Common Sense Media at the National Conference on Summer Learning

September 21, 2012
Kelsey Herron
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA
CATEGORIES Common Sense News, Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, Out-of-School Learning

Next summer may seem far in our future, but educators are already preparing to make sure students have plenty of learning opportunities in the off months. The National Conference on Summer Learning, “Summer Changes Everything,” will be held October 23-24 in Pittsburgh. And NYC education program manager Tali Horowitz will be on hand giving a presentation on digital citizenship.

In “Using Blended Learning to Develop Digital Citizenship Skills,” Tali will discuss how informal learning environments provide an ideal opportunity to teach students the skills they need to make safe and informed decisions online. She will also be using our new Informal Learning Digital Citizenship Kit throughout the presentation, and will delve into blended learning approaches that are ideal for teaching digital literacy in the summer months.

Tali will be using our recent collaboration with the New York Public Radio initiative Radio Rookies as a primary example of applying blended learning to teach youth digital citizenship.

This past summer, we worked with initiative leaders to hold a week-long digital literacy and citizenship workshop with teens from the McBurney YMCA Y Scholars. During the workshop, youth were trained using our toolkit, which offers self-guided activities that help youth better understand copyright, creative credit, and the importance of online privacy protection. The teens then took to the streets to ask civilians about what kind of digital citizens they were and how much personal information they share online.

The workshop culminated with teens producing multimedia pieces about their findings, which are all available online. Their stories can now be used to teach their peers and serve as a tool for educators in the classroom.

"I learned that over-sharing can become a problem that affects people who want to apply for a job or go to college," said one participating teen. "I learned many ways to show myself in a positive light online."

A former elementary school teacher, Tali will also be incorporating hands-on activities that include blended learning components during the presentation. She will weave research and best practices gained from the Radio Rookies collaboration with our five digital citizenship modules: privacy, online reputation, over-sharing, copyright 101, and creative credit. Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm effective activities and design a personalized action plan for their own setting.

Although it may be difficult to envision next summer, there’s no doubt that the season offers educators the freedom to take their instruction to the next level, using alternative settings to offer youth rich and meaningful learning experiences. The National Conference on Summer Learning is all about providing the resources and knowledge educators need to foster these experiences, and Tali’s presentation will certainly be worth sitting in on.

Registration is currently open online for National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) members. Non-members can also activate a membership via the NSLA website.