2016 DigCit Summit

On October 28, 2016 hundreds of individuals, businesses, and educational leaders attended The global Digital Citizenship Summit at the Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco, CA. The focus of the Digital Citizenship Summit is to promote positive and practical solutions towards SAFE, SAVVY, and ETHICAL use. The goal was to enlist the help of diverse stakeholders (including you!) to solve problems regarding social media and tech.

Our hope is to swing the pendulum from fear and distrust towards education, empowerment, and engagement. This requires collaboration.

The DigCitSummit 2016 was filled with positive collaborations and people desiring to share ideas and learn more.

A huge amount of good can happen in the world from kids who are safe, savvy, and ethical online. Started in 2014, the DIGCITSUMMIT gets it. They get the need for various stakeholders to come to the table. They get that the pendulum needs to swing from fear and distrust to education and empowerment.

Students Present

This is the first conference I’ve ever seen where TWO of the speakers were 4th GRADE STUDENTS!

Kids are an invaluable asset in figuring out this new online world we/they are immersed in. Check out Curran Dee and Olivia Van Ledtje to see what these kids think about Digital Citizenship.

Plus, check out Timmy Sullivan’s presentation below, he is in high school! Youth can do incredible things.

EPIKs Panel

EPIK, the creator of DigCitUtah, was invited to participate on a panel in the global Digital Citizenship Summit streamed live from Twitter Headquarters on BeTheDigitalChange.com. View this first video (Fourth Panel), which was actually the last panel and send off from the conference, to watch Michelle Linford, Executive Director of EPIK, answer the question: “What do we have to do to see digital citizenship and media literacy be the norm around the country?

Fourth Panel

Here are the DigCitSummit 2016 Speakers and Panels!

Curran Dee

Matt Murrie

Diana Graber

Sarah Thomas

Olivia Van Ledtje

First Panel

Jim Steyer 

Timmy Sullivan

Maria Zabala 

Second Panel

Dr. Jason Ohler

Joanne Sweeney-Burke & Sophie Burke 

Jocelyn Brewer 

Nicholas Provenzano

Third Panel

Tiffany Shlain

Matt Soeth

Kayla Delzer

Larry Magid

(Reposted from DigCitUtah.com)

Cyber Seniors: Teens help senior citizens with digital literacy

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Image credit: Sam Wood 

It’s so easy to talk about all the things youth do wrong with technology, but how often do we give them a chance and encouragement to do something deliberately positive with their digital skills? This is one of the key things we focus on at EPIK Deliberate Digital. Through facilitating community collaborations, we seek to invite more positive discussion and action re: kids and technology. We want to bring more attention to what it means for kids to be deliberate digital citizens — to use digital skills to make a difference in their families, schools, and communities.

For example, EPIK partnered this summer with UServeUtah (hat tip to Anna Decker) to hire an intern who organized two pilots of the Cyber Seniors program (one in Salt Lake City and one in Provo). We met Bethany Breck, our amazing intern, at a Civic Engagement fair sponsored by the BYU Civic Engagement Center. (Read more about the multiple community partners Bethany brought together to implement these pilots at the bottom of this post.)

Cyber Seniors is a program where youth teach senior citizens digital skills (anywhere from basic computer skills to video chat, Facebook, email, and more). The program is expanding here in Utah in significant ways. Two more pilots are in the works; SLCo Aging Services hopes to expand to 17 senior centers in Salt Lake City. Other organizations in Salt Lake and Utah County are also pursuing Cyber Seniors programs (or programs similar to Cyber Seniors).

Cyber Seniors is a win-win program. Seniors get help with digital literacy and youth get to experience the opportunity to be in the role of teacher. As they serve, help, and get to know seniors, they practice patience and develop empathy, and sometimes learn new digital skills themselves as they research and teach.

EPIK also loves the concept because we believe that the more youth are mentored toward positive, deliberate experiences with technology —  the more experiences they have using tech for good — the more likely it is that they will choose to be deliberate digital citizens (and encourage each other to do the same).

Witnessing the bridging of both digital and generational divides during this pilot program was heartwarming. Take a look at the video created by a 15-year-old named Sam who helped with the Cyber Seniors pilot in Provo. You can catch a glimpse of what went on during the multi-week project. Note that the video is yet another example of how youth can use technology in wonderful ways when given the opportunity.

We are excited to watch Cyber Seniors and similar programs continue to be implemented in Utah, and we encourage community leaders in other states to learn more about Cyber Seniors. Feel free to contact michelle@epik.org or anna.decker@utah.gov for more information about Utah’s pilots. You can also call Cyber Seniors at 844-217-3057 or visit their website.

