Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If not us, who? If not now, when?

It is abundantly obvious that our classrooms are different today than they were yesterday.  With the sometimes overwhelming amount of resources that the internet provides, we MUST have conversations with our students about digital literacy & citizenship.  In a Rasmussen study done last year on digital literacy, about 37% of millennials (that's 18-34 year olds) said they find the internet "scary". Approximately the same amount said they don't feel safe online.  Those numbers are GREATER than any other demographic group.

What does that mean for us as educators?  We have a responsibility to teach our students about the POSITIVE avenues the internet affords them.  We just have to.  Our current students are going to have a Google search of their name performed when applying to jobs, colleges and universities.  This Forbes article “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years“ (which is already 5 years old) highlights that point.  Fellow educator and author of the Innovator's Mindset, George Couros, goes further and suggests there are "3 Things Students Should Have Before They Leave High School".
Image by @gcouros

So, how are WE going to achieve that?  I know, it's something else that I'm suggesting you add to your plate. Another "thing" to squeeze into your already packed day.  Is that really something we should be teaching?  Does digital literacy and citizenship really have to start in Kindergarten? 1st grade? 2nd grade? 7th grade? 10th grade?

If not US, who?  It's easy to say that it should belong to someone else.  Or that our colleagues will "cover" that next year.  That parents or guardians should be teaching these things to their children. Do we pass the buck so quickly on common courtesy and manners too?

If not NOW, when? Can we afford to wait any longer?  Does it get better if we "kick the can down the road"? Would we stop teaching reading comprehension now if we knew that we were changing the curriculum for next year? The technology of today's Kindergarten students' lives is the LEAST advanced that they will ever use.  Think about that.  The tools and resources that they are using are only going to get BETTER.

Think about how we can flip the narrative for our students so they are learning about HOW to make a positive impact and that they are able to BE safe and responsible while online.  What can we do to create environments like this and this so that our students use digital resources for positive and productive outcomes?