When I was a child, I recall my parents taking the time to make sure I understood things. For example, my father taught me to use a firm handshake and look the person right in the eyes. My mother made sure I knew which fork to use and to treat everyone with respect, even if they didn’t deserve it. That is what they knew so that is what I knew. As a school administrator, I have the opportunity to interact with many parents and families on a daily basis. When our school became a 1 to 1 iPad pilot school, and a flood of new issues became our reality, I found myself reflecting on what my parents taught me. The majority of the parents in our school of 700 are around my age and it dawned on me…they are probably in the same boat I now find myself in…my parents didn’t teach me about digital literacy.
The world has changed and our reality in a school setting includes digital tools and online environments which have required new knowledge and a mandate to educate our students on how best to negotiate these environments and interact with these tools.
Simek & Simek state that the literacy of the 20th century was often called print literacy and media literacy. In our present-day reality, the skills and norms of that era are out of date and require a different understanding and informed response to support the learning of our current school-age generation. Ohler suggests, “The most important job before us as a society is to help our students understand issues of digital responsibility and to do so at school as part of a digital health initiative”.
My parents didn’t teach me about digital literacy, but as we work to better prepare our students to be longstanding contributors to our society, the work we do today will provide them with the tools to pass those skills on…when the time comes.
Ms. Ritter’s Grade 5 Class Bulletin Board: Understanding your digital footprint