As I read the UNICEF information paper on ‘Children in a Digital World’ I find it sobering (given serious risks for lower income users and less supervised users) and enlightening because of the learning opportunities it can provide. And as a mother of three children, I agree that limiting digital access is not possible as so much of the learning at school is now done digitally. However, there is too much time wasted at home digitally as a lurker rather than a contributor by most students who are busy finding meems or videos to watch. If this could be translated into more useful activity it would be wonderful.
More Active Adult Participation Needed:
I do think that increasing the educational value of students’ digital time also means more active involvement of teachers and parents in their students/children’s learning opportunities. As adults, we have to expose them to new apps that increase their interest in what they learn at school and ways to connect with their peers. Those two areas seem to be of most interest to students right now.
Apps That We Use as Teachers:
As a teacher, I have really not capitalized on great ways to use new apps that keep students more engaged in their studies and provide authentic learning experiences. I realize now that I need to do more.
I have only dabbled in https://mapmaker.nationalgeographic.org/ which allows students to research topographical and route information around the world. We used this to find routes of travel for refugees during a unit on ‘Human Movement’ two years ago.
In addition, I use Ted Talks for our poetry unit and when I am looking for ways to inspire students during our morning meetings. Other than that, I encourage students to use tools to organize their thoughts using https://www.canva.com/ to identify their personalized note-taking strategies or to use and keep the handout in their folder to compliment their social studies note taking.
Furthermore, I have found interactive mind mapping tools much more useful to recommend to students such as www.mindmeister.com than making an outline before beginning to write their essay.
Last, students in my class found interactive timelines like https://www.tiki-toki.com/ and https://www.sutori.com/ very useful when making presentations in Social Studies on units ‘Conflicts Among Nations’ and ‘Conflict within Nations’.
Upon reflection, becoming more connected will allow us as teachers and parents to open more doors for our students and children. For example, for the new Social Studies unit on ‘Human Rights,’ I am already planning to introduce students to use http:www.feedly.com as a way to curate information on the particular human right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that they want to research. They will use their research to identify the country they want to look at where the right is being violated and suggest ways to address it by looking at countries where the right is not being upheld.