While working through the casework of my first core class in the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I have come to quite a few realizations:
1. What I thought I knew about digital education was in fact a grossly underdeveloped understanding of a small piece of technology use in the classrooms
2. The ethics and equity that incorporates digital education is multi-tiered and constantly changing
3. There is no one “correct” way in which digital education can be approached in the 21st century
As I enter into a slightly less-basic interaction with digital education, it has become necessary to work through my own feelings and principles when it comes to digital learning. Do to this, I am writing my first digital learning statement to represent my current understanding of digital education and the foundations that have come to light.
My beginning thoughts:
Digital education is the concept of incorporating technology in the classroom… I.E. using online curriculum and games to help students interact with concepts in a different way.
Digital citizenship is using proper etiquette online that does not provoke arguments or promote false information… I.E. cyberbullying or incorrect facts entered into wikis.
Digital equity is having each student in the room have equal access to the technology that is available… I.E. each student has a computer available for a given amount of time per day, if it is something that they choose to want to use
Digital leaders are people who are the top experts on collaboration and utilization of digital education platforms… I.E. presenters at ed. Tech. conferences
The continual evolution of my thinking:
How my personal digital learning mission statement has changed and evolved, is based on a level of uncomfortability for myself. I realized that just because I have had technology use my entire life does not mean that I am digitally savvy. I had to reflect on all of my past experiences while learning about the potential of falling into clickbait, or a program that was using my searches to create personalized ads to benefit from me. What started as a concern of the validity of our current obsession with technology as being helpful or harmless, turned into an open-minded sense of learning and participating in the revolution that is The Digital Age.
It is still a challenge to think of myself as a digital leader, but understanding the full responsibility that comes with being an educator who works with children and interacts with technology, reinforces the importance of instilling a most basic understanding of the full lifestyle, all consuming digital-lure, and near infinite knowledge, in our students experience and education with us… but that in fact would make me a digital leader.
Our students need to learn their role in digital citizenship, digital equity and digital safety.
Digital citizenship plays into how our students should be acting online. Are they being curators of information or relationship? Are they participating in a community in which they interact with one another to share experience or knowledge? Or are they polluting the environment? Our students are the focus on digital equity; are we making sure to do our best in helping our students all have the knowledge and abilities to be a part of this digital age? And how are we helping students to learn how to keep their information or well-being safe while roaming through these lands of unspeakable collaboration, communication, and knowledge. So what is my mission?
My digital learning mission statement:
My mission as a digital education leader is to help guide educators down a path of personal digital empowerment while encouraging all students in their role as positive digital citizens; including understanding of digital safety, ethics, community and collaboration.
How I will get there:
- Empower educators to be digital curators, or at least move in that direction.
Just as Rheingold has illustrated in his power law of participation, we must show students how they can increase their digital participation from a basic level of reading and tagging, to a curation role by moderating, leading and creating. This in turn will help students to understand the large depth of community that is accessible by using digital education.
- Collaborate with educators and students to identify the importance of individual knowledge and productive struggle outside of technology
We still have a significant need for learners to use their own minds and knowledge to decipher what is best to interact with online. We have to have a sense of digital wisdom. As Prensky (2013) states, “I do not think technology is wise in itself”. Just as we should still encourage students to use old school, research proven strategies of learning, we need to also be aware of the ways technology can enhance education.
- Be open to the communicative and collaborative powers of digital education
Chapman (2016) states, “Educators and learners are in the midst of significant transformations in both the teaching and learning arena.” (p. 287) We are at a time that we no longer can push to the side the powers of technology and digital education. We need to make sure that we are on board the digital education train. Perhaps the largest leading principle that helped guide my mission statement is the idea that we are in the midst of a digital revolution. “As technology continues to become a more integral part of students’ lives, making sure that all members within school environments are well versed in appropriate use and digital citizenship will be imperative” (Ribble, 2016). As a digital education leader, my mission is to help those members become efficient and empowered in their personal digital spheres.
Chapman, R. (2016). Diversity and Inclusion in the Learning Enterprise: Implications for Learning Technologies. in The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology, ed. Nicholas John Rushby and Daniel W. Surry (p.287-300). Malden, Mass.: Wiley Blackwell.
Prensky, Marc (2013). From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom. In From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (201-215). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.
Rheingold, H. (2014). Net smart – how to thrive online. Mit Press Ltd.
Ribble, M., & Miller, T. N. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: Connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137-145.