A web site for the developing language teacher

Highly connected children:
implications for education
by Edna Aphek
- 2

I  would like to add two more literacies to the five literacies mentioned by Eshet.

(The following are Aphek’s addition to Eshet’s Digital Literacy)

6. Moderation and Self- regulation Literacy

The new technologies have the power to carry us away. There is much talk about the addictive element of the internet[4] and the danger of information overload which might result in the IFS- Information Fatigue Syndrome[5] , (researched by Reuters). In order to avoid these dangers of addiction and of becoming datachoholics, we must learn and teach strategies for using the digital media with discretion and moderation,.

7. Quality Assurance Literacy

This literacy is sort of ‘meta literacy’ as it is needed in all the other literacies.

It entails first and foremost an awareness of the need and commitment for quality and excellence.

With the use of the new technologies at the tip of one’s fingers, new embellished creations can be relatively easily produced. The external beauty of PowerPoint presentations and websites might cover for the lack of quality of their content which though reliable, might be shallow.

Technological mastery is no way equivalent to deep thorough thinking as many recent [6]researches show: Miller and Almon ( 2003) in the USA, Fuchs and Al[7] ( 2005) in Germany[8],  and Eshet and Hamburger ( 2005) in Israel.

There is a dire need for quality assurance at a time when seemingly everything and anything goes.

We need to develop new standards for evaluating the excellence of the digital creations. These standards will help those working in the digital environment to evaluate their own work as well as the work of others

The various literacies or strategies are interconnected and sometimes they even overlap. They function as guidelines to help us find our way in the maze of the digital-information world and to best use the immense options and possibilities this world has to offer .These literacies are needed outside the Digital Culture scene, but when it comes to the digital environment the mastery of these literacies becomes a must.

Kids are great consumers of the digital media.Strangely enough they have become the masters of the new  technologies.

“We learned to crawl alongside the PC. We came of age with the Internet. Early-adopting, hyperconnected, always on: Call us Children of the Revolution, the first teens and tweens to grow up with the network.... While others marvel at the digital future, we take it for granted. Think of it as the difference between a second language and a first..... In the past, you put away childish things when you grew up. But our tools are taking over the adult world...”[9]

The following cartoon says it all:

The kids  seem to be quite good in the photo-visual, the creative and to some extent in the reproduction components of the digital literacy.However they aren’t always in control of the information, socio- emotional ,moderation and quality assurance aspects of the aforementioned literacies.

Some Statistics

Before going into statistics it’s important to note that much of the data I am going to present comes from the American scene. However, these statistics might give us some indication as to the trends of media and especially internet usage by children and teens in other countries, especially the Western ones.

Kids are great consumers of the Digital media.

A study conducted by Knowledge Networks in 2003 “finds that a significant number of children have various media and entertainment devices in their bedrooms”[10].61% of the kids who took the survey have a television set in their room 57%  said that most of their internet access is done from their bedroom.

Another research done by Nielsen from the end of 2003 shows that more than 2-in-10 Internet users during September 2003 were between the ages of 2 and 17.[11]

A study from the same year run by the team, indicates that most teenagers and young adults in the US prefer surfing the Internet or watching television over reading for recreation[12]

Here are the figures of the team, giving information about the number of hours teenagers spend on the various recreation activities

Hours per week
Internet surfing
Watching TV
Talking on phone
Reading books/magazines

[5] Dying for information, Reuters ,1996
[10] PressSummary.pdf

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