“If you aren't framing the system, then you’re gaming the system.” Whoa. I read this in the “Narrative” section for this week; then I read the assigned texts and watched the linked videos; and then returned to the course website again...and after consuming all of it, the “framing v. gaming” idea is what stuck most and served as a frame for my thinking about this week’s topic. In school settings, rules are made by adults and “applied” to students, for the most part. Board policy, administrative regulations, student handbooks, school-wide expectations, classroom rules: For the most part, they exist in the absence of student participation, and quite often, students are oblivious to some of the rules, even though they (and their parents) have signed the “Yes, we have read and understand the student handbook” doc at the beginning of the year. The vast majority of these rules (almost all of them, really), apply to the parts of “school” that have remained the same for years. Generations, even.
And then there are rules related to technology, digital citizenship, and what it means to lead simultaneous “real” and “virtual” lives about which many of the adults who are making the rules only vaguely understand. Jason is right: “Students need to become policy makers. ...Adults have to stop being the only people at the policy table when it comes to developing rules about cell phone use, Internet access, and social media, as well as all of the issues that await us in the future that we can’t even imagine right now” (Ohler, Digital Citizenship course site, Part I, Topic 2).
My district’s existing mission statement is the result of weeks worth work on the part of a large strategic planning committee. Four or five years ago, our district went through a full-blown strategic planning process, and the mission statement (“To provide a quality education in a rural environment”) and vision statement (“To equip students for current and future success through performance excellence”) sound like mission and vision statements. In fact, now that I am aware of www.missionstatements.com, I am curious to know how many other districts have statements exactly like ours. The CRSD’s vision statement includes the “word” future, but it doesn't inspire future-focused thinking. Our mission statement might better encompass and reflect the realities of students’ dual “lives” if it said something like this: “To provide a 21st-century education and preparation for global citizenship that transcends the boundaries of our rural environment.” The vision statement might be expanded to this: “To equip students for responsible, productive, and ethical participation in local, global, and digital worlds through performance excellence in traditional and new media modes of communication and societal contributions. Whew. That’s a mouthful.
The short, catchy mantras offered up in the text and in the “Mantra, Mottos, and Brands” video, made me think. I think of digital citizenship “education” in terms of curriculum, units, lessons, workshops, assignments. I’ve never put my mind to the reduction of all of this “stuff,” resulting in a simple, easy-to-recall statement or acronym. I really appreciate the “THINK” acronym in the video because it makes sense and hits home in terms of the lesson it shares. It is quite clear what digital citizenship means: “O.K., kids. Before you put anything online, THINK! Is it:
Helpful (or hurtful?)
Inspiring (or illegal?)
I can see this on posters in every classroom and computer lab in the district. I can see it on every teacher’s Weebly or Blackboard course homepage. I can see prizes being given at assemblies for students who can rattle off the Digital Citizenship Mantra at an academic assembly or awards ceremony. But the THINK mantra wasn’t my idea. Thanks to Michael Josephson (2012) for coming up with it, and to Jason Ohler for sharing it in his “Digital Citizenship Mantra, Mottos video clip.”
So, an original mantra. A simple one-sentence description of my core philosophy related to digital citizenship. Let’s see…
- To leverage technology in ethical ways that contribute to efficiency in communication, broadened collaboration, and expanded opportunities for creativity.
- To use new media to expand the boundaries of my combined real and virtual life in a way that makes positive contributions to my world, my community, and peers and colleagues, and myself.
They’re starting points, anyway.
Copper River School District. (Retrieved 6 Feb 2015). Mission and Vision Statements. Retrieved from http://www.crsd.us/superintendents-office.html
Josephson, M. (2012). Before You Speak, THINK. What Will Matter website. Retrieved from http://whatwillmatter.com/2012/04/worth-seeing-poster-before-you-speak-think-before-you-speak-think-t-is-it-true-h-is-it-helpful-i-does-it-inspire-confidence-n-is-it-necessary-k-is-it-kind-adapted-by-michael-josephs/
Josephson, M. (2003). What Will Matter. (Poem Poster). Character Counts. Retrieved from
Ohler, J. (26 Jan 2014). Digital Citizenship Mantra, Mottos. YouTube video. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/b1RDhhDqS2o on 6 Feb 2015.
Ohler, J. (2015). Part 1, Topic 2: Character Education for a Digital Lifestyle. Digital Citizenship OAC Spring 2015. Retrieved from http://www.jasonohler.com/wordpressii/?page_id=2 on 6 Feb 2015.