The iCitizen Reflection #DigCit Chat & A Student-Centered WORLD

The Tarrant City 21st Century Scholars 


Okay, the first thing you have to do is read this -> #DigCit Chat: A Defining Moment  the blog post sister to this post that was originally a comment on the afformentioned post and has now turned into this: a sleep deprived, overly excited attempt to summarize the highlights of the project and a little something extra : )

Okay, thanks for coming back! I would like to quickly list and show some of my highlights from the #icitizen project & the definitive #digcit chat last night. 

#icitzen project: Collaborative project with FYS11 freshman from St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford, Connecticut & the Tarrant City Scholars (11th graders from Tarrant High School in Birmingham, AL room 104) 

Highlights, Ah-ha moments, affirmations in collaboration, the power of tech, & the power of STUDENTS

1. If you build it as you go, they will still come: Maryalice, FYS11 and the Tarrant City Scholars (room 104: 2nd period) truely took a constructivist journey on creating this project and the end result proved that collaboration is powerful, collaboration powered by technology is even more powerful, and one question can frame a whole semester. 

What does it mean to be a citizen national, globally, and digitally in the 21st century? 

2 We are all learners, we are all teachers: In giving my students a lot of responsibility and reiterating the “partnership” approach in my classroom and throughout the project they ALL more than rose to the occasion of defining what an #icitizen is, how it connects to American history (What’s up state standards) and how it is essential to TODAY (their world). Both mine and Maryalice’s students stepped up to command the ship, steering it as we went, turning around when necessary, speeding up, slowing down, and vooming towards our destination which later became the iCitizen and the role of empathy in the 21st century. 

Brian’s explantation of an iCitizen 

3. Tweet, blog, skype and LEARN: If you want to engage your students, let them use tools that they are interested in. Let them talk about things that are relevant and interesting while using those tools. Give them choices, prod them with relentless questions of the how, what, when, where, why, and what now. Don’t let them give up, but give them new ways to try things that aren’t working. Know where you want to end up, but be okay that the route may change several times, make the trip much more exciting and the destination all the more meaningful. Trust their decisions and let them make mistakes. Let them explain things, let them decide things, let them take control of their learning. Then sit back and watch the magic happen. By sit back I mean GET ON TWITTER AND TWEET EVERY SINGLE THING THAT HAPPENS BECAUSE THIS IS POWERFUL AND EVERY SECOND NEEDS TO BE DOCUMENTED.  

Various tweets from #digcit #icitizen #defineamerican #WErCHANGE #fys11 


4. Sometimes you just have to jump, or rather, LEAP: Taking what we learned about what a citizen means in the 21st century we packed up our empathy, jumped ship, and swam to the Define American project inspired by Jose Vargas because how can we truly study American history if we don’t DEFINE AMERICAN first? Thanks to twitter, facebook, invested students, and a journalist on a mission (wearing truth on the heart of his sleeve) it appears that our iCitizen journey may have only just began. We began to tweet Jose about the define American project after watching his story in hopes that it would inspire us, room 104, to tell our own stories. Jose immediately retweeted our questions and reflections, reached out by email and showed interest in our class and what we were attempting to do in defining American ourselves. What came from iCitizen fit perfectly with the journey students started on next and finding the words to express the excitement of what a few tweets can do is difficult to say the least. Back to the story… we invited Jose to be a part of #digcit chat last night, knowing it was a long shot, and to our utter disbelief he not only showed up but inspired us even more, and not only that he made a promise to visit our class this semester! Yes, a nationally known journalist, undocumented activist, and global empathy inspiration is coming to our school! The student’s response to this tweet, of a proposal and a promise, created a mixture of emotions to say the least: shock, excitement, pride, laughter, hysteria, and a few tears. One student’s response sums it up best: “Wow, we are making REAL CHANGE, I can’t believe this is happening, I am so proud of us.” I hope you’ll stay tuned, stay informed, and find it within yourself to define citizenship, empathy, and education in the 21st century in a new way; a way that is original, honest, and alive and never forget that one idea, one comment, one person reaching out to another to create something original, empowering, and yes not completely planned can in fact change things (for the better, the much, much much better) Stay tuned, room 104 and iCitizen’s story has only just begun…

#digcit Chat Archive from CHAT 1/11/2012 

iCitizen Student PSAs

iCitizen Student Blog 

iCitizen Final Presention 

@DigCit in Action & Thank Yous

Skyping in Action with FYS11 (1 minute  of 4 50 minute skype sessions throughout the semester)




#DigCit chat in action 


Skyping in Action 


iCitizen research in action 


documenting a skype 


Skype 1 in action 


Ink Think, Collabrating & Connecting 






5 Must have Ed Apps in 2012 for the 21st Century Student Centered Classroom

Whether you are a teacher in a 1:1 ipad or itouch classroom, have a class ipad or your own iOS device these are my must have apps for 2012


EVERNOTE (Free, iPad, iTouch, Mac, Web)

I use Evernote as a digital portfolio and e-notebook. It is where students add in objectives, write rough drafts, jot notes, do research, save sources to cite, attach images, record voice notes, virtually anything that needs to be written, saved, is done within Evernote. This is there landing space. In my classroom we organize our notes by date, topic, and learning goal. I also love the share feature. Students can tweet, facebook, or email their notebook or individual notes which really opens up the floor to an authentic audience and multiple types of feedback. 

