Better late than never, here is the 2015 EPIK Deliberate Digital 2015 Report.
Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 community meeting plans were in direct alignment with goals set at the beginning of the year. Community members were brought together to pool knowledge of and information about access to data resources relevant to the issue of kids and technology. EPIK also attempted to bring together a core team of leaders to move into Phase II of collective impact.
Community meetings reflected both continued interest in collaborative work, and concern around the lack of scope. The April 1 meeting also brought some internal insight into the need to have a more expansive and balanced (in terms of sectors) core team.
Mid-year Shift in Strategy
Involvement with drafting the language and focus of HB213, the passing of HB213, and insight gained through attendance at an international Collective Impact conference in Calgary, Canada spurred some strategic changes in Quarters 3 and 4. The focus went from trying to scope and measure a broad issue to “go[ing] where the energy is” (insight from John Kania at the Collective Impact conference) and involving community partners in three short-term projects.
Two of the short-term projects, HB213 and a Utah County Hackathon, met with significant and specific successes. The third short-term win project, connecting and collaborating with technology companies, received very little specific attention during 2015, although our networking allowed us to connect with Google Fiber and to continue to strengthen relationships with others who are interfacing with technology companies. Follow-up with the assigned lead on that project could be worthwhile in 2016.
Key Learnings, Vision, and Questions for 2016
A key learning from 2015 is that collective impact cannot be forced. Even with the satisfaction we have with the insight, connections, and growing legitimacy that have been fruits of the collective impact efforts, there is still a pronounced perspective from community partners that EPIK is a peer, not a true backbone/supporting organization of an organized, self-sustaining collective effort.
Our intent for 2016 is to leverage progress that happened with the HB213 and Hackathon projects, and to seek to encourage and support community leaders toward more collective efforts that they feel driven to lead. A digital citizenship/leadership/inclusion summit could be a vehicle for bringing people together in a more collective way (see Las Vegas CI report: http://www.frbsf.org/community-development/files/wp2013-07.pdf )
It might also be worth carrying forward some thoughts about already-existing data stores in schools that we discussed mid-year. (See, for example, some reports from Wasatch School District relating to how and where Acceptable Use Policy violations happened.) We have a data scientist at the ready as well (Ryan Turner) who has agreed to help EPIK with data-related needs. The question remains if collective efforts are at a point where data-driven goals could be set in 2016.
With the energy around Digital Citizenship, as 2015 came to a close, it felt that perhaps a common agenda was finding us. There is a lot of energy around topics like Digital Citizenship and Digital Inclusion, and these concepts might continue to be topics of interest for collective work.
Detailed Backbone Report
Initial Q1 Goal: Continue Data Pooling (who has access to what info)
Summary: When work started in 2015, EPIK anticipated that a key focus during the year would be data gathering. In the Collective Impact model, as in many other change models, data is essential to guiding the process. Data factors into the Phase II work of Collective Impact (see below).
[Figure note: During 2015, EPIK started using its full name, EPIK Deliberate Digital, rather than using EPIK as an acronym as is shown above.]
The primary collaborative community meeting in Q1 (held on January 28, 2015) centered on the Q1 goal of moving toward more data-driven work.
Q1 work also included one-on-one meetings/interviews with CI participants to assess interest in helping with 2015 goals. Q1 also included an unexpected opportunity to contribute to the process of the drafting of HB213, a bill initially focused on internet filtering. Our input changed the tenor of the bill.
Data Resource Pooling Meeting, January 28, 2015
With the purpose of accomplishing our Q1 goal, EPIK hosted a Data Resource Pooling meeting on January 28, 2015. The desired outcome of this meeting was to have community partners involved in starting a database of data resources related to children and technology (especially resources known and accessible through our partners and their connections).
Following is the question that was posed to meeting participants.
What data resources/sources do you use, know about, and/or have access to that could help the Alliance gather data to more clearly define and assess the various facets of the complex issue of raising children in a tech-saturated world?
