Sunday, December 20, 2015

Be the Digital Change

The digital revolution is far more significant than 
the invention of writing or even printing.
~Douglas Engelbart

Whether you agree or disagree with the above thought, it is true that the digital revolution has changed the face of classrooms across the world. 

The information age has caused multitudes of messages to be carried across the internet at a fast pace. No longer do learners need to spend hours searching for information. Feedback is instantaneous but with that opportunity comes the responsibility of being a respectful digital citizen and meaning maker. Using social media and technology appropriately is a call to action.

What is needed for digital change?
  1. Active, passion-filled learning spaces where knowledge is shared and created on a daily basis  
  2. Respectful, collaborative communities of ethical digital citizens flattening the walls of learning
  3. Outreach across the globe via technology
  4. A chorus of voices united in purpose as creative problem solvers, decision makers, and innovators
  5. Continual professional learning opportunities/professional development to seamlessly integrate technology with other subject areas
End Result for digital change: 
Students become owners of their learning, meaning makers, and collaborators as they connect their voices with others across the globe.
Where do we begin?

The classroom is the learning place for digital citizenship. Laying the groundwork for students to be explorers of their own learning is key. But first, the teacher's voice needs to be heard as the heartfelt model of responsible citizenry. As teacher's voice crescendos, student voice follows. 

What do teachers who are digital change agents do differently?

Teachers who embrace the growth mindset become the guides on the digital journey of learning, discarding the old school image of sage on the stage. They should:

  • Passionately engage students in active learning environment
  • Provide choice
  • Carefully evaluate resources and gather the best in their literacy toolboxes
  • Encourage voluminous reading and writing opportunities
  • Create digital portfolios and containers to hold student work
  • Send student voice across the globe to real world audiences 
  • Celebrate learning
Ultimately teachers "help students think and act at a local, global, and digital level simultaneously". ~Marialice Curran, co-founder of DigCitSummit

Is the learning only in the hands of teachers?

Parents are stakeholders in their children's education. Therefore, they also need to monitor the digital horizon to provide safe passage for their children. As the first teachers, they have the opportunity to provide language-rich environments. Curiosity and creativity are nurtured in households where collaborative talking time and reading are honored. Parents who are invested in early language development provide a basic foundation in literacy that is continued in the school environment. 

How can student voice be promoted in this digital age?  

For student voice to rise, cultures of trust, engagement, and innovation are needed. In these safe, risk-taking environments collaborative conversations develop as students become voluminous readers across genres. Background knowledge and information gathered lead students to not only notice more about topics of interest but wonder as they follow multiple pathways to discover answers to questions posed. Diverse perspectives broaden, ideas flow, and voice rises in both oral and written forms. Teachers who facilitate authentic learning during project-based activities, genius hour, makerspace, 20% time, and passion projects allow students to become explorers of their own learning who share their work school-wide and with local and global communities.

Call to Action:

Adults have a responsibility to students to provide them with access to a world where learning is about being creators of information as opposed to merely being consumers. Now is the time for all stakeholders, schools, parents, community members, and students to join hands and become part of the #digcit revolution for a positive digital change in the world of learning. 

Beyond the influx of information,
journeys of passionate noticings evolve
within rich, authentic learning environments
of collaborative conversation and trusting relationships.

Inside passion-filled learning spaces
teacher facilitators nurture, guide, and lead
youth through avenues of complex information
 to create innovative ideas built on collaboration and choice. 

From these quarters authentic voices rise,
depths of knowledge shared beyond classrooms,
regional walls flattened, and diverse thoughts sent 
out across the universe so new horizons can be reached.

It is within collaborative communities that learners
evolve as articulate and purposeful difference makers
who bravely cross the digital expanse to be the digital change.
Support all learners's potential in a wold of unlimited possibilities!

©Carol Varsalona, 2015

As part of a growing community of connected educators and a member of the #DigCitSummitUK team, I support the efforts of William Jenkins, Digital Citizenship Summit UK organizer, to bring an awareness of digital citizenship and student voice to a global level.

On January 18, 2016, #NYEDChat will feature Marialice Curran, co-founder of the Dig Cit Summit and co-organizer of #DigCitSummitUK, as the guest host to lead our convo, Be the Digital Change. Join us!

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