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More about the Cyber Seniors pilots in Utah:

You can read more about the Cyber Seniors pilots in Utah in this KSL article: Seniors get tutored in technology by teens (hat tip to Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, one of the community partners who also helped Bethany and UServeUtah and EPIK with planning and networking)

This pilot is an excellent example of what can happen when community partners are invited to come together around a common goal. It took a lot of people to make Cyber Seniors happen, and it took a dedicated resource to help coordinate their efforts. Following are community partners who are and have been involved in this effort:

  • Senior  Centers in both Salt Lake City and Provo
  • Housing Authority agencies
  • My Tech High (students from their program helped teach seniors in Salt Lake City)
  • Sorenson Multicultural Center & Unity Fitness Center via its youth programs
  • Google Fiber SLC & Provo (helping with computer labs and providing laptops — hat tip to Jacob Brace, Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber SLC and Maliana Tupou, Community Impact Manager for Provo)
  • United Way of Utah County
  • Celina Milner, former Special Projects Manager for the SLCo Mayor’s office, and director at Project Lead the Way, who helped with initial planning and networking efforts
  • Dr. Cory Dennis, professor at BYU, who helped guide research methodology and tool creation
  • Volunteer coordinators from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University

As a side note, Utah County 4-H STEM (hat tip to Shannon Babb) is doing a similar program that they created, and we’ve learned that the Salt Lake County Library in Magna (hat tip to Trish Hull) has done something along these lines as well. We hope to feature their work here in the future at EPIK.org or at DigCitUtah.com.

2016 EPIK Collaborative Initiatives

EPIK was created to help facilitate collaboration around the issue of kids and technology. There are various initiatives EPIK is currently assisting with:

1) Salt Lake City Digital Inclusion Initiative (in collaboration with Google Fiber): Salt Lake City’s Digital Inclusion Initiative. As a recently-selected Google Fiber city, Salt Lake City leaders want to increase conversation and collaboration for more digital inclusion in the city. A collaborative community meeting is being planned for August 2016, to enable the city to get input on its Digital Inclusion plan. EPIK is helping support the community collaboration, as well as facilitating youth engagement activities such as the youth Hackathon in December and a booth at the Sorenson Unity Center fair in April. Read more about the Salt Lake City Digital Inclusion Initiative on EPIK’s website.
2) Ongoing support for HB213 implementation, with a particular focus on encouraging positive pilots (encouraging youth leadership in using technology in deliberate, positive ways that contribute to family, school, and/or community life).
3) Cyber Seniors pilots: In the spirit of positive pilots, EPIK has co-hired a summer intern with the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism to implement pilots of the Cyber Seniors program in Salt Lake City and Provo City. (Read more about the Cyber Seniors program and documentary.)
4) Facilitating collaboration to expand Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy efforts at a state level.
5) Facilitating collaboration to expand Digital Citizenship/Media Literacy policy at a national level (with a hat tip to Media Literacy Now and the National Association for Media Literacy Education).
6) Planning toward the #DigCitSummit that is anticipated for 2017 as part of the Salt Lake City Digital Inclusion Initiative.

2015 EPIK Report

Better late than never, here is the 2015 EPIK Deliberate Digital 2015 Report.

Executive Summary

Early-year Meetings

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

QUARTER 1

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).

Collective Impact Framework Color

[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.

One-on-One Meetings/Interviews

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.

QUARTER 2

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 Collective Impact Network Weaving

 

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.

Meeting Highlights

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)

QUARTER 3

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

Summary

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:

HB213: Safe Technology Use and Digital Citizenship Education

Utah County Hackathon

Community Conversation and Connection with Tech Companies

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

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IMG_0178

IMG_0177

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.]

Conclusion

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.

 

 

Utah County Hackathon – December 12

 

 

Hackathon icon

 

This is the week where kids and computers get a lot of attention — Computer Science Week. The Utah County 4-H STEM leaders decided to sponsor a Hackathon, and EPIK has been helping plan the event. (We’ll also be hosting two of the Big Think activities during the day!)

The event is FREE, and there are activities for kids of all ages, ranging from K-12. (Younger children (K-4) need to have an adult present to participate.) Classes are filling up, so register today!

If you are interested in volunteering, see this Eventbrite signup page.

Utah County Hackathon

Digital Citizenship Positives Pilot Launch (11-10-15)

We had a great Positives Pilot Launch meeting, facilitated by EPIK (in collaboration with Paula Plant of USOE, and hosted by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead at the West Jordan Library). The intent of this meeting was continuing support of HB213 implementation.