More specifically, in the meeting, participants answered the following questions through a participatory sharing process:
- What topic(s) is/are the data resource(s) addressing? (e.g., technology use in children, media literacy, education, behavioral health concerns)
- What type of data is being shared? (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, etc)
- What kind of data resource is it (e.g., database, research report, scientific study, survey) and/or how were the data gathered? (e.g., observation, survey, research study, experience)
The outputs of the meeting can be found here. There is also an editable Google spreadsheet version of the meeting outputs, created so that people could add to the data resource list. Note that the resources were organized by issue “buckets” that were created by a small work group in 2014 (see a visual representation of the buckets that we made for meetings in 2015). Following is a list of the issue buckets and their definitions:
- General Technology Environment and Accessibility: The access to and usability of technology has created open channels with no limits.)
- Emotional and Mental (Behavioral) Health: Technology can strengthen or threaten a child’s emotional and mental [behavioral] health.
- Social Relationships and Connection: Technology can be the connector or barrier to healthy relationships.
- Education, Learning, Creativity & Media Literacy: Technology creates an ever expanding opportunity for education, knowledge, creativity and self determination.
- Physical Health and Safety: Use of technology can promote or impair a child’s physical health and safety.
- Productivity: Use of technology greatly impacts a child’s productive or nonproductive use of time.
- Ability to Influence: The ability [of children] to influence others through technology leads to greater power — and also vulnerability.
- Parenting: Parenting is a significant factor in a child’s choices with technology.
More details from the Data Resource meeting can be found in the Meeting Reports section on epik.org.
With an eye toward our Q2 goal of creating a core team, EPIK used February and March as a time to have one-on-one meetings with community partners to determine individuals’ interest level in guiding strategy for the collective impact effort. (This document was created to help with the conversations.) Many people expressed interest, and we planned toward a Q2 meeting.
Unexpected Collaboration Opportunity: HB213
During the February/March timeframe in Q1, we also had an unexpected opportunity to contribute to the drafting of HB213, a bill sponsored by Representative Keven Stratton. Rep. Stratton’s initial concern was ramping up filtering efforts and accountability in the schools. Jan Garbett, founder of EPIK, was able to influence the language in the bill so that it included the concept of digital citizenship.
Utah’s bill was the first of its kind — the first legislation in the nation to include the concept of digital citizenship, according to Media Literacy Now, which tracks media literacy/digital citizenship legislation nationwide.
This ended up being a pivotal experience that altered the direction and reach of EPIK’s community efforts in 2015, as described later on in the report.
Initial Q2 Goal: Core Team Created
Summary: From our one-on-one interviews during February-March, EPIK found a group of champions who were interested in helping move the process forward. They were invited to a 3-hour meeting that was held on April 1, 2015.
Relationships between EPIK’s internal team through attendance at a collective impact conference in Canada. Insights from the conference helped guide EPIK’s strategic direction as well.
Phase I Report / Network Weaving meeting, April 1, 2015
The focus of this meeting was two-fold:
1 – To review the work from Phase 1, from July 2014 to March 2015, in the context of Collective Impact
2 – To engage in a network weaving activity. These partners were invited to think of themselves as community ‘hubs’ to help bring more people into the collective effort. Creating individual network weaving maps was the working part of the meeting. (For more information on network weaving, see June Holley’s book, Network Weaving Handbook, and her network weaving website and old network weaving blog.)
We’d had some great partners who were invested in the CI work, and yet we also saw the need to bring more diversity into the effort. “Similarity helps build trust, while diversity introduces new ideas and perspectives. Connect on your similarity, and profit from your diversity….[D]ense cohesion within the network, removes all possibility for new ideas and innovations.” (June Holley, Network Weaver Handbook)
The desired goal of bringing the core team together in this way was to start the work of scoping the initiative so that we would know what kind of data we would need and what kind of work we would want to do to “move the needle.”
EPIK’s conclusion after the experience of the network weaving was that scoping was perhaps premature. In order to understand the scope of the issue, we needed to understand and map the landscape better.
