Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Terms Brought to Light

Wilhelm, T., Carmen, D. , Reynolds, M. (2002). Connecting Kids to Technology:
Challenges and Opportunities. KIDS COUNT Snapshot. (Report No.
EFF-089). Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No. 467 133)

This article by Wilhelm, Carmen and Reynolds unveiled something that I have never heard of before. It starts out like most articles dealing with the digital divide; it gives some background info. on what the digital divide is and why it’s a problem. But, it also talks about some ideas and terms I have never heard before.

Here are the main points of this article that I have read about in the past, but are still very important:

· Using computers at school is a great way to try to lessen the gap for underprivileged children, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
· Although the internet is becoming more affordable, there are still many families that do not have internet access, simply because that has become their way of life.
· Having computers at home is shown to increase reading test scores and increase overall performance in math and science.

Now, here are some of the new ideas/terms that I think make this article worth reading:

· Since computers are used world wide and are important for our student’s futures, the term “21st-centruy literacy” has been adopted – 21st-centrun literacy is “the knowledge and skills to take advantage of the new Internet-related technologies” (Wilhelm, Carmen & Reynolds, 2002, p.3)

I think this term is very fitting due to the fact that the majority of reading that takes place in our students lives on a day to day basis is what they read/type online.

· This article also points out not only the importance of kids having internet access at home, but also the importance of them being taught how to successfully and effectively use the internet. They use the term “Internet ABC’s.”

“Until we address what we are calling the Internet ABC’s – Access, Basic training, and Content – the digital divide is likely to remain a permanent feature of American society” (Wilhelm, Carmen, & Reynolds, 2002, p.4).

These two new terms, “21st-Century literacy”, and “Internet ABC’s”, make me not only think about my students and their computer use at home, but it also makes me reevaluate how I am using the internet in my own classroom. Am I incorporating enough 21st-century literacy? Am I teaching my students the ABC’s of the internet, so that they will be successful in high school and the real world? How can I revamp my classroom activities to better accommodate my students and their learning of the internet?

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