The true digital divide is around skills, not devices
- The truly harmful digital divide isn't between students who have tech devices and those who don't, but between those who are taught skills around using those tools creatively and to solve problems and those who aren't, Kaltura VP of Product Learning and Collaboration Jeff Rubenstein writes for eSchool News.
- Along with lessons in digital citizenship, Rubenstein writes, students should receive instruction that exposes them to real-world situations and requires a solution, encouraging active participation in the digital world rather than passive consumption.
- As an example, he cites how lessons around video production and the ease of manipulating footage can be particularly beneficial in producing citizens who can look beyond the immediacy, visual impact and emotional engagement of content on platforms like YouTube to effectively discern fact from opinion with critical thought.
As students are taught to apply critical thought to traditional text-based content, so too should they be provided with the skills to discern what is and isn't a reliable source in the digital realm. A recent Common Sense Media survey found that while students prefer to get their news online, 48% trust their teachers over news organizations, highlighting the important role educators can play in helping students learn how to discern fact and opinion online.
But the heart of Rubenstein's op-ed goes beyond digital citizenship concerns like tackling the fake news dilemma, as the heart of his argument focuses on the need to do more than simply place devices in the hands of students. As Richard Culatta, incoming ISTE CEO and former director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology, told us in 2015, ed tech does students no good if it merely puts the traditional way of doing things on a digital screen. New mediums require new approaches and skillsets, and that also means investing in training for teachers on how to adjust their pedagogy to facilitate those needs.
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