Digital Citizenship Symposium 2018  

November 29, 2018

The 8th Nebraska Digital Citizenship Symposium was held on September 25, 2018, at six Educational Service Units across the state. ESU 10, ESU 2, ESU 5, ESU 7, ESU 8/17 and ESU 13 each hosted students, teachers, and administrators at their sites to learn about digital leadership and safety. This year, a record number of participants learned from education attorney Karen Haase, Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Dean Christensen, and a group of Holdrege Middle School students.

The symposium was created in 2011 during one of the ESUPDO meetings, where staff from all seventeen Nebraska ESUs gather to collaborate and learn three times a year. That first year ESU 10 was the only site and seven schools attended. More ESU locations were added over the years as distance technology and video conferencing became more prevalent and reliable. This year 47 teams and 288 people participated!

Eighteen teams from thirteen districts and three ESUs attended the site this year in Kearney. The following ESU 10 districts were present: Central Valley Public Schools, Cozad Community School, Kearney Public Schools (multiple teams), Northwest Public Schools, Shelton Public Schools, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller, and Trinity Lutheran. Staff from ESU 9, ESU 10, and ESU 11 were on hand to facilitate the day. Another ESU 10 district, Riverside Public Schools, attended the symposium at ESU 7.

The focus of the day was on digital leadership, digital citizenship, and online safety. Karen Haase was on-site in Kearney, and her presentation was delivered to the other sites using Zoom. Investigator Christensen gave his message from ESU 13 in Scottsbluff, and this was also broadcast to the other sites through Zoom. A group of middle school students from Holdrege told the audiences about how attending the symposium last year inspired them to create a “Be Kind” movement in their school. Their story set the stage for the work time that followed.

The teams who attended, consisting of four students and two adults, were tasked with creating a message to take back to their schools or districts. During the work time provided, the teams created posters, presentations, and videos to share with the rest of the students and patrons in their communities.
This is the second year that the Digital Citizenship Symposium focused on students in grades four through eight. While the younger students might not have phones or social media yet, they will soon and it is important to get the message out proactively. They need to be taught about good choices and the consequences of poor choices, as well as how to protect themselves online.

We were pleased to have more participation this year than ever before, and we credit the availability of technology to make that happen all over the state and in two different time zones!

by Peg Coover T & L Coordinator