentation, students will emulate professional online communities if they are being demonstrated by their teachers and administrators. Safe searching does not amount from restricting digital tools, rather, from promoting an appropriate digital culture.

The Digital Citizenship Summit was an incredible think tank filled with the best “brain trust” in digital role modeling. I could not have asked for a better honor than to be featured as a student exemplar at a summit promoting such an important topic. Both Marialice Curran and Ryan David Polgar did an extraordinary job creating the Digital Citizenship Summit. I cannot wait to see what they have in store for next year!

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