- Today’s students spend a surprising amount of time connected to digital devices, but Johns Hopkins University doctoral student and EdTechTeacher instructor Beth Holland writes for Edutopia that a focus on the quantity of screen time should be replaced with a focus on quality.
- Educators can teach students how to control their digital environments and self-regulate their own device use — both skills they can draw on to determine when their learning can best be served by putting the devices away.
- Holland also urges adults to model and teach appropriate behaviors for digital technology use instead of arbitrarily restricting it, and she says teachers should get students talking about how device use impacts the classroom and even jointly develop classroom norms to regulate use thoughtfully.
Digital devices are a part of the world of today’s students. There is no escaping that. And just like schools have adapted to so many other societal changes by updating their missions and scope of responsibility, educators are adding lessons about digital citizenship and literacy, working to prepare students for unfettered access to that world.
A handful of recent studies have pointed out a concerning gap in knowledge among students of all ages when it comes to digital literacy. The University of Connecticut found only 4% of 13-year-olds could identify whether a website was credible and most couldn’t identify the author, the author’s credentials or potential bias. Stanford researchers found the same results for students as old as college-aged. With so much access to the online world, students need the skills to think critically about it.