This report will include a brief summary of the meeting, including links to meeting handouts and outputs.

As part of the report, we also want to draw your attention to the newly-launched DigCitUtah blog. The blog launch includes a post (“Not about them without them“) that features the TEDx talk given as “pre-work” for the launch meeting. And, in the spirit of “Not about them [the children] without them,” we especially encourage you to take a few minutes to read insights and takeaways from John, one of the six teens who participated in the meeting (see the post “Empowered“). John’s post captures so well what the Positives Pilot has the potential to do to bring adults and youth together in a cooperative effort.

Meeting Summary (Meeting Model/Training for Creating Positive Pilot Projects)

IMG_0249

Dinner and intros:

EPIK provided a light dinner, and we went around the room and did brief introductions. (For all of EPIK meeting agendas with attendee lists, see this shared Google folder.)

Grounding:

We were honored to have Devorah Heitner of Raising Digital Natives join us by video conference. She shared some thoughts about the opportunities of working with youth to make the most of our digital world. Michelle gave a brief overview of how the Positives Pilot project came to be, and what the objectives of the launch meeting were (to model pre-planning processes to help adults 1) practice listening to/working with youth and 2) focus deliberately on positive uses of technology).

Meeting attendees were given this handout, which outlined the two pre-planning steps EPIK recommends in a Positives Pilot project planning process. The handout also includes information for school community councils about HB213 implementation, as well as meeting facilitation guides for the following two activities.

Working: 

Activity 1: Modeling a “Fishbowl” meeting with youth: Kathy Gowans (consultant who helps EPIK with design and facilitation of meetings) gathered the six youth in attendance in a a half-circle at the front of the room. Adults were behind the youth as the “fishbowl” — encouraged to listen only to the youth as they shared ideas about positive uses of technology/positive digital citizenship. (Adults also wrote down ideas for positives uses of technology on sticky notes, but did not share with the group at this time. We did gather these ideas and they are part of the meeting notes document. There’s also another list of ideas from the Envisioning Digital Citizenship meeting in June.)
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Youth shared both 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 also shared specific ideas of how technology could be used in productive and service-oriented ways in these different contexts.

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Purpose of this exercise: This fishbowl exercise was meant to model how an initial Positives Pilot meeting with youth could go.

Often adults are tempted to jump in too quickly when working with youth. It’s too easy to slip into the mode of doing things to/at/for youth instead of with them. But the digital citizenship conversation needs the input of youth! Because of the authority differential that exists, and because of adults’ natural tendencies,  adults need to be very deliberate about really listening in a spirit of curiosity.

Also, in general, when it comes to project planning (whether among adults or when working with youth), the tendency is almost always to jump in too quickly to planning and decision-making before truly gathering inputs from councils/committees/team members. In the spirit of “Not about them without them” EPIK is trying to encourage adults — in whatever capacity they may find themselves — to consider how to deliberately bring youth perspectives (and team member perspectives) into the digital citizenship conversation and pre-project planning process.

What would have happened had we had more time: We definitely would have lingered longer in the mode of gathering ideas from the youth. (The energy in the room was amazing!) We also then would have guided them to cluster their ideas into common “buckets” or categories, so that everyone in the room could see the similarities and differences between the ideas. Lastly, we would have let the adults share and cluster their ideas as well, and encouraged everyone to note similarities and differences between youth and adult ideas and perspectives.

Activity #2: Modeling a group discussion with youth Fishbowl ideas as inputs: Participants were divided around three tables (approximately nine people at each table, with a mixture of both adults and youth in each group). Each group focused on a different cluster of ideas gathered from a Fishbowl activity with the Bountiful Youth Council that was held the week before. (Many thanks to Kendalyn Harris and the Bountiful Youth Council for letting EPIK join their meeting!) Those idea clusters were used by the three groups as a springboard for a group brainstorming process, where the group worked together to list possible Positives Pilot project ideas. Each individual in the group had time to read through the youth inputs and then each member of the group had time to share his/her ideas. All the groups chose a recorder for their discussion, and each recorder then shared the list of ideas with the whole room.


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Purpose of this exercise: The intent of this second exercise was to model how a follow-up meeting with youth could unfold. Using the outputs from a Fishbowl experience (with ideas clustered/categorized), more brainstorming about possible project ideas can happen in ways that seek to take all the inputs into consideration. This collision and comparison and conglomeration of ideas can often spur thoughts and discussions that would not happen otherwise in a typical decision-making and planning processes that are often more concerned about managing time, fulfilling requirements, or other constraints. EPIK is encouraging a deliberate “front-loading” of the the process to flesh out ideas and insights before investing time and resources into projects.

