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Mission Statement

Mission Statement 

By Nick Rose 

My vision as a digital educator is to support the development of digital wisdom to foster healthy digital citizenship to bridge gaps in access, knowledge, communication, and cultural understanding. I want to help support the development of thoughtful and empathetic digital citizens who recognize their responsibility in a community with others. I believe in engaging both students and educators alike in learning that maximizes the possibilities that technology can afford. My pursuit is to support excellent teaching for each and every student that recognizes the inequity in our systems and assist in the closing of those achievement gaps with digital education.   

To properly act on this vision, my goal is to ground my work through three guiding principles: CommunityResponsibility, and Perspective. Doing so will help inform my practices to ensure that my approach as a digital coach is consistent and mindful of the implications of digital citizenship in response to a constantly changing environment.  

Community 

ISTE Standards: 

7a) Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities. 

7b) Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology 

Without question, advances in technology have altered our environment and increased our level of connectedness. According to Floridi, a Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, “we are not standalone entities, but rather interconnected informational organisms or inforgs” (Floridi, 2010). How we engage in the ever evolving infosphere is largely influenced by how we engage with each other. To maximize the potential of using technology in education, I must support educators and students in their understanding of their role as participants of a community to foster healthy and effective engagement. I must also support staff and students to engage with learning that expands beyond the classroom community. Through “more communal, collective forms of digital engagement”, I will help broaden student learning to collaborate with other classrooms (Selwyn & Jandrić , 2020). 

I will also help educators and students in the development of healthy digital habits to build a culture of respectful interaction with peers and healthy engagement with technology. Healthy digital habits, in my understanding, focus on the quality of the experience and not necessarily the time. This lends itself to the question of where institutions and their educators fit in all of this. Students will access technology through a variety of mediums and for a variety of purposes. Technology use occurs both at school, at home, and every place in-between. We also know that access to technology is not equal, and how/when students experience technology is impacted by socioeconomics.  We must be careful with considerations for limiting student engagement with technology as this presents equity issues for students furthest from educational justice. For this reason, I will encourage educators to support students’ reflection about their use of technology through dispositions as well as invite families into the discussion. Thus, reinforcing that we each play a critical role as entities of a larger information ecology.  

Responsibility 

ISTE Standards: 

7b) Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology. 

7c) Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions. 

7d) Empower educators, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect. 

Responsibility exists at the core of embodying a Digital Citizen Advocate. As an educator and a coach, I have a responsibility to equip students with skills and habits that encourage the development of their digital wisdom. According to Marc Prensky, an American author and speaker on education, there is now a greater need to support digital wisdom, “referring both to wisdom arising from the use of digital technology to access cognitive power beyond our usual capacity and to wisdom in the use of technology to enhance our innate capabilities” (Prensky, 2013, p. 202). Responsibility and digital wisdom are values important for media literacy. Information is an abundant resource, but it takes discernment and critical thinking to examine the sources of online media for their accompanying biases and assumptions. It is important to use and share that information in a way that is responsible to not mislead others. Our world today is fast-paced filled with instant gratification and access to information. Because of this, it is easy to fall into the trap of action without thought. A student can easily search for a news article or website that includes a buzzword for their search, but pay little attention to the source information or underlying assumptions. To combat this, educators should provide opportunity for students to discern online media for 4 dimensions of critical evaluation: 

Relevance – information’s level of importance to a particular reading purpose or explicitly stated need for that information 

Accuracy – the extent to which information contains factual and updated details that can be verified by consulting alternative and/or primary sources 

Bias/Perspective – the position or slant toward which an author shapes information 

Reliability – the information’s level of trustworthiness based on information about the author and the publishing body 

(Coiro, 2017).  

There is also a level of responsibility for how we construct ourselves online. We must present dispositions for students consider personal, moral, and ethical issues associated with their online personas. We have a responsibility no only for the impact of our actions on ourselves but also on our communities and the broader world. I must help educators and students consider the implications of their choices online that may not have a direct impact on themselves, but have indirect consequences on a larger audience that may be challenging for an individual to understand at first.  Common Sense Education, an organization dedicated to supporting the development of digital citizenship, identifies this dilemma as our “ethical blind spot” when we make choices online. Likewise, those who make decisions around digital education policy need to consider the responsibility of their choices in protecting the privacy and data of students.  

