We’ve talked before about some of the newer skills necessary for students and teachers in the 21st century. Digital literacy - and all the elements contained within that term- is probably the buzzword you hear most often. And for good reason: today’s young students are living in a largely digital, quickly evolving world that their teachers did …
It has been said that Web 2.0 is changing the way students learn. The time of the teacher as the primary source of information is a relic of the past. The role of the educator, as a result of new media, has changed substantially from one that is focused on the one-way transfer of information to one that trains students how to participate in digital environments with intelligence, skill, and literacy. It is our contention that educators and learners can exploit this media to engage in cross-cultural exchange and ultimately greater crosscultural understanding. This paper will elaborate on the ways in which teachers and students can use YouTube as a site for cultivating cross-cultural exchange and understanding by establishing video-pal relationships with other students from outside their home culture. Digital exchanges can help students and teachers build connections with their colleagues abroad and to develop an international perspective.
Drawing upon over 40 years of UNESCO’s experience in MIL, it has become absolutely essential to establish more enduring partnerships that are necessary to amplify the impact of MIL. To this end, UNESCO is going to launch the Global Forum for...
They say that the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II ordered a group of children to be raised without any human interaction so that he could observe their “natural” behavior, untainted by human culture, and find out the true, deep nature of the human animal.
If you were born around the turn of the 21st century, you’ve probably had to endure someone calling you a “digital native” at least once. At first, this kind of sounds like a good thing to be—raised without the taint of the offline world, and so imbued with a kind of mystic sixth sense about how the Internet should be.
But children aren’t mystic innocents. They’re young people, learning how to be adult people, and they learn how to be adults the way all humans learn: by making mistakes. All humans screw up, but kids have an excuse: they haven’t yet learned the lessons the screw-ups can impart. If you want to double your success rate, you have to triple your failure rate.
The problem with being a “digital native” is that it transforms all of your screw-ups into revealed deep truths about how humans are supposed to use the Internet. So if you make mistakes with your Internet privacy, not only do the companies who set the stage for those mistakes (and profited from them) get off Scot-free, but everyone else who raises privacy concerns is dismissed out of hand. After all, if the “digital natives” supposedly don’t care about their privacy, then anyone who does is a laughable, dinosauric idiot, who isn’t Down With the Kids.
“Privacy” doesn’t mean that no one in the world knows about your business. It means that you get to choose who knows about your business.
Is it possible for our students to be both digital natives and digitally unaware?
Young people today are instant messengers, gamers, photo sharers and supreme multitaskers. But while they use the technology tools available to them 24/7, they are struggling to sort fact from fiction, think critically, decipher cultural inferences, detect commercial intent and analyze social implications. All of which makes them extremely vulnerable to the overwhelming amount of information they have access to through the digital tools they use—and love!—so much.
In fact, teachers surveyed in a recent Pew Study say they worry about “students’ overdependence on search engines; the difficulty many students have judging the quality of online information; and the general level of literacy of today’s students.” In total, 83% of teachers surveyed agreed that the amount of information available to students online is overwhelming, and 60% agreed that today’s digital technologies make it harder for students to track down and use credible sources.
For almost 25 years, newspapers have been shedding jobs and closing up shop. A 2012 study by the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California predicted that most medium-circulation US newspapers would be history within five years. While readers who have already moved over to digital news may not notice, watchdog groups and media critics worry about diminishing coverage of both local and international affairs, and what it means to abandon the comprehensive presentation of the day’s news in one authoritative package.
It can sometimes seem like what’s under threat is the standard model for how we find out what’s happening. But historian Andrew Pettegree of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland has written a new history of news that puts the dominance of newspapers in context. In fact, he says, the golden age when the newspaper was seen as the central and undisputed source for news actually occupied a fairly short 150-year window, from the late 18th century up to the advent of radio and television.
In “The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself” (Yale University Press), Pettegree shows how Europeans in the 15th through 19th centuries got news from a cacophony of sources: their friends and neighbors, government edicts, songs sung by itinerant performers, sermons, letters, and expensive manuscript newsletters. Even after newspapers became available, they weren’t universally embraced. It took technological change, urbanization, and a few big political events to cement the daily newspaper at the center of the news ecology.
Today, that’s shifting once again, as we move back toward a messy, rich media landscape like the earlier one Pettegree describes—which, for all our nostalgia for the newspaper age, may be something closer to the norm. To Pettegree, it’s time for a new view of history inspired by our times: “The first histories of news were written when the newspaper looked like it was the end of the story,” he says. “Now that we’re getting to a post-newspaper age, or at least an age in which the position of newspapers looks uncertain, the multimedia news world of the age before newspapers makes more sense to us again.”
Pettegree spoke to Ideas from his office in St. Andrews. This interview has been edited and condensed.