Before the Phase I review, participants were given some time to share their thoughts and concerns at this phase of the process. It was a spontaneous discussion that helped bring a sense of natural cohesion and trust to the meeting.
After the Phase I report, participants were asked to share their Insights and Impressions about the work that had been done to that point in time. (See images below.)
Participants chose to spend the bulk of the second half of the meeting working on their network weaving charts. (For photos and more details about the meeting, see the meeting reports: Phase 1 Report and Network Weaving activity.)
Calgary Collective Impact Summit, April 2015
Jan Garbett (Founder), Michelle Linford (Executive Director), Aubrey Lee (Back Office Manager) and Stephanie Hibbert (Board Member) attended a Collective Impact conference in Calgary, Canada, called Champions for Change. This conference was sponsored by two of the leading collective impact organizations, Tamarack and FSG.
We were honored to participate on a panel discussion with international representatives of backbone organizations at different stages of the collective impact process.
Besides the internal team cohesion that was built by attending the conference together, there were two content takeaways that influenced a shift in our strategic direction.
1 – “Go where the energy is.” (This was a concept shared by John Kania at the conference. You can read more similar Collective Impact insights, including this one from Kania.)
2 – Short-term wins can help build energy, legitimacy, and trust (concept shared in a book, Community Conversations, by Paul Born of Tamarack, given to us at the conference)
Initial Q3/4 Goals: Conduct Core Team Meetings on data work
Benchmark the “how” of the CI “what”
- Determine needed data expertise
- What will it take to get this work done & oversee it
- Determine metrics/measures for 2015 Goals
- Look at looking into different facets individually
Quarter 3 saw a more focused approach to EPIK’s goals and strategy for community impact work. Our original goals set at the beginning of the year assumed a continued focus on data and a successful scoping of our work.
In a sense, scoping did happen, but it came about in a different way than we had originally anticipated: by focusing on short-term wins.
Interestingly, though, one of the Q3/4 goals was accomplished in an unexpected way: by selecting some short-term win projects, we did end up “looking into different facets individually.”
Short-term wins were discussed and decided upon in a community meeting on June 26.
Report to Board, May 18, 2015
Here is the presentation shared with EPIK’s board summarizing the quick-wins focus and the notion of “holding the whole” for the community while short-term win projects were happening. See also notes from the meeting, with highlights below.
- “Holding the Whole” is a key part of our role as the EPIK backbone. To our knowledge, no one in this tech space is doing such a thing. Holding the Whole includes the cross-sector perspective, and the ‘buckets’. [Jan also notes post-meeting that Holding the Whole also includes seeking to continually influence people we come in contact with re: CI principles, such as the cross-sector collaboration model and the importance of measuring impact.]
- We discussed the potential for broader youth involvement through OneCounts.
Short-term Wins Meeting: June 26, 2015
We had a short-term wins brainstorming and selection meeting with cross-sector community leaders on June 26, 2015. The purposes of focusing on short-term wins were presented to meeting participants.
Following are the short-term win options and votes from the June 26 meeting. Each person was given three votes.
- HB 213 [work with supporting implementation of HB213 was already in motion so it was not part of the vote]
- Hack-a-thon; Mar/SLC County Waterford, Utah County–5 votes
- Maker (low tech) Faire; Oct. 3rd/ West Valley Library, Waterford–1 vote
- Summer – Software Program Utilization; Herman Elementary, can earn prizes
- STEM Program – Herrman City Engineer
- Multi Cultural Youth Summit – Oct. 13, Claudia Niccano
- STEM Grant Opportunities – All ages —2 votes
- SLCo Housing Authority – Refugees – Early Literacy – I-pads–2 votes
- LIA Service groups
- Youth Leadership–SLCo–1 vote
- SHARP Surveys – Bill that evaluates this – this year–1 vote
- USOE – Grants for alternative education (technology/foster care kids) —1 vote
- Jordan School Dist. – Grants for gifted and talent
- Private sector/partnership with Industry Leaders – Robyn’s Contact (SFA)–3 votes
- Companies focused on Educational Technology
- Togetherness Conference
- UCAP Conference
- STEM action Center expansion
Summaries of the three top short-term win projects can be found on the EPIK website:
Information about the three short-term wins can also be found in this newsletter that was sent to the ~130 people on our email distribution list.
