Let’s Get Started…

I read an eSchool News article earlier this year; and since I have already referenced it a few times in my education consulting work this week so I thought it would be a great topic to blog about.  According to this eSchool News article, “Four things every student should learn … but not every school is teaching,” Alan November, presented at the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) and chimed in on the “essentials” every student should master in our digital age.

As an educator, I am always curious to see what the latest “core concepts” our Net Generation should know and then I like to reflect on whether or not; 1) am I teaching and supporting what the expert(s) are saying, and 2) am I observing and witnessing it in the education arenas in which I consult for.

Here is what November proposes each and every student should be taught in our schools:

1. Global empathy.  “Fortunately,” November said, “technology makes it easy for today’s students to learn global empathy. Students can discover the current social and political conditions of other nations online, and they can interact with their peers from abroad and learn their perspectives on issues firsthand through web conferencing or email.”

2. Social and ethical responsibility on the web.  “
By blocking access to social tools in the classroom, and not teaching students what constitutes socially and ethically responsible behavior online, schools are shirking a key responsibility,” the executive comments.

3. The permanence of information posted online.
The ed-tech consultant states, “Students are often careless about what they post on the web because they mistakenly believe that once they delete the information, it no longer can be found online.”

4. Critical thinking about the information found online.
A question November poses is, “How many students know how Google ranks its websites?” He answers by stating, “…it’s nothing but a popularity contest.”

Do you agree?  I can honestly say that in my work (myself included) many educators would agree with the above “core concepts” November says need to be taught but they struggle with finding the time and the “teachable moment” to introduce and integrate them.

To me, the real question is, how can these type of lessons be implemented and delivered?  And, if so, where? By whom? And in what context? Many look to the librarians or the media literacy specialists to teach these “core concepts;” however, with the budget cuts nationwide these positions are being downsized and/or reassigned to their aides.  Once again, as educators, if these are lessons we feel should be taught then we better get started!  Maybe in one of my upcoming blogs, I will share how I got started with doable, quick, and easy mini-lessons as a follow-up to this topic.

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