It’s important to note that no decisions are made at this point in the process. It’s still a brainstorming, idea-clustering and comparison phase. Again, fighting instincts to hijack, control, or shorten the process is important. As Kathy often says, “Trust the process.”

What would have happened we had more time: There are no bad ideas in brainstorming, so ideas that were shared ranged from specific project possibilities to more general wishes and needs (some were almost like tech requirements). We would have helped the groups process such ideas further so as to start to get closer to actual projects that could be specifically by a classroom or other group of children or youth. We would have helped the groups consider questions such as, “Whom do we want to help?” “What matters to our group?” “What audience would we like to impact?” “What passions does our group have?” [And we probably could have more clearly folded such questions as guides into the instructions.] Getting to the “why” of ideas is as important, if not more so, than the “what”s. Still, the kind of brainstorming that took place could have easily been guided into more discussion, asking people to consider what might be spurring some of the more general ideas, and translating general wishes, goals, and desires into tangible project ideas.

We also would have helped people think about how something that seems technical on the outset (like ideas for app functionality) could actually reflect unmet human needs (e.g., “I wish there was an app that could shut my parents’ phone off). Discussions could have been mediated around what such thoughts can tell us about the opportunities and challenges of living in a digital world, as well as some of the “why”s that are on people’s minds.

Wrap-up:

We only had a few minutes to gather insights and impressions from the meeting. There were several questions about how this process could be applied to elementary-school aged children. We hope to help people engage with children of that age. In the meantime, Kathy reiterated the concept of “Trust the process.”

What we would have done had we had more time: We would have let both adults and youth decompress more from the whole process. We only had a few minutes at the end, and one of the teens noted after the meeting that he felt uncomfortable speaking up at that point. This was instructive. Even in a setting where we were deliberate about emphasizing that we wanted to hear youth perspectives (and we are professionally aware of the importance of creating a setting where children feel space to speak), the natural dynamic of adults speaking and youth stepping back appeared.

 

Thoughts from the First #DigCitSummit

Jan Garbett, the founder of EPIK Deliberate Digital, attended the first Digital Citizenship Summit in Connecticut earlier this month.

What was the purpose of the summit? As stated on a post on the DigCitSummit website:

One of the main objectives for the Digital Citizenship Summit…is to build on best practices from across the country [United States] (and beyond). Why constantly reinvent the wheel? For example, if there is amazing work being done by an educator out in North Dakota, how can that knowledge be transferred to an organization in Pennsylvania? As much as the Internet can easily connect groups, it has become apparent that digital citizenship is often operating in multiple silos instead of working together.

This vision of breaking down silos and increasing collaboration, sharing, and forward motion is definitely consistent with EPIK’s mission, so we were glad to be able to attend.

Jan was also glad to be able to connect with some passionate national leaders in the DigCit space with whom we had connected, but whom we had not previously met. (See, for example, the following photo of Jan with Erin McNeill of Media Literacy Now, Diana Graber of Cyber Civics, and Devorah Heitner of Raising Digital Natives).

In this post, Jan shares some of the points from the one-day event that stood out to her.

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~by Jan Garbett

The muted light of October in New England infused the summit with a cheerful warmth that was undergirded with energy and optimism. Students, parents, scholars, and key influencers from around the country gathered at the The University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. Proceedings from the summit validated findings from the past 18 months of community conversations facilitated by EPIK Deliberate Digital.

Guest panelist Dr. Shelley Prevost (https://twitter.com/shelleyprevost) defined Digital Citizenship in the opening session of the #DigCitSummit October 3, 2015 as a conscious use of digital technologies that includes the concept of moving humanity forward. 

[We like this simple definition because it captures the essence of good citizenship and recognizes that digital technologies are simply tools that can facilitate what it means to be a good citizen. Technology also means that we are each citizens of a global society, not just the local area or even nation in which we live.]

