Listen. Learn. Lead.

New Tech City has just kicked off a month of podcasts about kids and technology. This week’s episode, Being 12, is a must-listen for all adults who care about children. It features the story of Dierdre Shetler, a middle school tech teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, who has a unique approach to teaching technology to more than 800 kids in a lower-income, immigrant-heavy district. She employs what I might call the 3 L’s of Teaching: Listen. Learn. Lead.

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Perhaps the thing that is most striking about Ms. Shetler’s story is her method for eliciting her students’ opinions and encouraging their active participation in discussions. She asks them questions and she listens to their answers. She doesn’t presume to know or prejudge their online behavior. She recognizes the need to engage Middle School students in the process of identity formation, to make explicit to them that their online or social media identities need to be as carefully considered as their online safety.

This podcast is a must-listen for parents and teachers of adolescents. It is up to us, the adults that are immigrants to technology, to bridge the generation gap with our kids, the digital natives. Ms. Shetler and New Tech City provide models and tools for building bridges. Check out the New Tech City blog for links to lesson plans and survey template.


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