Successes and outstanding to-dos with the short-term wins are discussed later in the report.
July-August 2015 — DigCitUtah website research
Most of our focus during the rest of the summer was on HB213 implementation support. We hired Lisa Shanklin (media literacy expert) to help research digital citizenship resources. Aubrey took the lead internally on this project. Approximately 200 resources were mined and organized into ten categories (definitions in parentheses), in preparation for creating DigCitUtah.com:
- Digital Footprint (all the ways a personal trail is left when computers are used)
- Media Literacy (smart consumption and ability to participate in online conversations)
- Security (keeping technical devices free from malware and protecting self from data loss)
- Ethics (following personal values and legal standards in the digital sphere)
- Digital Literacy (knowing how to use digital tools to create content and more)
- Harmful Content (identifying and avoiding harmful content)
- Digital Safety (staying safe from physical harms like predators)
- Etiquette (cultural rules for online interaction)
- Cyberbullying (overt and covert intimidation using technical media)
- Sexting (sending explicit photos or text through digital means)
DigCitUtah Website launches – Sept. 2015
- Original purpose of the site was to support school community councils with HB213 implementation. Paula Plant has used it in her Community Council trainings.
- Also had a plan to feature a few pilot products, and we did get some free materials that we can share with others, but the government was concerned about overwhelming councils with curricula implementation
- DigCitUtah website also helped us gain more national legitimacy in the DigCit real
Short-term wins report/Digital Citizenship Positives Brainstorming Meeting, Sept 9, 2015
The purpose of this meeting was two-fold:
- To report back to community partners about short-term win successes and progress. Updates were focused on the Hackathon and HB213. (It was thought at the time that the relationship-building with technology companies could piggyback off of other short-term win efforts; this didn’t play out as we had thought.)
- To have a brainstorming session about potential Positive Pilot project ideas.
Paula Plant from the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) gave the update for HB213 and Shannon Babb (Utah County 4-H STEM Coordinator) gave the update for the Hackathon. More detail about their reports can be found in the meeting report.
The brainstorming session turned into more of a general discussion about digital citizenship that was very fruitful. See part 2 of the meeting report and images below for more details
Media and Networking Opportunities
Carrie Rogers-Whitehead became a KSL writer this year, with the charge to write about STEM and technology issues in Utah. One of her first articles was on HB213 and digital citizenship. Jan Garbett, EPIK’s founder, was interviewed for this article.
Jan also attended the first national Digital Citizenship Summit in Connecticut the first week of October 2015. Conversations and connections at that conference have created a continuing conversation about bringing a Digital Citizenship Summit to Utah, which is tentatively scheduled for 2017. (See hashtags #digcit, #digcitsummit, #stuvoice on Twitter to connect with the conversations.)
Bountiful Youth Council Digital Citizenship Brainstorming Meeting, Nov. 4, 2015
This is the second time EPIK has met with the Bountiful Youth Council. This time the focus was to engage them in a Digital Citizenship Positives Pilot brainstorming meeting. Youth were asked to share the following
1) Where/with whom positives uses of technology could have an impact (e.g., at home, at school, with seniors or veterans, with young children, in the classroom, in a work or church setting, etc.), and
2) How technology could be used in productive and service-oriented ways in these different contexts.
As has been the case in the past, youth were very willing to share their perspectives and ideas, and as has been the case, youth brought up things that adults don’t necessarily see. “Not about them without them” continues to be an essential part of this collaborative process.
Outputs of the meeting can be found here. The youth’s thoughts were organized into categories for ease of use for the Positives Pilot Launch which was held on November 10.
