Are we underestimating the ability of today’s students to juggle narratives, curriculum and experiences? | Julie King | 5 Min Read

The most frequent concerns I hear about students’ technology use at school focus on their lack of, well, focus. Technology administrators choose from any number of online platforms with which they can manage students’ online activity; a process that often becomes a digital game of whack-a-mole between IT staff and students. This approach seems sensible to any educator competing with or iMessage for their class’s attention, but opportunities abound for educators who are willing to see and connect with their students’ digital lives.

Connected Communities

Connected Communities (those in which students engage online) have become digital lunch tables, playgrounds, cul de sacs, courts, and yards, and the ways in which students engage in these spaces allow them to create rich forms of digital identities. Though these spaces — and the literacies associated with them — are often considered distractions from the curriculum, they can offer valuable insights and avenues of engagement for learning.

Connected Communities can draw members through personal connections or serve as affinity spaces; formed around characters, interests, or ideas. Adults may assume that students’ use of digital media is purely passive but that is not always the case. Communities on YouTube are often formed around…

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Julie King

Julie King is the Director of Educational Technology at The Buckley School in New York City. She earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through the University of Pennsylvania’s Mid-Career program, co-founded a Students-as-Makers Conference, and has served in literacy and technology leadership roles in independent schools for the past 15 years. Julie’s areas of focus include designing learning experiences that weave technology, literacy, and citizenship and encouraging students to be digital creators and storytellers.