Digital technology is changing the way our kids think, learn, and interact with each other, and it may be the ticket to how we can prepare our children for their futures.
“65% of today’s grade school kids will end up in jobs that haven’t been invented yet,” according to a report by the US Department of Labor. That means our goal has to move beyond teaching kids a finite set of skills - we need to teach them how to learn, so they can keep learning, acquiring the new skills they’ll need, for all those new jobs.
Certainly digital technologies will play a big role in that lifelong learning.
So what do we do? How do we change what we do at home, in the classroom, and in our communities, to help our kids become digitally literate, lifelong learners?
These are questions TVOParents will tackle over the next year, in a series we’re calling “Digital Literacy: The Fourth R”. Why do we call it the fourth R? We got that idea from Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation (you know the company responsible for the Firefox browser, among other things). We spoke with him about the role of digital media in kids’ lives, and he said digital literacy was so important to their learning, that it should be the fourth r, after the traditional three r’s - reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Here’s a clip of Mark Surman sharing his ideas about learning in a digital world.
Taking our cue from Mark Surman, we’ve decided that every month we’re going to explore different facets of digital literacy, from teachers using technology in innovative ways, to tips for parents on how, when, and what to expose your child to in terms of digital media. For example, we know experts recommend no television before the age of two - is the directive the same for media consumed on other screens? Find out in our tipsheet for parents on screen time.
We've already started exploring the role of technology in education, from the TVOKids Teacher Zone instructional videos and lesson plans for teachers to use on interactive white boards, to our interviews with school principals on flipped classrooms and social media as a tool for parent engagement. We have also profiled Ontario teachers using technology as a tool for student engagement in their math and history classes.
We're going to keep adding to that list over the next year, talking to parents and educators, academics and innovators, activists and entrepreneurs, about everything from the role of ebooks and games in learning, to how we can help kids think critically when there's so much information at their fingertips? Above all, we'll keep coming back to the central question - how do we encourage digital literacy in our homes, schools, and communities, so our kids can be prepared to learn for life.