AUBURN — When former Gov. Angus King, lecturing at last month's iPad conference, said, "We can discover talent in places people may not have even thought of," Auburn Middle School student Katie Ferrara tweeted.
Digital media is increasingly present in kids' formal and informal educational settings, becoming as common as pencils and notebooks were to their parents. Yet in many American classrooms and homes, these high-tech tools are severely limited or forbidden. Teachers and parents wonder: What are students doing with these technologies?
Safety is the motive behind most school policies regarding filtering and limitations of the internet. But what happens when these policies are proven ineffective, even detrimental, to learning and safety of the students they claim to protect?
As we continue to move even further into the 21st Century, technology becomes more embedded in all aspects of society. As a father, this principal sees this firsthand with his son, who is in first grade. The gift he wanted the most this past Christmas was an iPod Touch, which Santa was kind enough to bring him. Then there is his younger sister who will regularly ask to use his iPad so she can either care for her virtual horse or dress Barbies in creative ways. As he downloads all of the apps on these devices, the majority of their time is spent engaged in games that require thought, creativity, and sometimes collaboration. His point is that many children across the world have access to, and are using, technology outside of school in a variety of ways. Not only do many have access, but also older children possess their own devices (cell phones, smart phones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, etc.).
We've created the Digital ID wiki to provide students, teachers, and administrators with a toolkit of reliable information, resources, and guidelines to help all of us learn how to be upstanding Digital Citizens who maintain a healthy Digital Identity (ID) in the 21st Century.
Our goal is to help our students answer these three Essential Questions:
What does it mean to be a (digital) citizen? What are my rights as a citizen? What are my responsibilities as a citizen?
For most young people today, engagement with new digital media is a routine aspect of life. Through computers, mobile phones, and other handheld devices, youth can blog, tweet, participate in social networks like Facebook, play massive multi-player games, use online information sources, and share videos, stories, music, and art they’ve created. Important skills and knowledge can be gained from such activities, but there are also risks. For example, young people may only rarely consider what it means to be an ethical, socially responsible “citizen” on the Internet.
Our Space is a set of curricular materials designed to encourage high school students to reflect on the ethical dimensions of their participation in new media environments.