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.


~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 ( 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.

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