Monday, October 12, 2015

What's in a Name? Digital Health & Wellness vs. Digital Citizenship

A few weeks ago at our first quarterly meeting of our District Digital Citizenship Committee, one of the first things the group did was change its name to the District Digital Health & Wellness Committee. In a way, this name change has been in the works for some time. Our committee started a year ago, and each time we met we spent a lot of time discussing digital balance--ways to help our students, parents, and community use technology in a balanced way throughout their lifetime. We also have discussed using technology with empathy, which was a term I repeatedly heard at the National Digital Citizenship Conference last week in Hartford, Connecticut. At this conference, I was pleased to see the words Healthy and Balanced prominently displayed on a slide in Janell Burley Hofmann's presentation pictured. (Janell is the author if iRules and was one of the speakers at the conference.)
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Consider these definitions:
Citizenship-the status of being a citizen-the quality of an individual's response to membership in a community
Health-the overall condition of someone's body or mind-the condition or state of something
Wellness-the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal <lifestyles that promote wellness>Source
The word "citizenship" never seemed to be a good fit with what we are trying to accomplish in our community in regards to technology use. Being a good digital citizen vs. using technology in a healthy way bring to mind different things. By focusing on healthy use throughout one's lifetime--wellness--we believe we can have a bigger, more positive and productive impact. To some, this name change may seem trivial or unnecessary, but for us it felt necessary. I know companies often go through re-branding their products and logos, trying to find something that sticks. We are hoping this re-branding of our efforts will do just that.

What is that supposed to mean?

Last week, one of my colleagues on the committee mentioned our meetings to her son who was home from college for the weekend. She says he instantly didn't understand what digital citizenship meant and flat out asked, "What is that supposed to mean?" When she mentioned the recent name change to Digital Health and Wellness, she said he stated right away, "Oh, I get it. That makes sense." Perhaps we are on to something and it's time to change our national focus, too. What do you think? 

View Slide Presentation from October 1, 2015 School Board Report or Watch the School Board Presentation

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