Creating Digitally Intelligent and Aware Citizens

Our learners live in a connected world where technology impacts their lives daily. Our students often dedicate many hours to communicating and sharing with their friends on social networks. They share edited images on Instagram, text daily, share memes on Facebook, comment on Youtube videos, reblog Tumblr posts, and carry conversations on Twitter. Youtube reports receiving over 1 billion unique visits every month. Facebook reports having 1.15 billion active users as of June 2013.  

Technology has changed the way we interact with the world and each other. Our students are participating in rituals that are vastly different than our experiences. Being connected and sharing information about their personal lives is a part of their social exchanges and norms. They are expected to be connected and they are expected to share and they are sharing more than in the past. According to a Pew Study, published in 2013, 91% of teens reported posting a photo of themselves on social networks, 71% had posted their school name, and 71% had posted the city or town where they live (Madden, Lenhart, Cortesi, Gasser, et. al., 2013).

Unfortunately, many schools worldwide do not allow learners to bring their devices or participate in social networks. Many schools ban access to Youtube, Facebook, and other social networks. Additionally, most curricula does not include teaching digital literacy or online safety. This means many of our learners have not learned how to properly communicate or behave online, which has lead to cyberbullying. Our learners have not learned to evaluate the vast amount of information they see daily online. They have also not learned how to create positive digital footprints.

Integrating digital storytelling projects with our learners means they will have to navigate the web, collect online material to remix into their digital stories, and share their creations with people they have never met face-to-face. We need to provide them with the right skills to complete these tasks safely and intelligently.

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