Digital Citizenship in the PYP: Day 1 of 3
Workshop facilitator: Nathan Pope: @
Homework for this evening is to read this article:
Waldorf School frowns upon the use of computers and screens within classroom environments and discourages home use.
I had to go back and check the dates of this article and was amazed that this was only written in 2011… if you read the article you would understand my confusion.
The article goes on to explain that children do not need computers in education, instead this school is “focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans”.
My experience is polar opposite to this mindset.
Other points to note in summary of this article:
- The debate comes down to subjectivity, parental choice and a difference of opinion over a single word: engagement.
- Advocates for equipping schools with technology say computers can hold students’ attention and, in fact, that young people who have been weaned on electronic devices will not tune in without them.
- “Teaching is a human experience,” he said. “Technology is a distraction when we need literacy, numeracy and critical thinking.”
- And where advocates for stocking classrooms with technology say children need computer time to compete in the modern world, Waldorf parents counter: what’s the rush, given how easy it is to pick up those skills?
My thoughts on these points:
- The word engagement is key. Student engagement should not be centred around the use of technology. I believe hands on, visual and human based interactions in learning are of the upmost importance. Technology should be used to enhance the learning experience, using the tech is not the learning experience. We are not teaching technology for the sake of the tools, we are using technology to support the learning process. If we are just using the technology for the sake of learning about a new tool we need to seriously rethink our approaches to teaching and learning.
- The whole notion of working with children who have been raised with a dependence on electronic devices to maintain attention and engagement is frankly a scary thought! I believe that balance with devices is important and children require boundaries with the amount of screen time they have day to day. It seems that it has become socially acceptable/ tolerated for people to look at their devices at ‘inappropriate’ times, adults are just as guilty of this offence as children. What happened to the good old days of eye contact and having a lunch with a friend, or listening in a staff meeting, a friendly interaction at the grocery store with the checkout attendant, without the interruption of a mobile phone notification? I’m thinking that people need to be taught digital manners as well as digital citizenship! Working in Junior Primary I’m constantly reminding and supporting children with eye contact, body language cues, reading people’s reactions, emotions and expressions. Look up and engage with others around you! There is no need to use a device to engage a student, sometimes the tech does that but it is not the reason we use it.
- Human interactions are of vital importance. We are more capable of connecting and collaborating with people from all around the world than ever before. We can learn from others, critically reflect on content that we are sharing and question how we could solve problems. Critical thinking and problem solving is a big part of digital interactions. We can do this in person, face to face and we can also do this digitally. Some children are better at communicating online than in person, I personally find that I’m a better communicator whilst online too! Not that I don’t enjoy speaking with people, it’s simply that I’m capable of clearly communicating my points of view after reflection and consideration whilst typing on my blog rather than in real time conversation. I’m a slow processor and appreciate time to think things over before expressing my opinion.
- Lastly, just how easy is it to pick up computer and digital technology skills? If you isolate a student from using a computer and then introduce it to them at a later stage in their development they won’t simply pick it up and know what to do with it. We learnt about the phrase ‘Digital Natives’ during our workshop today, please visit the podcast and article: http://podcast.concordiashanghai.org/blog/2014/11/17/tech-talk-roundtable-72-digital-natives-use-digital-spears/
- Students are not born with tech knowledge and they need to be taught how to navigate through a digital world. So much of what they will need in their lives revolves around being a digital citizen and learning the skills required to collaborate, create and critically analyse things that are online.
Another great video to watch after todays session to get this point across:
Enjoyed the reading and looking forward to sharing this post for further discussion in tomorrow’s workshop.
Thanks for reading