As we move into this exciting and fast moving direction of education in the 21st century education centres are evolving to keep pace with not only the needs of students but also the technological changes that accompany them. A recent article in the Education Gazette by Kate Bleasdale talked about the increasing number of tablets that are becoming a familiar sight in the classroom. While the price of tablets can be an obstacle for some schools there are a number of creative ways they are using to make it possible for all students.
While money is one of the issues she also discusses the need for digital citizenship. This has been the centre of some of my previous blogs. With the announcement of the 21st Century learning reference group the Government also realises the importance of creating a strategy that enable all students to make the most if available technologies. As more and more schools look at “BYOD” or Bring Your Own Device giving all students equal access becomes an important issue.
How important it is to keep open minded about the needs of a diverse education community as we progress into the 21st Century. The passion that the students of Salisbury Residential School had as they spoke about the positive affects being at Salisbury had given them, not just for their learning but also their self esteem and social interactions. In May the Minister of Education Hon Hekia Parata confirmed that Salisbury would remain open as part of the delivery of service within the new Intensive Wrap-Around Service, along with the other two residential special schools. What an important battle was won by the many people that advocated that these residential schools remain open. It is easy to loose sight of the importance of the different curriculum that schools such as Salisbury offer. The best spokes people have to be the students themselves and their families. If you want to learn a little more about Salisbury visit Edusearch Articles.
I am reminded of my previous blogs when reading over the last few days the growing discussion around a relatively new social networking site ask.fm. Popular amongst lots of young people it is being used inappropriately by some. According to one news feed it has 57 million users and is adding members at a rate of 200,000 a day. Digital citizenship is a must for these participants.
What is the first step towards developing digital citizenship? To begin students need to have digital literacy. That is the ability to effectively participate using a range of digital technologies. Part of this means critiquing and evaluating information. This requires both technical and social skills that will help them be successful and safe. The significant changes in technology have created challenges for educational institutions to provide an environment where students feel confident and safe.
This year with the commitment to ultra-fast broadband to all New Zealand, schools and greater connect ability it is important not just to have the policies and procedures in place but also strong education programmes that build cyber safety skills and knowledge that enable students to make the most of all learning opportunities while keeping themselves safe.
It is important to work with the community and parents to develop shared understandings and resources that will help guide students to make confident ethical decisions. The ability of children to navigate their cyber world can often be well beyond parents. Therefore on going staff and student education programmes are fundamental to keep pace with changing technology use in education establishments. For students it is to develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the challenges of traversing cyberspace and for educators to keep pace with the ways to support them.
Yesterday morning I was listening to “Daily Roast” who opened with a quote from Einstein who said “ I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” I thought this followed on nicely from my last blog that began talking about digital citizenship and the need to equip children to make informative decisions on its use. The Daily Roast was referring to the way in which the phone and other device use has impacted on the art of face to face conversation and social interaction. It is now seen as socially acceptable by many to have phones etc on and being used in situations where previously it would have been considered rude. This appears to fit into digital literacy and the need to school our students on when it is the appropriate time or situation to use them and the social impact that overuse may create.