Digital Voice? Who Should Be Listening?

Deneen Frazier Bowen led a preconference session at the South Carolina EdTech Conference entitled Engaging & Involving the Digital Mindset - Student Voices which was another talk about how today's students think differently than most teachers because of the impact of technology on personal lives. Ms. Bowen further talked about a generational disconnect greater than any in history and how students view the world around them through the use of technology and Web 2.0 applications. Most everyone here at the conference will agree with what Ms. Bowen said and then take the message back to their schools. I did this last year when I saw David Warlick give basically the same talk. Some teachers back home will even buy into this notion. However, this will really make little difference because the one group of people that needs to hear this message is parents.

The other day a couple parents called my school complaining their children accessed MySpace at school. I really don't know if the kids did or did not get into the social networking site. Yet, I am almost certain these kids are sneaking into MySpace because their parents have forbidden its use at home. School administrators are likely to defer to defer to the parents partially because they don't totally understand the technology themselves and, in administrators' minds, more important battles to fight. Deneen Frazier Bowen did tell us if parents forbid technology in their minds is a waste of time or dangerous then children (who view technology as necessary for daily life) will begin to hide their activities. This is when it hit me that someone needs to start explaining to parents about the technology their children are using to foster better understanding which will, hopefully, lead to more responsible use.