Digital Citizenship Positives Pilot Launch, November 10, 2015
This was an exciting meeting with both adults and youth in attendance. We’ve done separate meetings with youth since EPIK’s launch, but this was the first time we had an integrated meeting with adults and youth working together.
The “grounding” part of the meeting was to bring Devorah Heitner (founder of Raising Digital Natives; see also her TEDx talk) in through video conference to share some of her perspectives on involving youth in the conversation about digital health.
The focus of the working part of the meeting was to model a couple of steps in the process of engaging youth. EPIK provided this handout as a guide as well.
The first activity in the working part of the meeting was a “fishbowl” kind of activity where EPIK’s facilitator asked youth to share their thoughts on positive digital citizenship — and asked the adults to just listen.
As with the Bountiful Youth Council meeting, youth were asked to share 1) where/with whom positives uses of technology could have an impact (e.g., at home, at school, with seniors or veterans, with young children, in the classroom, in a work or church setting, etc.), and 2) how technology could be used in productive and service-oriented ways in these different contexts.
The purpose of this activity was not only to gather content from youth, but also to model a process that school community council leaders and others could use as they seek to engage youth in Positive Pilot projects.
The second activity in this meeting was engaging youth and adults together in a Positive Pilots brainstorming session. The purpose of this exercise was to model how a follow-up meeting with youth could unfold after a Fishbowl activity was conducted. Because we weren’t sure if youth would be in attendance, we came prepared with categorized outputs from the Bountiful Youth Council the week before. The challenge was to use youth ideas as a springboard for further discussion.
Several people asked about how to replicate this kind of process with elementary-aged children. EPIK offered to help anyone with school community council or youth engagement meetings.
More about the meeting can be found in the meeting report.
The experience of one of the youth who participated in the meeting can be found on the DigCitUtah blog. His essay is entitled “Empowered.”
DigCit Utah blog launches, November 11, 2015
As part of the DigCitUtah website effort for HB213, and for community event and idea-sharing around Digital Citizenship, EPIK launched a blog on the DigCitUtah site. We are hopeful that in the future we will have more guest posts from cross-sector community leaders and youth.
Utah County Hackathon, December 12, 2015
EPIK provided two of the nearly 2-hour workshops. EPIK, with leadership of intern Rachel Stone, engaged elementary-aged students (grades 3-7) and secondary-aged students (grades 8-12). The subject was, again, on Digital Citizenship and brainstorming positive ways technology could be used in and out of the classroom.
As would be expected, experiences and responses/approaches were different with the younger children and the older youth. The outputs from the younger children’s workshop included ideas, but also included more pictures and skits. The older youth were energized with sharing ideas about how to improve integration of technology into schools.
Shannon Babb, STEM Coordinator for Utah County 4-H said that the feedback from the workshops was positive, and desires to have EPIK work more with 4-H youth.
Raw outputs from the Hackathon (all the recorded ideas from the children/youth who participated in both workshops, not categorized or organized) can be found in the meeting report.
[As a note, outputs from the Hackathon and other youth meetings that have been held since EPIK’s launch in July 2014 were recently used as inputs for a Salt Lake County Hackathon. Report from that event is forthcoming.]
Collective impact theory talks a lot about emergence. “[T]he rules of interaction that govern collective impact lead to changes in individual and organizational behavior that create an ongoing progression of alignment, discovery, [and] learning….” For EPIK and its community partners, 2015 was definitely a year of discovery and learning, and included some realigning of strategic goals to adapt to that learning.
In addition, because the topic of children and technology is so broad and complex, focusing on short-term wins helped move collaborative community work forward in important ways. By going where the energy was this year, shared goals and passions in the community started to become more apparent, and those common interests are shaping goals and hopes for 2016.
2016 has already brought exciting opportunities, and will present its own set of challenges as EPIK continues to work with others in the community try to help facilitate the maximum amount of collaboration and positive impact as possible.