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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Digital Literacy Comes Home



When my son brought out his report on 9/11 facts, I was again reminded of how important it is to teach digital literacy.

You see, when he typed 9/11 facts -- he found a conspiracy theory website(s) and came out of it thinking someone had bombed the building.

Yes, he is in seventh grade, and Yes, I've talked so much with him about verifying sources, however, kids so often think if it is "on" Google that it is right.

In fact, Google doesn't verify for veracity but kids often think so.

Just another practical reason for teaching digital citizenship.

We have practical real things that need to be done in classrooms around the world.

And while many debate the theories and thoughts about what is happening, as a teacher and mother I know that our global society has fundamentally changed.

There are real trails to be blazed here by those who understand those changes and can leave the hype and acronyms behind to civilize this new digital society with citizens who have discernment and civility.

With the industrial revolution came problems, long factory hours, child labor, and things that did not need to happen. It took time to sort out and civilize factories around the world, and still, there are sweat shops.

Likewise, the digital revolution has its own problems... largely due to an educational system that is plugging its ears and denying its existence, leaving children to self-educate themselves. (A formula that rarely works.)

Self Education Doesn't Work
We would never leave kids on their own to "figure out" math or literature but we know that in order to speed their learning, we should educate them on the principles that work.

Likewise, leaving kids to "figure out" effective digital citizenship is equally preposterous.

As I read the blogosphere, I get frustrated. We have practical things to do and many theorists are arguing semantics and theory ... and many of those have never set foot in a classroom, I would think.

Let's work towards digital citizenship instruction for every student! Let's build bridges that the society of our future can walk across.
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