Tuesdays With TED – An Escape From The Usual Lunchtime Routine

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Earlier this year, I attended the annual AIS Teacher Librarian conference and met fellow TL Mr. Jason Saikaly, Head of Library Services at Barker College. He presented on the success of his weekly TED sessions in the Library, and after chatting to him about my ideas of incorporating the same idea at Newington, we’ve since kicked off during Term 3.

TED Talks are a set of conferences from all around the world on a wide range of ideas and topics to challenge and inspire others. ‘TED’ stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and it’s motto features the quote “ideas worth spreading”. One aim of hosting these TED Talks is to bring boys and staff together in an environment that showcases short, thought provoking, informative and jaw-dropping videos, intellectual discussion (and free food!)

One such video, by Luis von Ahn is titled, ‘Massive-Scale Online Collaboration’ – a fascinating discussion ‘that uses small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good’. I feel that this is the essential understanding that a digital citizen needs in their ‘toolkit’. As we all know (and may have experienced), there are occasions where online behaviour illustrates hostility, hatred and negativity. Unfortunately, our boys will be exposed to this at some stage of their online lives. The foundation for our digital citizenship Mentor program is set upon Von Ahn’s basic (but very powerful) principles – equity, resilience, knowledge and education.

The students have responded really well to the TED screenings and numbers have grown so much that we’ve changed venues to accommodate more attendees.

“I really enjoy the TEDTalks on Tuesdays for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the topics offer very interesting perspectives on all aspects of the world and life. They often offer interesting tips, ideas and cool activities. For example a TEDTalk prior was about an online translating website that I now use to improve my Italian skills. Secondly, the videos offer a refreshing break from intense school work allowing the mind to wander and think. The conversations that are created are often intriguing and it is something unique to see students and teachers collaborate over ideas presented in the video. I think Ted Talks is an interesting and unique club with extremely large potential for growth.” – Adam Goodman (Year 11)

“I love going to the Tuesday TEDTalks in the Library because it is a great forum for ideas to spread between people who would not usually meet. Staff, teachers, and students join on a large range of ideas from: how to start a movement and what is leadership all the way to whether elite sportsmen and women are actually getting more athletic or are new records  due to technological advancements. Some of the younger kids tell me that they started going for the free food, but they come back because they are truly interested. The TedTalks are a great example of Newington’s holistic approach to education.” – Edward Treolar (Year 12)


Have you seen any TED Talks on the topic of digital citizenship? Please include your suggestions/recommendations/discussion in the comments box below.

Coming up at ‘Tuesdays With TED’ at Newington Library:

Topics: Zombies, cockroaches and other strange tales

            How our brains can fool our bodies

            Canteen ladies and their secret superhero lives

Past sessions

Week 6: Kelly McGonigal: ‘How to make stress your friend’

Week 5: Postponed (due to lunchtime charity head shaving event)

Week 4: David Epstein: ‘Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?’

Week 3: Sam Berns: ‘My Philosophy for a Happy Life’

Week 2: Luis von Ahn: ‘Massive-Scale Online Collaboration’

Week 1: Derek Sivers: ‘How To Start A Movement’ and Drew Dudley’s ‘Everyday Leadership

What Does it Mean to be a Digital Citizen?

Do you:

  • Visit the App Store or Google Play to download apps?
  • Use social media? (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc)
  • Use Spaces?
  • Submit assignments via Canvas?
  • Play online games?
  • Send text messages?
  • Use Google to find information?

If you answered YES to any of these, then you are a digital citizen.

My name is Lily Young, and my role at Newington College as Learning and Teaching Librarian allows for collaboration between the Deputy Head of Stanmore (Student Services) Mr Bob Meakin, as well as the Heads of House team to create a digital citizenship program which has been introduced within the years 8 to 10 Mentor program at the College.

2015 Mentor Program

Why is this important?

The fact is, students are spending more and more time in an online environment for both personal and academic reasons. Due to this,  it is imperative that they develop a digital compass, or key set of understandings to navigate its complexities. It is only fitting then, that schools take ownership of implementing a set of guiding principles into the curriculum that provide teaching and learning resources on the topic of digital citizenship.

The integration of a digital citizenship program allows Mentor staff to facilitate a student’s growth in gaining transferable digital citizenship skills in order for them to thrive online. In doing so, students are empowered to become enlightened and ethical navigators of their digital lives, and are well prepared for the rigors of adulthood in the 21st century.


A variety of interactive sessions are being held by Mentor staff, where students may be asked to use their devices, engage in a viewing or reflecting activity, and engage in discussions relating to the theme of digital citizenship.

Overall, activities for each year group consisted of the following outcomes:


  • Identify what personal information should be kept private and discuss the suitability for public and private profiles
  • Identify what good digital citizenship practices are
  • Explain how one’s digital footprint can impact him/her in the future
  • Discuss strategies when using online platforms to ensure students are conscious of what personal information is publicly available, which may provide an opportunity for online bullying.


  • Identify what digital tools are, and the role it plays in their lives
  • Learn basic situations about the current digital landscape
  • Reflect on the positive and negative impacts of digital tools, and how they affect themselves
  • Discuss addiction in relation to technology and strategies such as ‘screen time’.

Activity Bubble Year 10: SEXTING

  • Explore the role of digital technologies in romantic relationships
  • Analyse risky forms of self-disclosure and their possible consequences
  • Identify strategies for avoiding sexting while enhancing romantic relationships

Share The Discussion

Sounds great, when are these lessons going ahead? Right now! It was officially introduced in Term 2, however ideally, we can continue the conversation outside of Mentor classes and encourage all staff to have these discussions with their students. Students, get your parents involved! We encourage a school community based approach.

How do I find out more?  Mrs Young welcomes feedback and encourages all staff and students to get in touch. Parents are also encouraged to chat to their son’s Mentor teacher, or Mr Meakin in regards to any questions or concerns about the content being introduced.

In 2016, our aim is to continue to host these themed sessions in Mentor groups and create a scope and sequence of digital citizenship practice, to embed across all areas of school life. The library aims to continue to develop and implement an effective digital citizenship strategy across the curriculum, which encompasses the grounding of the following ‘Six Tenets of Citizenship‘:

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Protect yourself
  3. Respect others
  4. Protect others
  5. Respect intellectual property
  6. Protect intellectual property.

Our students’ real world is the online world; as educators, we are encouraged to facilitate this, to be involved in the development and implementation of various strategies, programs, events and activities to support students and their technology use across the curriculum, and to develop in students and staff a love of learning and habits of lifelong learning.

Questions? Comments? Please use the form below.

[contact-form to=’lyoung@newington.nsw.edu.au’ subject=’Re: What Does It Mean To Be a Digital Citizen?’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’What%26#039;s your Twitter handle?’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Year 8 Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
Digital Citizenship Program at Newington College by Mrs Lily Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on work at www.ciconline.org.

Year 9 Creative Commons
Creative Commons License
Digital Citizenship Program at Newington College by Mrs Lily Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/digital-life-102.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://au.professionals.reachout.com/internet-addiction.

Year 10 Creative Commons

Creative Commons License

Digital Citizenship Program at Newington College by Mrs Lily Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at http://www.lawstuff.org.au/nsw_law/topics/Sexting#sthash.uqbB6ZSe.dpuf