Here are a few other points that caught my attention from the conference:

  • We need to include young people in finding solutions in order to learn how we can help them navigate their digital world. [We were happy to see that students were involved in the summit!]
  • Devorah Hitner, founder and CEO of Raising Digital Natives, proposed moving from an attitude of “monitoring to mentoring.”
  • Children are not motivated to use technology wisely when based on fear. They need to be taught about the risks and that the best filter is the “one in between their ears.”
  • Erin McNeill, founder of Media Literacy Now says that media literacy is better when it’s incorporated into curriculum rather than just as a class.
  • Kerry Gallagher, Technology Integration Specialist at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Mass. cautioned that schools might add digital citizenship curriculum “just in computer science classes, or worse, as a one time assembly. Digital citizenship needs to be a priority beyond one event…schools need to train teachers on how to fully integrate digital citizenship at all levels and in all subject areas.”

For more about the Digital Citizenship Summit, see the Summit website and follow the hashtag #digcitsummit on Twitter.

Envisioning Digital Citizenship (9-9-15, Part 2)

This is Part 2 of the report of the meeting held on September 9, 2015. (You can read Part 1, reports on the Hackathon and HB213 implementation here.)

 

9-9-15 meeting agenda

 

After the excellent updates from Shannon and Paula (see Part 1), the group engaged in the working portion of the meeting, focused on Envisioning Digital Citizenship. This meeting comes at a good time, because EPIK founder, Jan Garbett, will be attending a Digital Citizenship summit in Connecticut in a few weeks, and we are anxious to have as much input as possible about Envisioning Digital Citizenship so that she can take Utah’s best ideas to the summit. We are excited about what came out of the meeting on the 9th and would welcome any input from other community members who are reading these reports and/or who weren’t able to attend.

The bulk of the work in the meeting ended up being a great discussion about digital citizenship. We started first by talking about how good digital citizenship can mirror good citizenship. Just as good citizenship isn’t just about avoiding bad behavior or staying safe from harm, good digital citizenship can and should involve more than just protecting children from harm (like harmful content or people) or helping them avoid harmful behavior (like cyberbullying or sexting). However, as has been validated through curating over 200 resources for the DigCitUtah site (see the Part 1 report), much (if not most) of the traditional digital citizenship curriculum and education tends to focus heavily on prevention and protection. The media also often highlight the negatives without helping us tap into and consider all the potential good of technology.

So how can we bring more positive energy and ideas to the conversation and collaboration?

Following are the flipcharts from the discussion, with some highlights and commentary. This is just the beginning of a discussion, so we welcome comments, insights, and ideas. We hope this can be a continual community conversation, for we will never arrive at having set solutions. Technology means that our world is constantly changing and we need to work together to be adaptive and responsive and connective in our responses.

  • Good citizenship (and good digital citizenship) should be principle-based, not program-based.
  • Kids can be taught that anonymity can hinder good online behavior. De-individuation leaves kids and youth separating who they really are with how they behave online. Integrity and being real about who you are online can be a key element of good digital citizenship.
  • Adults can help mentor youth by helping them consider what they want tech to do for them. When technology is used deliberately and with specific goals in mind, it can be less of a passive tool where harmful or time-wasting behavior can happen.

 

A simple insight for us all to realize is that whether we realize it or not, if we use technology in any way, we are digital citizens! When we use technology for any purpose, we leave a footprint and data is gathered. Those of us before the Millenial Generation experienced a different internet. It was mostly used for research, for information gathering, for consumption. But “that internet is different from this internet.” (This can sometimes be frightening, but that fear is often what can get in the way of us being positive mentors for the youth in our lives. When we approach the internet with fear, we magnify the potential for problems, and risk driving wedges between the generations.) When we are informed digital users, we can be more deliberate digital users (and mentors). So often, though, stories we get through the media and elsewhere focus so much

One of the insights that the group kept coming back to is that technology magnifies both the good and the bad. Where there is bad for kids to find or engage in (pornography, bullying, unhealthy sexual behavior) technology can magnify and intensify the potential for harm. (Anonymity also increases that impact and decreases accountability.) On the flip side, the good that can be done in families, communities, and the world can often be magnified through technology. (Countless examples exist, but we also believe that the potential for good is still largely untapped — and this is a key purpose of what the EPIK collaborative effort is about.)

An example we like to share is this trailer from a documentary called Cyber Seniors. Teens use their knowledge of technology to help seniors learn how to connect with family on social media, learn skills like online banking, or even just listen to the Hallelujah Chorus on YouTube! Another simple example was given by Shannon Babb. In areas where snowfall is heavy, technology is allowing the community to coordinate efforts to help clear fire hydrants in their areas through an Adopt-a-Hydrant app. We also like to share the example (a story that went nationwide!) of a student who used Instagram to spotlight other students in positive ways.

