What exactly is a "digital native" and more importantly, what should we non-"digital native" educators do to help students manage their online identities? That's a question Youth Radio--an Oakland-based, youth-driven media production company--set out to answer, by developing curriculum resources that prepare teachers to nurture conscious youth in the digital world.
I see technology as I would a developing person who is transitioning from adolescence into adulthood. Much like a person's early life, these first 20 years have been filled with rapid development, exuberance, awkwardness, impulsivity, excess, impatience, a lack of wisdom and perspective, and missteps.
We've often heard parents and educators quip that today's young people are digital natives -- a generation of youth who can rent movies on iTunes and buy school supplies on Amazon before they're out of preschool. But for many American youth living in low-income communities, the moniker doesn't quite fit.
About four years ago, we started hiring high school interns. The idea was to introduce basic software development skills and help create interest in the field. What we didn't anticipate was how much we'd learn in the process. In many ways, the teachers became the students, and the experience continues to transform the way we view risk, reward -- and the user experience.