GS 554 — Classrooms in Motion: Digital Youth

Our discussion of S. Craig Watkins’s The Young & The Digital: What the Migration to Social-Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future spawned a number of thematic elements and questions for further discussion.


  • The difference between technology as a pedagogical tool or an impressive classroom gimmick.
  • Fear of teachers being replaced by technology.
  • Teaching skills versus teaching facts.


  • Is it the responsibility of educators to teach digital citizenship?
  • Is it the responsibility of educators to foster digital literacy?
  • How do the politics of fear manifest themselves in our public education system — particularly as we navigate the ever-expanding world of technology?
  • What is your generational perspective in relation to technology?
  • Does technology contribute to bonding or bridging in your classroom?
  • Is there a cultural aesthetic at play in our use of technology?
  • How has the “digital migration” that Watkins describes affected community?
  • What is community?
  • What do we need from/give to community?

3 replies on “GS 554 — Classrooms in Motion: Digital Youth”

  1. It is the responsibility of schools to teach digital citizenship and this is one means by which we can help foster community in the digital era. Here is an example. One day I had a substitute teacher take my students to the library to do research for their Extended Essay, a large-scale research thesis required of Diploma Candidates in the IB program. Generally speaking, having substitute monitor an open ended activity in a computer lab would be a poor decision. However, my students are generally so achievement and task oriented that I did not see the risk; huge mistake. As one of my students prepares to log in, he accesses a computer that was not logged off. He finds another student’s Facebook page open. Along with some friends, they proceed to assume the identity of the Facebook user and post 3-4 revealing rumors centered around the topics of abuse and gender identity. The student with the Facebook account sees the posts on his cell phone and interrupts the sabotage. Three of my students were supsended. Zero of my students viewed their actions as inappropriate as they were “teaching the kid a lesson for using Facebook instead of engaging in academic work.” One of my students was vehemently defended by his parents.

    It is my opinion that I was being a responsible educator my requiring the students to meet with me along with their parents before re-entry into my two courses. As they assumed the right to use hijinks to teach a fellow student a lesson, they failed to see that their actions were acts of bullying that could have had intense consequences, that their acts could be considered fraud and/or slander, and that public degradation of others could ruin their chances at entering into the college of their choice. This was total neglect of community unity, and an opportunity for students to realize the interconnectedness of the inividual to his/her society by which they can actively engage in much more positive ways. The suspension would have taught them nothing and their parents were unable to see beyond the punishment.

    Was this my responsibility, or did I engage in indoctrination of my values?

    1. I agree with Brett that we should teach some basic digital guidelines and what could be construed as common sense, but I believe that an actual curriculum or time set aside on a syllabus for “digital ethics” or citizenship (net-izenship?) is outside of our scope. I believe that as educators we have already taken on too much to teach and are reaching the point (if not already passed the point) of dilution to the point of ineffectiveness, Our scope is just too wide at this point, and taking on additional items that are not our responsibility would be silly. Do we need to start teaching our kids how to eat, and swallow? How to walk? How to ride a bicycle? Where would it all end?

  2. I do believe we as educators are responsible to model ethical behavior for all venues at all times. The fact is that we have to catch up to our student’s digital ability and for some that may be like bathing a cat! We would not dream of allowing a skunk sprayed kitty to wonder the halls of our school and do nothing about it.That said if not a course we need to at least know what is acceptable and responsible digitally so that we may model correct behavior. As we continue to grow in this digital era if we are not teaching students “digital citizenship” than we will suffer extreme interruption in instruction time. It is like not having a code of conduct for behavior at school. There is a “digital community” in most schools today and not addressing the health of the “digital community” in your school is like endorsing what ever is happening there.

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