Connecting Digital Learners

How we can meaningfully connect digital learners to their peers, teachers, and communities; to rich and challenging learning; and to their futures? Unfortunately, unchecked and unfocused use of technology can result in students disconnecting from the "why" of learning and from the real-time relationships that are key to their development and success. Alternatively, high-quality integration of technology has the potential to not only prepare young people for their futures, but enhance and expand learning and connectedness.

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From the Whole Child Blog

Finding a Home Among Digital Natives

In our education technology dreams, we can see young people using technology to engage in learning about a multitude of subjects, develop skills that will solve tomorrow's problems, connect to people around the world, and prepare for jobs we can't even conceptualize.

In our nightmares, we see young people who can't write complete sentences because they know how to write only in text-speak, lack social skills because they spend too much time in front of a screen and too little time learning how to interact with others face-to-face, and can't distinguish quality content from garbage. For many of us, these dreams and nightmares are daily realities. For others, these may sound like the possibilities and problems of a distant future.

Wherever your experience and opinions fall on this continuum, we can all agree that technology is here: it is a large part of most young people's lives, and we have an opportunity and a responsibility to harness its power for good and reduce its power to harm. To deny the challenges and focus with rose-colored glasses only on the positives and possibilities will shortchange our young people. Alternatively, having realistic and candid conversations about the challenges and opportunities, identifying promising practices and tools, and staying tightly connected to young people's use and experiences are essential to utilizing technology to keep students healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Throughout February, we're taking a hard look at what it takes to meaningfully integrate technology into students' lives to help them achieve the academic, social, and emotional learning and development key to their success. Download the most recent Whole Child Podcast, read and post your comments on the Whole Child Blog, and e-mail us resources for and examples of connecting digital learners.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month's newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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Whole Child Examples

Elementary Example

Elementary School Structures for Success

Wenonah Elementary School in Waynesboro, Va., structures its student and adult interactions to ensure success.

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Teaching in a Digital World: Connecting and Empowering the Whole Child


This month, join us in exploring how we can meaningfully connect digital learners to their peers, teachers, and communities; to rich and challenging learning; and to their futures. Start by downloading this episode of the Whole Child Podcast and sharing your thoughts.

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Fast, Free, Online: The ASCD School Improvement Tool

Designed for use in schools and districts, the free ASCD School Improvement Tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment.