The 7 C's of Meaningful Learning Begin with Citizenship

4 min read
ICEIndiana 2015 Keynote Selfie Shelly Sanchez Terrell

“Literacy has always been defined by the technology. Before the printing press, your ability to orally recite something meant [you were] literate.” – Nichole Pinkard

Thousands of years ago we communicated with images, drawings, and symbols. Before we had an alphabet we drew on walls to communicate with others in our community. Some of the oldest cave paintings were over 10,000 years old and they still exist. Now, we communicate on different walls (Facebook, Pinterest boards, Twitter streams, Instagram, etc.), but in similar ways with symbols (emojis, textspeak) and images. These walls and the cave walls our ancestors drew on are shared worldwide through bytes. Our learners messages spread and they have impact and a worldwide audience. It’s up to teachers to help our students realize their byte-sized potential to make a meaningful impact. It’s up to teachers to guide students in choosing to uplift, teach, inform, challenge, and care for others with their messages versus break down others. Additionally, our students need guidance in realizing their self worth and seeing themselves as individuals in a digital world. They need to practice choosing what they feel is right as individuals versus going along with their peers for instant approval. These are ideas I shared in my recent keynote for ICEIndiana, Byte-sized Potential and Learning with the 8 C’s (Compassion, Communication, Creativity, Courage, Critical Thinking, Curiosity, Collaboration, and Citizenship). Below are the slides (free to download), resources, and ideas to help you be a guide to your learners as they navigate a vast digital world where their choices make such an enormous impact. Also, check out the incredible sketchnote of my keynote by Matt Miller (@JMattMiller).

Enjoyed these resources? Get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or Learning to Go.

Sketchnote by Matt Miller


  • Citizenship– I believe the way to facilitate the 7 C’s begins with our students realizing what their duties, roles, and responsibilities are as citizenships in their digital world.
  • Courage/Compassion– It takes courage for our students to stand up to cyberbullying and speak up.
    • Introduce them to role models their age like Kid President.
    • Send them on learning missions and get them to create digital badges to give to their peers to recognize bravery, kindness and compassion.
    • Our students become activists with hashtags. Get them to invent their own hashtags to inspire positive action. Find resources here.
  • Communication– Students now translate and contribute to an international language with textspeak and emojis. Find more info and activities with emojis here.
  • Creativity– Don’t grade all your assignments. Instead, give students opportunities to participate in free flow brainstorming and exploring. Students need time to play. Find ideas for play here and listen to these inspiring TedTalks on creativity
  • Critical Thinking– Critical thinking is a journey. Critical thinking is not a correct answer, but the journey to find solutions. Some of the greatest inventions and innovations were discovered by mistakes, accidents, and failed experiments. Students need to be able to experiment without fear of receiving bad grades. Here are resources for brainstormingdigital research, and digital research apps.
  • Collaboration– Create a community with digital icebreakers. Find a list of digital icebreakers I’ve created here!
  •  Curiosity– Get students curious about any topic with these 40 Lesson Starters.


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Byte Sized Potential, by shellyterrell

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachersor my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.

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