CommonSense Media has released a new report culled from a survey of teachers on the topics of technology and media. The report is called Children, Teens and Entertainment: A View from the Classroom. At the site, you can download the full report or look at various elements of responses from teachers. I do wonder about the population of teachers who took part in the survey. I say that because there is some criticism about CommonSense Media and its mission around helping parents and teachers navigate the media-saturated world, and how the group sometimes comes across as a bit of fear-mongering. As for me, the teacher, I have found its resources for teaching about digital citizenship and digital footprints a wonderful resource. As for me, the parent, the site has not been necessarily all that insightful.
But I found this study interesting and while I might quibble with some elements of it, I do find it be a fairly honest assessment of teacher perceptions of the impact that technology is having on our students and children. Notice I said “perceptions” because part of me thinks, too, that if we judge the literacies of young people today (influenced by the media world, for sure) against the very traditional classroom learning environments, then there are going be things lacking.
I’d argue that we, as teachers, need to be finding ways to tap into those literacies of students, and not necessarily shift all of our teaching practices and expectations of students, but certainly, look for the intersections and ways to engage students. If these results are right, and writing and other areas of academics are getting worse due to technology and media, then we need to do more than recognize it and complain about it. We need to adapt to the changing environment, in meaningful ways for rich, interactive learning classrooms.
And, I would agree with Common Sense Media on this: we need to arm our young people with the critical thinking tools they need to see through the entertainment empire and shift from being consumers of media and technology, and becoming the creators of their own content, taking back agency in the digital world. There has never been a more critical moment for teachers to do this.
Stepping off my high horse, now, check out some of the findings from the report:
This was interesting, too, as they broke down the kinds of technology and media that seem to be negatively impacting learning. I wonder if this is a result of disconnect, and teachers not understanding the range of literacies that can go into playing a complex video game. (I’m not talking Angry Birds here)
And as a teacher and lover of writing, this section was intriguing and disheartening, all at the same time:
This perception of writing is no doubt influenced by the use of informal write/speak by students during formal writing assignments. U know what I mean, right? It may also be a result of shorter bursts of writing in their lives outside of school, and so, sustained writing activities are difficult. I see this in my classroom, and have found the need to do more and more graphic organizing, more thinking through a topic, and more strategies on how to stretch writing out in meaningful ways.
What do you think? Check out the report. Does it mesh with your perceptions?
Peace (in the data),