Students need to understand what it means to be a responsible digital citizen in the digital age. They need to learn how to navigate the online world, as well as a more global understanding, also children use digital technologies and media often. They spend on screens an average of seven hours a day–from televisions and computers to mobile phones and various digital devices.
The use of technology by children is very different from that of adults. This gap makes it difficult for parents and teachers to understand fully the risks and threats that children might face online. So how can we prepare our children for the digital age as parents, educators and leaders?
Reasons why blogging skills are a top priority.
ICT Skills and Digital Literacy Blogging helps students (and teachers) learn digital: Many skills can be discussed and practiced through blogging, often incidentally. These can range from keyboard shortcuts, coding, Creative Commons, research skills, multimedia usage, troubleshooting, and much more. Some of these skills are more specific to blogging (e.g. plug-ins, tags / categories, etc.), while others are more general ICT skills (e.g. image use, password management, etc.).
Blogging creativity lets you be creative: There is, of course, the creative writing element and the opportunity to explore various topics. But there is also the aspect of solving problems and coming up with various solutions (a skill that a blogger always needs). In addition, blogging allows you to visually express yourself through custom themes, headers, photography, layouts, and designs. That’s an art… and it’s fun!
Digital tools communication: Students need to know how to communicate with digital tools, not just via networks such as Facebook. Many of our students are users of Facebook, but a higher order skill set is needed to keep consistent posts on a blog. Teach students how to set up categories, add widgets, use the HTML editor to embed code, and tell the difference between a spammer and a legitimate comment. As our world is moving ever closer to the Internet as the main communication vehicle, we feel we are helping our students understand the language they need to navigate this new territory.
Effective digital citizenship: Everyone would agree that it is an important issue to teach students how to be safe online. Single-time lessons on digital citizenship, however, will simply not have a long-lasting effect. Blogging is an excellent way to learn to be an authentic and ongoing responsible member of an online community. Students need to begin to create a positive digital impression of themselves. Without question, when they start looking for jobs, it will be the norm for these students to be Googled— even if it’s part time. They need to grow their personal brand as young as they are, and they can do this by posting about what they are involved in at school, learning in their classrooms, or other co-curricular activities they enjoy.
Developing Thinking about Web Tools: Many bloggers talk about the phenomenon where writing down your thoughts helps straighten thinking, develop thinking, and essentially help them learn what to think. In learning how to use important web tools, we need a digital space and just having our students understand how to hyperlink to other people’s content has opened their eyes to them, and the potential this opens up for two-way conversation. These spaces have helped to provide even more reasons for teaching staff to use web-based tools and to teach new process skills.
Global Connections: Students can develop a sense of understanding and tolerance and learn a great deal about the world in which they live and your interest in global collaboration can help them.