(As an important side note, we believe that the best ideas of ways children and youth can use technology for good will need to be created with the children and youth — not about them without them! In fact, kids can probably do a lot to help us understand more about prevention and protection as well. One of the things that was mentioned by Shannon Babb (a tech expert) is that children as young as kindergarten can break through a firewall in minutes. It reinforces how limited the power of filters and firewalls really are. When kids want to break through them, they can and will.)

Another simple, tangible insight that people resonated with was the Boy Scout concept of leaving things better than you found them. What a great way to think about digital citizenship!

 

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The last few minutes of our meeting included a brainstorming activity, just scratching the surface of thoughts and ideas, both specific and general, about how more positive energy and approaches regarding kids and digital citizenship can be leveraged. It was amazing, though, how many ideas flowed in such a short period of time.

The ideal would have been to have time for the group to assimilate and cluster their thoughts, but for now, here is a running list of things that were shared. What ideas come to your mind as you read this list?

  • Article about nature and STEM (Celina Milner mentioned there is some focus assimilating STEM education and nature)
  • Renaissance of principle-based teaching/learning
  • Politicians can be responsive to constituents and even engage in discussion (using tools like asychronous video?)
  • Anti-bullying online initiatives
  • Do for someone who can’t
  • What do you use tech for? (research, tool, entertain, distraction, creation?)
  • Create an app (like a science project)
  • Digital integrity; own who you are
  • Like the analogy of a good citizen
    • Not locked behind doors
    • Beautifies his/her space
    • Fixes problems
    • Serves
  • Tech as a way to see their creations (e.g., Deviant Art and Etsy)
  • Tech as a means to assist those with special needs
  • Example of a 3rd grader taught to do PowerPoint presentation so she could share with another classroom
  • Environment where student and teacher can provide feedback online
  • Teens teaching youth cyber skills
  • Teach teachers how to hack firewalls so they know when to be worried [as mentioned above, very young children can hack!]
  • Bring adults (teachers/parents) up to speed or they can’t lead [emphasis in original!]
  • Bring parents and kids into the same room
    • Parents share concerns (what they think is going on)
    • Students share fears/frustrations (what they are dealing with, what is really going on)
    • Students share solutions/ideas
    • Parents use students’ info to create an ongoing plan with students that includes regular communication
  • Tech Patriot Awards — honor, integrity, service, courage, being a citizen
  • Tech science fair
  • Learning how to earn and spend your social capital
  • Bring example of digital bread crumbs to the class in an understandable way
  • Listen. What is the need?
  • Paying students to present on topics (this is something already happening in library tech club)
  • Pay it Forward (the book)
  • Active participation; Authentic participation
  • Technology as a path out of poverty
  • Global tech (good citizens)
  • Encourage kids to make memes — small digital projects [and someone mentioned competitions around simple skills like this]
  • Apps, sites to organize and mobilize youth
  • Tech a way to connect with youth in other countries
  • Provide ways for kids and industry to interact
  • [Creating] something that creates a smile
  • Make your digital avatar your best self
  • Adopt-a-hydrant [mentioned above]
  • Need to teach citizenship before digital citizenship
  • Dual immersion changed to tech immersion in schools; Foreign Language [including] coding, html, Java, etc.
  • School culture = life culture
  • Does this problem go away when “digital natives” raise kids? Is it only a transitional problem? (No.)
  • Audience [for addressing the problem] — parents and youth — everybody
  • Train the trainer — the problem is too large to solve on our own
  • Partnerships
    • STEM
    • Education Policy
    • Entire tech industry and web consortiums
    • Faiths
    • (Everybody)
  • Help students understand the benefit of “productive” internet use / costs of “unproductive” use (NetSmartz / Cyber Civics)
  • Website to help youth set, track, share, and celebrate accomplishment of goals
  • Filters decreasing as child ages [progressive increase in responsibility and internal management rather than external control by adults]
  • Tech as a key way to find scholarships and money for college
  • Digital Shark Tank
  • App for scholarships and grants
  • Create safe digital playgrounds for both parents and children to play together
  • Public-private partnerships (schools can’t do it all)

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Short-term Wins Report (9-9-15, Part 1)

We are excited to give you a report of our recent EPIK Alliance meeting, which was held on September 9, 2015 at the West Jordan Library. Many thanks to Carrie Rogers-Whitehead for hosting.

