It’s hard to believe that I am doing my final summary of learning for my Masters Degree. I feel as though I’ve learned a great deal during the course of my years in the Med Program and this class was no exception. The course included discussions of key topics in Educational Technology such as ethics in a connected world, the role of technology in education, the right to be forgotten, etc.
However, the ideas that resonated with me the most had to do with the discussion around digital natives vs digital immigrants, media literacy, and the the role of schools in teaching media literacy/digital citizenship to students. In examination of the former topic, there was meaningful discussion around questions like; are the current generation of students born into a digital world as natives? What will the next generation look like in terms of digital integration? Can those in older generations become a part of this new world or are they merely visitors? I found myself wanting to place myself in the shoes of the younger generation. This allowed me to look at technology in a different way. As I stated in a previous post, because I grew up overseas, I was really not a part of the generation that grew up with technology at our fingertips. Therefore, the examination of the these topics was very interesting to me as somewhat of a Canadian immigrant and a digital immigrant.
The idea of digital identities and digital duality was also a large part of reforming my thinking on digital spaces and our place in them. The role of the educator in this discussion becomes increasingly important as we examine what it looks like to conduct ourselves as professionals while modelling positive online behaviour for students. Students are growing up with little distinction between their virtual world and their physical world. Many would argue that there is none, therefore students need to be exposed to discussions of citizenship from an early age. Critical thinking through media literacy then becomes the key to unlocking positive digital citizens.
Exposing students to different types of media as a practical way of teaching digital citizenship is a great way to start. As students and teachers come together to examine issues like bias and ownership of content, positive digital communities will be formed in which true and meaningful learning will happen.
Students and teachers can then engage in the creative process and tackle deeper issues as well. This is something that needs to happen in the classroom and must be incorporated throughout the curriculum. Building these types of communities that focus not on policing and prevention, but on engagement, reflection and critical thinking will foster growth of positive digital citizens that will be proud to continue the work into adulthood. As classrooms across the world begin to take up these topics and conversations, students will need guides and mentors alongside them as they begin to navigate. Scenes like the one below will hopefully become increasingly common.
You may be wondering how we as educators can undertake such a monumental task?
The proliferation of social media and new technologies does not necessitate a change in our pedagogical philosophy. It simply requires that teachers continue to educate students to be good humans.
Below I have attached my final summary of learning. I have enjoyed this course immensely and look forward to what the future holds.