Our high school students spent yesterday in a pilot program, the "21st Century Symposium." This day-long event was designed to replace "Career Night" and give the 10th-12th graders a different experience while 9th graders were off campus for the Service Initiative for the Ninth Grade (S.I.N.G.) two-day outreach program. The morning started with a remarkable keynote by alumnus Glen Jackson on becoming storytellers and "wake makers" (emphasizing character values such as integrity and persistence and highlighting creativity) followed by a variety of sessions on careers, college, and living online. The day concluded with a session on journaling and time in advisories for the students to reflect and "make meaning" of the day.
I was asked to design sessions for all 300 11th and 12th graders addressing issues of online privacy and citizenship. Of course, this age group is far more challenging an audience than our faculty (to whom I had presented in August), and the fact that my daughter is an 11th grader added more pressure. So, I called for reinforcements. Sarita Yardi, an almost-30-but-looks-like-she's-20-year-old-PhD student at Georgia Tech, hangs out online for her research and spent a summer working with her friend, colleague and mentor danah boyd. Together, we put together a 50-minute preso to share in three back-to-back sessions.
The slide deck is uploaded to Slide Share and included below for reference. Although it was tough to get a clear read on audience response, the fact that my daughter was not totally embarrassed and admitted that a number of people stopped her to say they loved it, meant that perhaps we weren't a total #fail.
The biggest hits were probably the BBC Facebook parody (approved by our high school admin team) and the "Letterman Top 10" Things to Remember Online. Of course, the discussion of the Rutger's situation had the room at a hush.
I don't know what will stick with the students over time, but I suppose my hope is that they think more, react less, and learn to promote their best selves.