Return to Our Students • Our worlds
Note on "Living & Learning with New Media
Following are notes from the key findings and implications from this report, as published in the Summary of Findings document.
- Youth use online media to extend friendships and interests
Typically, kids interact with people they know personally, and I've been told by youngsters that they use their social networks to block themselves off from people they do not want to connect with.
- A smaller number also use the online world to explore interests by research and collaboration with communities of like interests.
..and it is too small. I think that part of our job, as educators, is to inspire interests in our students. Too often, it is the opposite that happens.
- Youth engage in peer-based, self-directed learning online (exploring, tinkering, and "messing around")
I agree with this, and like the practice as a learning habit -- tinkering and messing around. What makes it so difficult for us to grasp is that it does not look like classroom learning. This also makes it difficult for our students to talk with us about it, because it doesn't look like learning to them. It looks like "messing around."
- "Geek out" diving into a topic or talent -- highly social and engaged endeavors.
Again, this happens too rarely. I have to ask the question, "What inspires these kids to want to geed down into a topic? What makes them interested?"
- New media allows a degree of freedom and autonomy for youth learners, in contrast to the traditional classroom setting.
I believe in my heart, that this should be happening in classrooms and schools, that students become much more autonomous in their learning, more self-directed, curious, and constantly "Constantly" developing and mastering their learning skills -- their learning literacies.
- Youth could benefit from educators being more open to forms of experimentation and social exploration that are generally not characteristic of educational institutions. (Contrary to adult perceptions, while hanging out online, youth are picking up basic social and technical skills they need to fully participate in contemporary society. Erecting barriers to participation deprives teens of access to these forms of learning.
- Given the diversity of digital media, it is problematic to develop a standardized set of benchmarks against which to measure young people's technical and new media literacy.
This is going to be a tough one. We have become so accustomed to measuring learning, that it has become, sadly, part of the image of education in this country.
- In Interest-driven participation, adults have an important role to play -- as role models (master learners?)
Teacher as master learner...
- To stay relevant in the 21st century, education institutions need to keep pace with the rapid changes introduced by digital media.
This means investing in contemporary learning -- not just the business of education.