 

This update will come in two parts, via two separate posts. In this post, we will share highlights from the reports that were given on the short-term projects we have been working on (see this post or our most recent newsletter for background). The second post, Envisioning Digital Citizenship, captures the working part of the meeting. We welcome anyone who is interested you join that conversation. Our intent with this visioning process is to invite people to think beyond just preventative/protective concerns when it comes to kids and tech to consider proactive, positive ways that adults can encourage and engage youth in using tech for good. (To get your creative brain juices going, we invite you to watch this short documentary trailer, which captures an example of how youth can use their tech skills in positive ways.)
As an important note, EPIK founder, Jan Garbett, will be attending a Digital Citizenship summit in Connecticut in a few weeks, and we would love to have as much input as possible about Envisioning Digital Citizenship so that she can take Utah’s best ideas to the summit.

 

9-9-15 meeting agenda

 

Our meeting began with reports from Shannon Babb, Utah County 4H STEM Coordinator, and Paula Plant, Utah School Land Trust Program Manager. Shannon reported on the Utah County Hackathon scheduled for December 12, and Paula reported on the collaborative efforts around the implementation of HB213. For each project below, I will include a summary of the project report, and then list the needs for each project that we hope those of you receiving this email might be able to help fill.
Utah County Hackathon
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Report Summary
 
The Hackathon has a primary purpose to help underprivileged children and youth in Utah County have more access to STEM skill-building and networking opportunities. However, the event will be open to any youth in the area who are interested in attending. Shannon anticipates that anywhere from 900-2000 students could attend over the course of the day. Even without specific marketing efforts, there are already a couple hundred students who are interested!
The Hackathon will have different tracks designed for various age groups, including younger children. Track topics will include coding options, career exploration (with participation and support from tech community representatives), and Groupthink brainstorming sessions. There will also be classes for parents/adults.
Hackathon Needs
 
– The primary need is to locate and finalize a location for the event. Ideally, such a space would have a large meeting area (like a gym or auditorium), at least one (but preferably two) computer labs, and space for breakout sessions/classes. The hope is that space could be donated so as to not have to charge families for the event.
– We are also looking for more teachers for classes for kids.
– Lastly, we would appreciate any corporate sponsorships to help offset any potential venue costs (which could provide exposure for your organization as well).
If you know of a venue that could be used for the Hackathon, and/or you or your organization are interested in teaching a class or helping sponsor the event, please contact Shannon at shannon.babb@usu.edu
 
HB213 Implementation
 
Report Summary
Paula first gave a brief summary of HB213, Safe Technology Use and Digital Citizenship. (For more information on HB213, see the School Land Trust site and this EPIK blog post.) She also then explained about the two main elements of the collaborative work being done with EPIK’s support.
1) EPIK is providing a digital citizenship resources website (when launched, it will be available at digcitutah.com). This website is intended to provide a curated, categorized list of some of the digital citizenship resources that are available. School community councils will both be able to access general digital citizenship resources, and look for resources based on certain topics that might be of concern, such as cyberbullying or sexting (two common concerns).
2) In addition, school community councils will also have an opportunity to “do something more” through what we are calling a positives pilot. Typically, if schools think about digital citizenship at all, the focus is often heavily focused on preventing negative outcomes of children using technology, such as mentioned above. Although prevention and protection are important elements of digital citizenship education, just as with regular citizenship, there is much more that being a good citizen can and should entail.
Although this is not a requirement in the law, school community councils have the opportunity to select or create a “positive” project (see this list for sample ideas). We will provide a training/brainstorming meeting for interested council representatives to help support them in working with their councils and engaging children/youth in their schools to plan, execute, and share results from a positives project.
The hope is that school administrators and teachers, parents, and children alike will be able to work together to harness more of the positive potential of technology, and help create more positive energy around the topic of kids and tech. Again, even as there are concerns that deserve attention, the reality is that technology is here to stay. We all can learn together how to integrate it more deliberately and with more focus on using tech to serve and contribute in positive ways to family and community life.
HB213 Needs
– When digcitutah.com launches, we would appreciate having parents, school community council members, and professionals in the digital citizenship realm help give feedback on the site.
– If you know of someone on a school community council who might be interested in the positives pilot, please email Michelle at michelle@epik.org or Paula at Paula.Plant@schools.utah.gov 
We are thrilled with the progress of these two projects and thank all who are helping make the work possible. Be sure to read Part 2 of the September 9 meeting report, Envisioning Digital Citizenship.

HB213: Safe Technology Use and Digital Citizenship Education

HB213

School community councils need information and support to implement HB213. The EPIK Alliance Community has an opportunity to help.

What is HB213?

