‘What’s print?’: Navigating the media shift with our kids

Tech educator Bud Hunt in northern Colorado looks at what “print” means now in the context of requiring students doing research to look a little deeper than the top five-or-so search results in Google. Is a newspaper article a “print source” now that newspapers are on the Web, along with magazines, encyclopedias, and full-blown research studies? He asks them for primary sources now.

BTW, I point out a lot of stories that illustrate the giant media shift we’re experiencing. I think that’s important to do because we adults need to understand how our kids’ media environment is very different from the one we grew up in. I feel we need to understand that so we can be patient with ourselves, understand why we’re so unsettled by digital media tools such as social networking, be open to the emerging positives of social media, and see what hasn’t changed. And what hasn’t changed? The need for the life literacy that caring adults have always shared with youth. One word for that kind of literacy is “parenting”; some other terms for it are “wisdom” and “street smarts.” There’s a new inter-dependency that I think is lovely: They need our street smarts, we need their tech smarts. Working from that inter-dependency can teach all parties involved good things like self-respect, mutual respect, and collaboration.

But back to life literacy (a subset of it is the social literacy needed online as well as offline): I’m seeing others saying similar things about its vital role. At the recent Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg, a representative from Germany’s Education Ministry pointed to the need for what I’d call the 3-legged stool of the new online (and offline) safety: “technology skills, media skills, and life skills.” I think the reason why Swedish psychologist Pauline Ostner said at the same Forum that “youth are looking for ways to communicate more and better with their parents and teachers about their Internet use” is because they’re trying to make sense of it all – what’s happening in the social drama of adolescence mirrored or even amplified online. I think if we want to parent and teach kids, we can’t afford not to understand this media shift and work with our kids to figure out together what it all means and how to navigate adolescence as well as social media and technologies. But I’d love to get your thoughts on this – pls comment here or email me via anne[at]netfamilynews.org.


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