Posted by: carolbcarolb | November 28, 2011

Old school goes to new school

After spending the week with my 5 year old nephew, I noticed I felt uncomfortable with his (heavy) use of video games/the computer. In the PBS documentary “Digital Media-New Learners of the 21st Century,” an educator said: why is it bad when a child is determined to get better at a video game by spending hours playing it, but it is good when a child spends hours in his/her room reading a book? I realized I can’t judge my nephew: my way was analog, his is digital. After watching the documentary, I wished I had been exposed to that type of learning in K-12. Although the standard curriculum gave me a solid foundation of the “basics,” I believe it stifled creativity. These kids are also learning collaboration, team work and project management

In poking around to learn more about this subject, I read an interesting article: What a Difference Ten Years Can Make: Research Possibilities for the Future of Media Literacy Education ( The author discusses what has happened in the last 10 years and what her wish list is for the next 10 years regarding media literacy for youth. I saw that the Federal government is getting on board too. In 2014, they will begin to assess and measure technology literacy in schools. I read their framework to see if they were just assessing whether kids knew how to use technology and was pleased to find media literacy assessments in there too.


1. In contrast to learning by rote memorization (like a lot of us experienced as kids), it seems that today’s kids don’t need to memorize as much, they need to know how to gather information on the Internet. (Aside from being an important example of their need for media literacy), do you see a danger in this new way of learning in regard to development of kids’ cognitive abilities? If they don’t develop the ability to memorize, what are the implications for learning spelling, math, etc.? Or is total reliance on the Internet ok?

2. If you watched the PBS documentary on youth media literacy–Do you think this style of “digital media” curriculum is good, bad, or neutral? If you had the chance to learn in this way, do you think you would have developed different skills or passions than you did through a more traditional education?

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