  

Perspective 

ISTE Standards: 

7a) Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities. 

7c) Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions. 

7d) Empower educators, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect. 

A good digital citizen considers their perspective as well as the perspectives of others when they engage in the information ecology. Perspective is a core value when supporting educators and students when technology is leveraged for civic engagement or cultural understanding. I hope to provide opportunities for those I am coaching with to consider the experiences of other. Considering perspective fosters healthy collaboration and understanding while building empathy. I will encourage educators to incorporate students learning  in digital education with strategies that are culturally responsive. Thinking routines and talk structures can be utilized to help students explore perspectives especially with dilemmas concerning how we use technology in ways that our healthy, how we interact with others online, examine online sources, and how we construct our digital profile. For example, we must support students to consider perspective as they “self-brand and re-appropriate [themselves] on various online platforms like blogs, social media pages, YouTube channels, and online multiplayer games” (Floridi, 2010, p. 26). Perspective consideration is a vital skill I must prioritize when supporting the work I do as a digital coach because our engagement with technology has modified our concept of reality. We need to get beyond thinking about technology simply as offline/online and recognize that our engagement with technology encompasses all parts of our constructs of reality.   

I am dedicated to helping educators and students to consider the moral, ethical, and civic responsibilities through technology thereby developing empathy and highly skilled digital citizens. I believe the best way to support perspective consideration is by focusing on authentic and relevant learning opportunities. Present problem-based learning that address challenges in local and distant communities. Engage with online sources by considering the perspective of the author or intended audience. Present dispositions for students to consider for how their decisions might impact themselves, their community, and the world. Having restraint and reflecting on perspective can deter impulsive and ill-informed decisions not characteristic of a good digital citizen.  

  

References 

Coiro, J. (2017, August 29). Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information.  https://www.edutopia.org/blog/evaluating-quality-of-online-info-julie-coiro.  

Floridi, Luciano. Information a Very Short Introduction. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010.  

Neil Selwyn and Peter Jandrić, “Postdigital Living in the Age of Covid-19: Unsettling What We  See as Possible,” Postdigital Science and Education (2020). 

Marc Prensky, “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital  

Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin,  2013), 201-15  

Prensky, M. (2001, October). Digital natives, digital immigrants: A new way to look at ourselves  and our kids https://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf 

 

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Digital Citizen Advocate Most Recent Post

The Screen Time Fallacy

Introduction:

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” “Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things.”

From the ancient Greeks to Oscar Wilde, this proverbial principle is timeless and endlessly applicable. However, in the case of screen time moderation, how we measure our engagement with screen technology may be more important than moderating our time.

In 2018, the Pew Research Center gathered technology experts, scholars and health specialists to consider how the rapid changes in digital life will impact peoples’ well-being. The largest percentage of respondents believe that our future digital life will be more helpful than harmful. Most believed changes in technology will improve the well-being and opportunity for people, but not without caution. Many experts also cited health, social, and security concerns (Anderson & Rainie, 2018). Like any medication, there’s always potential side effects. Screen time moderation could be considered the medicine in this metaphor, but the side effects of this issue have been overstated, as many experts are now shifting the narrative away from this oversimplified practice to a much more nuanced understanding.

In examining our current digital lives as it stands today, the current pandemic has intensified the debate around screen time particularly as it relates to education. Schools in remote or hybrid learning environments place a tremendous amount of stress on staff and student screen time. On average, teens spend 9 hours of screen time a day (Rideout, 2015). In Seattle, where I live and work, some families have been critical of the school district’s official schedule for remote learning and the amount of screen time it burdens students with. Some families devoutly subscribed to the screen time ‘shot clock’, limiting their student’s exposure to screens and encouraging “in-person interaction, time outdoors, and tactile activities” (Resmovits, 2020). These are necessary activities characteristic of a healthy lifestyle, but the early research and assumptions around screen time limits is outdated. A much more nuanced understanding of screen time has emerged, and as a result, a broader conversation around healthy digital habits and equity. 

