Want Tech-Literate Learners? Begin with their Parents
Educators, understandably, often focus on their learners. And wise educators recognize that their learners will need to be tech-literate to succeed in the coming years. But to truly accomplish this goal, educators might be well advised to start not with the learners but rather with their parents.
First, once you consider summers and holidays, kids will spend more waking hours at home than at school. This means that a tech-literate home environment will benefit learners in ways that a classroom infused with education technology can’t. This makes it essential to help parents become technologically literate and motivated to help their learners navigate the digital world.
Educators can coach and guide parents to select education technology resources that will increase learner learning during those crucial times outside school, particularly during the summer. Parents are also able to help their learners mesh education technology and tangible-world experiences, such as with app-guided museum tours.
Second, parents are often concerned about the quality of the digital resources that their kids are consuming. An educator needs to explain the merits of any online assignments sent home to address this problem, or they risk that parents will not support their efforts to harness digital learning content.
Third, parents are key role models for their kids. If the parents are not using tech well, it is unlikely that their kids will either. Most adults have trouble distinguishing “fake news” from accurate info, and they are likely to have kids who mirror this situation if there is no intervention. Educators are perhaps uniquely positioned to help parents, kids, and entire families develop the digital literacy skills needed to successfully navigate the contemporary media environment.
Although understandably, educators would focus their efforts on promoting digital literacy on their learners, there is much to be said for a more nuanced approach that does not leave parents out of the equation.