Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Speaking at #DigCitSummitUK

I can now add international speaker (at the age of nine) to my list of accomplishments.  This weekend, I was the youngest student speaker at #DigCitSummitUK.  I co-presented with my mom and we spoke about digital access. 

Here's our presentation and thanks to Joanne Sweeney-Burke we have a video of our session too: 



Although I have technology available at my school, I do not have access to learn the way I do with my mom at home.  I think digital access is really important because when I was in the first grade, I was assigned a rainforest animal project.  The packet had a list of rainforest animals to pick from and the instructions included a fill-in-the-blank page about the animal and directions on how to draw the animal's habitat.

When I got home from school that day, I said, “I don’t want to research an animal on this list.” Instead, I asked, “Can I blog about it and can you tweet it out?” My blog post asked readers to send facts about rainforest animals that they would want to research.  I received a lot of comments and suggestions and I must have researched over 20 different animals.  It was so exciting to learn about so many rainforest animals that I never knew existed before my blog post.  I learned about the cloudrunner, also known as the cloud rat and the Okapi, Hyacinth Macaw, Jambu Fruit Dove, Aye-Aye and many more animals through comments on my blog and tweets back to my mom. 

After researching all of the animals, I put them into categories like my top 10, top 5, top 2, and then I knew the animal I wanted to research for the project.  When my mom tweeted out my blog post, @digiforest from Manu, Peru responded and they suggested I research the binturong.  I would never have known about the binturong without digital access at home. 

The binturong lives in Southeast Asia and is also called a bearcat. His tail is like an extra hand which is called a prehensile tail. The binturong smells likes buttered popcorn and spends most of their time in trees. They help play an important role in the rainforest by spreading the fig seeds they eat when they poop. 

I wish the other students in my class could have blogged as part of this project, but we don’t have access at school.  I am now in the third grade and I still only get to learn with the world when I’m home.  I want to make sure that students everywhere have access both at school and home. 


Just recently, I asked for a Twitter handle.  My mom said I was too young since the age requirement is 13, so I asked if we could start a mother/son account.  Our account is @CurranCentral and my mom wrote this post for FOSI, Like Mother Like Son: Modeling Digital Citizenship which highlights how we are learning about being safe, ethical and savvy together.  This is how all students should learn and we need more adults in our lives to learn with us.

I've watched my mom moderate the #digcit chat lots of times and when William Jenkins started the #DigCitSummitUK thunderclap, I was a part of it.  Since then, I’ve guest moderated two chats on Twitter (#digcit and #NYEDChat) and I think it is a great way to bring student voice into the conversation.  If you want me to moderate any future chats, let me know.

The best part of #DigCitSummitUK was meeting so many people and live tweeting the different sessions.  One of my favorite parts was seeing Timmy Sullivan represent Rosetta Stone. I take Spanish at school and hope to be able to present at #DigCitSummitSpain with Timmy and Maria Zabala. I like learning with the world and I want all students to have the same experiences I have at both school and home.  As we said at our presentation: