Below are some of the key excerpts from the article:
1. There is often a gap that exists between what administrators, teachers, and parents believe students need to know, and what students actually know. The assumption persists that because kids are fluent in technology, we cannot teach them much about it. Watching a student navigate Snapchat or build environments in Minecraft is impressive. They are fast, facile, and fluid.
2. Digital citizenship is not about operating the devices, however. It’s about people using technology in a thoughtful, positive way that shows they are aware of its impact on others. Key questions to consider include:
- What connections can it forge?
- What issues can arise?
- How is it different — or the same — as regular, face-to-face interactions?
3. The New Digital Skill Set - The guiding principles in teaching the “skills layer” to parents and teachers include:
- The digital skill set is an immediate priority. If students don’t start to develop it now, they won’t succeed in today’s — and tomorrow’s — world.
- The digital skill set is not about how to keyboard or code. Anyone can learn those skills, with enough practice.
- The digital skill set is about relationships. It’s about the kinds of connections we can forge with one another. It’s about trust.
4. Digital citizenship is not about knowing the latest app and how it works. It’s rooted in values that have existed in schools for centuries. For parents who are intimidated by their kids’ tech savvy, always remember that the richness of your own learned experiences can guide you. Use that as your foundation.
Even teens and tweens in my workshops express the desire for mentorship around these issues. That surprises many parents and teachers. Sometimes they ask for it directly, and sometimes you have to detect it in something else they’ve said. But it’s clear to me that even the most tech-savvy teens are looking for guidance. Interpersonal relationships are difficult, and technology — for all its good — can amplify challenges.
I see a need for all of us as mentors to step in and help students become good digital citizens. Start by having them generate examples of common challenges and misunderstandings. Students will be more engaged because they will address issues that affect their world. And they will value that you’re preparing them for their version of the future.
Most important, do it together. Your experience and guidance, coupled with your children’s spirit and creativity, make for a powerful combination.