SKITCH for iPAD (Free, iPad, Mac)

Just discovered the iPad app for Skitch. The mac app is great for students to apply their knowledge and create an original explanation/presentation of a particular topic. If you are already using EVERNOTE it is a must have because students can share their Skitch work directly to Evernote (as well as email, twitter, or save directly to the device). If you are not yet using Evernote the skitch should entice you even more. 

Socrative (Free, iPad, iTouch, Web)

By far the BEST student/teacher response system I have seen out there. For those of you using the eclicker app, leave it behind and snag this teacher and student app which they are still free! I have an eery feeling it will not be free for long, it is just too good. By far the most versatile response selections and overall smooth response and functionality. Very cutting edge in 21st century formative assessment world. This is a must have. 

Tools 4 Students  (.99, iPad/iTouch)

This app is great for helping students process new information in their own way. I love give students the CHOICE of how they want to organize their research, notes, etc. This app offers students plenty of graphic organizer choices and gives them the option to email their work. I have my fingers crossed a share to Evernote button will magically appear on this app, until then I have students email their final GO to me, then save it to the Google Docs folder (Which is always accessable for them on Schoology) and then from there they can save their GO into their Evernote, email to a fellow student they are working with, etc. Try it for yourself. The whole process takes no more than 3 minutes to email, save to google docs, post to schoology and then share to evernote. 

Voicethread (Free, iPad, iTouch, Web)

I have a whole post dedicated to Voicethread so I will not go into too much detail about this app except to say that as far as giving students an outlet to express themselves visually and orally, then collaborate locally and/or nationally/globally, as well as giving them a chance to share their work to an authentic audience you need to look no further than this app. Here is my previous post on voicethread.

 Schoology (Free, iPad, iTouch, Web)

Okay, I mean’t 6 πŸ™‚ Cannot reiterate how crucial a social networking management system is to making a student-centered, PBL, partnership classroom work and of course the best choice for that is Schoology. Whether you are posting your weekly agenda, having students dropbox assignments, posting videos, links, etc needed Schoology has it all and does it.


What are your must have apps of 2012 for the 21st century classroom? 





Hello 2012, It’s Me Ms. Sanders: My New Year’s Revolution

Being somewhat of an OCD person deciding my plans for new year’s eve became very tedious until  a dear friend of mine snapped me back to reality by saying  “Beth, everyday is a new year, every minute, every second we have the ability to start over, EVERYDAY.” That is it. We have to be the change we seek EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am not saying I don’t love a good Auld Lang Syne and ball drop as much as the next gal but there is SO MUCH to be done and rather than wasting my time planning what I will change, I am just going to jump; feet first, arms flailing, everyday, into the change itself. Its not a resolution, its a commitment to BE THE REVOLUTION. So with that a list of 10 things to remind me of this post, this idea, this revelation, this way of life when I’ve forgot. 

1. Speak the truth, Seek the truth.

2. Say Thank You.

3. Listen; really, really listen.

4. Read more. Write more.

5. Empower others every single day. 

6. Celebrate diversity everywhere, in everything.

7. Stop waiting; Start anywhere and everywhere. Start over everyday if you have to.

8. Embrace where you are, what you have, and who is around you everyday.

9. Never, ever, give up your fight or what you believe is right in your own soul.

10. Tell your story. 


If I had a mantra for 2012 this, by the ridiculously inspiring Ira Glass, would be it. 



Learning Revolutions for the Classroom 

1. Respect and Reflect Everyday

2. Focus on Questions: discussing, creating, answering, becoming

3. Student Voice, Student Choice Everyday

4. Challenge-Based, Passion-Based Learning Everyday

5. Model what it means to not give up: If plan A fails, remember we have 25 more left

6. Meet every individual where they are, then go from there EVERYDAY

7. Purpose, Focus, & Commitment to students leading their own learning 

8. Never give up on the student-centered classroom or the partnership

9. Prove every naysayer wrong, be the change we seek 

10. Support each student in becoming self-motivated, independent thinkers, learners and doers.