Since the suicide of Tyler Clementi, I have had a new direction and drive in my teaching and scholarship. I am committed to making sure that our K-12 teacher candidates are well-versed in all aspects of digital citizenship. It is imperative that 21st century learners, educators and parents understand the seriousness of living in a networked world. According to the Pew Report in April 2012, 95% of 12-17 years old are online and 80% of those teens are online using social media sites. If schools ban devices or block social media sites at school, how can teachers model what it means to be socially responsible online? We desperately need to engage our children into this critical conversation.
Props to Janell Burley Hofman for writing and sharing such an important letter to her son, Gregory’s iPhone Contract. As a society, we need more of this! Our young adolescents will not understand how their actions, words, pictures and videos can directly influence their own lives and the lives of others if we don’t take the time to ask them to be part of this conversation.
Thank you Janell for the inspiration! As I say every semester, “If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Here’s to 2013, a year of being the solution! I can’t wait for our spring semester to begin later this month because I’m going to focus on rules #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.