Families who are more affluent and privileged typically have multiple devices at home with an ease of online access and greater access to resources and opportunity to create more in-person enrichment for their student. Students furthest from educational justice are less likely to have ease of online access and additional devices. If a student only has access to a mobile device at home, “they are less likely to go online to pursue an interest or engage in a creative endeavor” (Holland, 2019). Technology can provide multiple representations of content, accessibility, and opportunity for student-driven learning. When taken away, students of color can especially feel alienated and discouraged from learning because, for some, technology is viewed as an essential resource of utmost value (Resmovits, 2020). Thus, arguments for less screen time in school creates greater inequity. Health experts like the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) have refocused their message around screen time. According to the APA, reasonable screen time limits should be considered, but it is much more important for families to develop healthy habits “such as sleep schedules and holding difficult conversations without interruption of scrolling through social media” (Resmovits, 2020).

This is where the understanding of screen time is shifting: healthy digital habits that focus on the quality of the experience and not necessarily the time. This lends itself to the question of where institutions and their educators fit in all of this. Students will access technology through a variety of mediums and for a variety of purposes. Technology use occurs both at school, at home, and every place in-between. We also know that access to technology is not equal, and how/when students experience technology is impacted by socioeconomics.  

My Question:

  • How can schools teach and support healthy digital habits that engages all stakeholders (educators, parents, students) especially as it concerns screen time? 

ISTE Standard for Coaches: 

  • 7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.

Solution:

Educational institutions need to support the shift in thinking away from screen time ‘shot clocks’ to empowering students, families, and educators in thinking dispositionally about the different ways of being, interacting, creating, and learning through screen-based technologies. 

Design considerations:

Technology use is interdisciplinary, and therefore the teaching of healthy digital habits should connect to every class and subject matter. Administrators can lean on committees and building leadership teams to plan curriculum and embed digital habits into their school’s mission and/or guiding foundational beliefs. Cultivate opportunities for students to learn and reflect upon the consequences of healthy and unhealthy digital lives. 

It is critical to consider context when engaging with screens. Not all screen time is created equal and varies by how it is used, the content that is engaged, and its fostering of relationships. Like a fitness journal, a digital habits journal could provide students a space to reflect upon how they are engaging with technology, connect it with their learning, and the effect that it is having on their health and wellness. This could also prove to be a valuable tool for discussions in 504/IEP meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and in building a culture of positive digital habits. There should be careful considerations for how students can share in their learning of healthy digital habits while protecting their choice and privacy for what they share. 

In addition, it is critical for staff to model and share in their own learning and struggles with how they engage in technology. This can also be powerful in building rapport and classroom community. Staff should also consider how they are asking students to engage with technology for school. I admit that this can be very challenging as each student engages with technology differently and has different digital habits. Predicting/planning for time may not be possible or worth it. Instead, educators need to consider if their lesson/assignment provides opportunity for students to engage with technology in ways that centers their interests and supports 21st century skills. As best as possible, limit rote and passive consumption of technology without personal purpose. There’s certainly still a place for designing learning opportunities that don’t require a screen, and there should be intention around cultivating that, but it may be better worth the effort to consider the context for how your students are engaging online for academics. 

Engage families:

It is imperative to invite families into this learning, but the purpose should not focus on telling parents what’s right from wrong. Any parent will tell you that telling someone how to parent their own kids isn’t going to be received too well. Instead, educators should manufacture opportunities that engage families into participating alongside their student(s) as they learn and reflect upon their digital habits and screen use. Encourage families to participate alongside with students as they reflect upon the how, where, and why they are using screen media. The goal here is spark conversation around screen technology use and how it is impacting personal and social health. Again, the point isn’t for educators to tell parents what is quality use, but to encourage them to move past the screen time fallacy and engage with their student(s) to think critically about their engagement with screen media to foster healthy digital habits (Blum-Ross & Livingstone, 2017). 

References

Anderson, J., & Rainie, L. (2018). The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/.  

Blum-Ross, A., & Livingstone, S. (2017). Screen Time for Kids: Getting the Balance Right. https://clalliance.org/blog/screen-time-kids-getting-balance-right/.  

Holland, B. (2019). Changing the Discussion: From Screen Time to Digital Equity. https://www.gettingsmart.com/2019/11/changing-the-discussion-from-screen-time-to-digital-equity/. 

Resmovits, J. (2020). Seattle-area parents want rules about screen time, but experts say off-screen interactions matter more. https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/parents-want-rules-about-screen-time-pediatricians-say-off-screen-interactions-matter-more/.  

Rideout, V. (2015). The Common Sense census: Media use by tweens and teens. Retrieved from Common Sense Media website: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/census_researchre port.pdf