In preparation for Mother’s Day, many libraries are planning all sorts of programs for children, teens and their families to celebrate all the different mothers, grandmothers and caregivers in their lives.
Digital Learning Day: Preparing Students for the 21st Century
According to the MacArthur Foundation, on an average day, primary school children spend as many hours engaged in media activity as they spend in school. For many parents, managing their children's interactions with new technology is a confusing and overwhelming task.
“There is a generation gap in the understanding of the value of online participation – understanding the specifics of it, according to according to Mizuko Ito, UC Irvine researcher. “Parents' ability to guide kids and mentor kids in their participation with the online space has really been radically curtailed. We don't have the experience growing up with these technologies in the same way.”
Ito was part of the research team that recently competed a study, funded by The MacArthur Foundation, to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.
“There are myths about kids spending time online – that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age,”Ito is quoted as saying.
The study, "Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (PDF)," identified two distinct categories of teen engagement with digital media: friendship-driven and interest-driven. While friendship-driven participation centered on “hanging out” with existing friends (social skills), interest-driven participation involved accessing online information from communities outside their local peer group.
The study points out that youth using new media most often learn from their peers, but indicates that adults can still have tremendous influence in setting learning goals, particularly on the interest-driven side, where adults can function as role models, mentors and more experienced peers.
In recent years, educators are increasingly seeking new ways to integrate digital technology and peer-based learning in classrooms to more fully engage students.
February 1, 2012 marks the first annual Digital Learning Day, a nationwide event designed to encourage the innovative use of technology in the classroom.
The initiative, sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education, was designed to encourage exploration of how digital learning can provide more students with the opportunities to get the skills they need to succeed in life and showcase innovative teaching practices that make learning more personalized and engaging.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), two divisions of the American Library Association, have joined the Alliance for Excellent Education as key partners in promoting Digital Learning Day.
Participation in the initiative is a natural fit for school an public librarians. They are involved every day as digital technology mentors to children and teens and play a pivotal role helping to cultivate the critical thinking and information literacy skills that are increasingly crucial in the digital world.
Additionally, school librarians and are at the forefront of helping teachers integrate new technology and 21st century literacy skills into school curriculum.
Whether it is Digital Learning Day or any other day - get involved. Talk with your school or public librarian and your children's teachers about how they're using new technology to improve student outcomes and better prepare them to become fully competent digital citizens of the 21st century.
And remember, the time your children spend interacting librarians, online or off, increases the chance that they will be exposed to information that will prepare them for a successful future and help keep their online lives responsible, respectful, safe and private.
Digital Learning Day Parent Toolkit
Learn more about how technology can transform the way your children learn. Sign up to receive updated
information and exclusive resources.
Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century
A PBS documentary that explores how exceptional educators are increasingly using digital media and interactive practices to ignite their students' curiosity and ingenuity, help them become civically engaged, allow them to collaborate with peers worldwide, and empower them to direct their own learning.
Common Sense Media
Information to help families thrive in a world of media and technology.