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#KidsCanTeachUs: Young Digital Leaders Share Their Voices, Choices and Stories

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Lecture

Tuesday, December 1, 12:45–1:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Diana DaCosta  
Luis DaCosta  
Cynthia Merrill  
Liv Van Ledtje  

In today’s connected world, it’s no longer a question of whether or not students are using a devices; it’s about supporting students to create, reason and connect responsibly. This student-led panel shows how kids vlog, blog and podcast their way around the world, and how adults can support them.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Flipgrid
Topic: Digital citizenship
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Language arts, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
Digital Citizen
  • Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In today’s connected world, it is imperative that we explicitly teach with a mindset for digital literacy. It’s no longer a question of whether or not students are going to be using a device; it’s about supporting students to create, reason, and connect responsibly. This presentation places the student at the center of the digital literacy work; it is from her that we hear how crafting a digital identity gives a deeper purpose to her literacy journey. It demands that we consider the power of a global audience with student work and the potential confidence this audience’s feedback gives the learner.

In this session, a diverse student-led panel comprised of students, teacher and staff developer, will demonstrate and describe social media’s impact on digital identity and its potential to serve as a powerful reflection tool for students. Attendees will learn to leverage social media to develop knowledge of students, fuel connected learning, celebrate student voice and foster social-emotional wellness.

This presentation will deepen teacher understanding of digital identity, use of social media as a tool for learning, and contextualize guided practice as a construct when supporting students digital lives. Presenters are confident participants will learn useful digital strategies to use with their students; understand how student stories inspire ideas and incite a larger purpose for learning; and consider new digital entry points for teaching.

Our work allows students to create and design their own unique products reflective of their personalities and learning needs/styles; encourages students to manipulate media to construct their own meaning and enables students to easy share their learning with teachers, families and peers.

This session will:
● Provide educators, grades K-12, a practical vision for using social media to enhance student literacy skills and connect students with a global audience

● Explore methods for helping students access and interpret feedback and then leverage that feedback to revise and refine their digital (and personal) identity.

● Establish baseline experiences and conversations about digital citizenship that guide students to develop empathy, craft media messages with purpose and become empowered agents of change.


In this session, a diverse panel comprised of students, parents and staff developer, will demonstrate and describe social media’s impact on digital identity and its potential to serve as a powerful reflection tool for students. Attendees will learn to leverage social media to develop knowledge of students, fuel connected learning, celebrate student voice and foster social-emotional wellness.
The panelists have organized this session to provide ongoing participant interaction:

10 minutes: provide background and context for the topic, situating the work within the CCSS, ISTE student standards, and need for authentic learning experiences for students. The presenters will collaborate with participants to establish a shared definition and vision of digital identity.

15 minutes: the panel will share stories from the classroom focused on active literacy practices to produce, publish & share with beyond classroom audiences. Through video & work samples attendees will see the layered literacy elements that students employ to create multimedia content and how to use the content as a formative assessment tool for metacognition, voice & knowledge of student.

20 minutes: a closer look into one student’s social media story as Liv and Louie share what motivates them to publish online, how digital creation fosters their literacy development and challenges they've encountered as they crafts their identify online. Throughout this section attendees will use a digital backchannel tool to discuss student safety, agency and independence, and digital citizenship.

15 minutes: presenters will engage the audience in a brief classroom simulation to experience a method firsthand. Through a “demonstration, try, reflect” structure participants will use their personal devices to create a video reflection that they can use as mentor tech model for vlogging with students. Panelists will share structures for creating a Selfie Center that participants can put into practice immediately with students.

Supporting research

Collier, A. (2018).

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. and Csikszentmihalyi, I. S., eds. (1988). Optimal Experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Perennial.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1998). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life. Basic Books.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2002). Flow: The classic work on how to achieve happiness. London: Rider.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York, NY: Plenum.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. University Rochester Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-Determination Theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49, 182-185.

Dewey, J. (1916). ​Democracy and education​. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Dorn, L. & Soffos, C. (2005). Teaching for deep comprehension: A reading workshop approach. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. S., (2007). The continuum of literacy learning, grades K-8: Behaviors and understandings to notice, teach, and support. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Gardner, H., Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Damon, W. (2002). Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning. Basic Books.

Goodman, Y.M. & Owacki, G. (2002). Kidwatching: Documenting Children’s Literacy Development. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Harwayne, S. Lasting Impressions: Weaving Literature into the Writing Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Mattson, K. (2017). Digital Citizenship in Action:Empowering Students in Online Communities. Portland, OR: ISTE.

Merkle, J. (2019).

Mizuko Ito, et al. (2010). Hanging Out Messing Around & Geeking Out: Kids Living & Learning with New Media. New York, New York: NYU Press.

Newman, C. (2018).

Nichols, M. (2006). Comprehension Through Conversation: The Power of Purposeful Talk in the Reading Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Noddings, N. (1984). Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education. Berkeley: University of California Press.

November, A. (2012). Who Owns The Learning: Preparing Kids for Success in the Digital Age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (1992). Transfer of learning. International Encyclopedia of Education (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.

Pink, D.H. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York, New York: Riverhead Books.

Ribbel, M. (2015). Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements All Students Should Know. Portland, OR: ISTE.


University of Oxford: Children’s screen-time guidelines too restrictive, according to new research. Dec. 14, 2017
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). ​Mind in society​. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

More [+]


Diana DaCosta, West Orange BOE
Luis DaCosta, Caldwell West Caldwell
Cynthia Merrill, The Literacy Consortium
Liv Van Ledtje, Oyster River School

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