Grand Isle School is fortunate to have a talented and caring staff who consistently puts “kids first”. From the bus drivers to the custodians, from the teachers to the office staff, everyone is committed to providing a quality educational experience in a safe and secure learning environment.
New World Tools • Thursday, November 21st
A 21st century New World
by Eric Arnzen, Principal at Grand Isle School
Each evening before my daughter goes to bed we take the opportunity to read books together. This usually consists of one short book of her choice that she reads aloud to me, and one longer chapter book that I read aloud a portion to her. Recently we finished, A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower 1620, by Kathryn Lasky. This fiction book chronicles the early life of a Pilgrim girl named Remember Patience and her journey on the Mayflower to the New World. I realized when reading this book that our children are on a similar journey. Although theirs is not a 17th century story about a journey for the New World and Plymouth Rock on the shorelines of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Theirs is a 21st century story about the journey for social networking on the shorelines of the World Wide Web.
The Pilgrims left themselves susceptible to the unknown and unseen dangers that lie ahead of them, which caused many to perish during that time. While our children navigate the murky waters of the World Wide Web and charting their social course on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Ask.fm, it is important to equip and prepare them. The dangers that they face may be unseen but not unknown.
National data shows an increase in students’ participation in antisocial behavior through the electronic communications of Instant Messaging, texting, Facebook, and more recently Ask.fm. Ask.fm is a newer website that allows individuals to post questions and make comments, as well as respond to other’s postings, and at the same time keep anonymity intact. The concern is, because of the anonymity component, many postings are mean and hurtful. When our children access this website, along with the others listed, without specific guidelines and/or unmonitored, they are free to say things that they normally wouldn’t say face to face.
In the greater scheme of things I can’t help but wonder, “What is getting sacrificed as a result of the increase in screen time that our children are exposed to?” The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation reports in Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds, January 2010, that children ages 8–18 spend approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media. This statistic further breaks down to approximately 4.5 hours watching television, 1.5 hours on the computer, and over an hour playing video games. This data lies in stark contrast to the 25 minutes per day that children spend reading books.
The role of technology is an integral part of 21st century education, as well is our role in supporting and monitoring our children while participating in the use of these tools. The Microsoft Corporation has teamed up with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and developed recommendations and guidelines for families and their child’s Internet use.* These guidelines apply to children up to ten, eleven through fourteen, and fifteen to eighteen years of age. As we know, the use of technology serves an important purpose in aiding and enhancing the learning process and increases social opportunities. At the same time, the responsibility is in our hands (parents, educators, and students) to ensure that 21st century New World tools are being used in a responsible manner.