In this last legislative session, Keven Stratton (who has participated in some of the EPIK community meetings) sponsored and the legislature passed a bill that proposed amendments to an already existing law. These amendments stipulated that a new responsibility for school community councils is to partner with the administration in making decisions about filtering of school devices that access the internet and to oversee training of students and parents to assist students in making smart media and online choices. (You can read the text of HB213 here.)

This legislation was precedent setting.

Through EPIK’s relationship with Media Literacy Now, a national non-profit, we became aware that this legislation (particularly the concept of putting the concept of digital citizenship in the books) was precedent-setting, as no other state has language codifying the need for digital citizen education.

Sometimes policy can help spur cultural shift!

EPIK Deliberate Digital’s Collaborative Role 

HB213 allows for school community councils (which include administrators, teachers, and parents, and who could work with their school youth councils) to seek assistance from non-profits in the implementation of the digital citizenship training element of HB213. EPIK Deliberate Digital is collaborating with the School Children’s Trust Section at the Utah State Office of Education.

To aid in supporting councils, parents, and youth, EPIK Deliberate Digital will host a digital citizenship website that will provide resources and information around the many facets of digital citizenship. Because EPIK Deliberate Digital is focused on community collaboration, we hope to involve many community partners in content creation for this website (see next section).

We will also be seeking to expand the conversation around digital citizenship to include more focus on leveraging the positives of technology (not just preventing the negatives).

Since the plans for the 2015-2016 school year have already been submitted by school community councils and approved by local school boards, the current plan is to collaborate with 8-10 councils in pilot mode. In addition to seeking input from these pilot councils on the digital citizenship website, we will also work with these pilot councils to engage with student leaders at their schools to select and implement a digital citizenship project that focuses on leveraging the positives of technology. This can help councils state-wide to have some examples they can draw upon as they plan for the 2016-2017 year.

How EPIK Community Partners can get involved

1. Contribute resource and program information for an EPIK digital citizenship resources website

EPIK Deliberate Digital will be hosting a website educating about the facets of digital citizenship, and informing school community councils and parents about the many resources available for digital citizenship education.

If you are interested in having your organization spotlighted on the website, and/or interested in writing a guest post for the website, please contact aubrey@epik.org or michelle@epik.org

2. Help expand the concept of digital citizenship to include using technology in creative, contributing ways

A good majority of digital citizenship dialogue and efforts focus on preventing potential negative outcomes that can exist with technology use. Initiatives and programs around internet safety, netiquette, cyberbullying prevention, protecting identity, etc. are essential elements of digital citizenship. But an EPIK definition of digital citizenship expands beyond preventing negatives and helping kids be smart consumers and users of technology to being contributors, connectors, and creators in their families, schools, peer networks, communities, and society at large.

We are hoping to connect with more organizations focused on this more proactive approach to technology use for kids. Please contact michelle@epik.org if you know of any organizations doing such work.

3. “Not about them without them” — Work with youth to brainstorm new ways we all can use technology more deliberately and positively 

We invite you to watch Devorah Heitner’s TED talk if you haven’t yet (or watch it again if you haven’t watched for a while). She talks of “co-creating solutions” with these youth who have “lived experience” with technology. The solutions of tomorrow regarding kids and tech can’t be created without tapping into the know-how and needs and ideas and energy of the kids and youth of today. They are the leaders of tomorrow. They are digital natives and have perspectives on and experiences with technology that we as adults don’t have. Let’s let them help create their future and ours.

Part of the website will include an ongoing list of ideas for ways technology can be used for good.

For example, youth of today can use their tech know-how and skills to:

  • Inspire and encourage others through social media interactions
  • Help fund-raise for good causes
  • Build relationships with loved ones and friends
  • Build skills for future jobs and technological advances in society
  • Provide positive peer support and help
  • Create art, music, video, inspirational messages, etc
  • Learn about and engage proactively with their world
  • Expand and share their knowledge of other cultures
  • Connect with other youth around the world

Good digital citizenship needs to be a cultural mindset, a way of life 

It’s exciting to have a law that has the potential to spur cultural change. HB213 will likely motivate many school community councils to find a program, presenter, or other one-time resource that can help a school community take a closer look at digital citizenship education. Over time, we hope that our efforts will help digital citizenship become more a way of life and a positive cultural movement. In summary, HB213 implementation can spur the potential for that kind of progress, as we work together to:

  • Create a clearinghouse of resources
  • Involve many community voices and experts — including youth — to spur more conversation about the many facets of digital citizenship
  • Brainstorming more ways youth can use technology to connect, create, and contribute in their families, schools, peer networks, cities/communities, and society at large