Parenting & digital youth resources

There was an excellent gathering of parents in West Seattle last night to discuss “parenting digital natives.” Our small-group conversations focused on essential questions that reflect our cultural and family values around technology use.

The goal of the night was to stop focusing on how different the media suggests today’s world is and start recognizing the ways in which clear parenting is still important, regardless of the technological medium.

Notes and resources for growing up digital are captured in Storify and shared after the jump…

Parenting digital natives

A collection of resources for parents interested in understanding the digital world that children are experiencing. Generated by/for the Westside School parent community on April 10, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.

Storified by Jac de Haan · Wed, Apr 11 2012 16:54:36

To learn more about the Westside School, please visit

What is this gathering all about?

The Westside parent community gathered to discuss trends and personal value systems around digital engagement. We shared personal experience and the behaviors that we model for our children. We shared opportunities to engage technology to enhance learning and awareness of the world and the unintended consequences of use.

We ended the evening by learning how Westside is incorporating technology into 21st century learning and shared plans for infrastructure and edtech curriculum growth in the coming year.
Growing Up Digital (on Smore)How are families in our community creating healthy boundaries in a digital world? How do we, as adults, model appropriate technology use …

Conversation Starters & Notes

What does your own screen time look like as a parent?
·       Range of opinions represented – from occasional cell phone use to 12 hours in front of a computer every day.
·       Families with students from ages 4 – 14 present.
·       Working from home – what message does this send?
·       Many maintain healthy boundaries for children but don’t follow the rules when kids are asleep.
·       Is it appropriate to use technology for reinforcement or punishment?
·       Do young children differentiate between the intention of device engagement? Creative output v. consumption.
·       Multi-tasking with devices – growing trend in surfing the web while watching television.
·       Distinctions around how children can engage tech – learning games v. YouTube.

What do you see as some of the benefits and drawbacks of technology for your student?

·       organizational facilitation/syncing second nature, learning at age when it’s easy intuitive nature
·       exposure of world (under guidance) greater wealth of resources at disposal
·       flexibility of device, no books
·       enhancement that it adds to their life experience; wider exposure “not afraid of asking”
·       opportunities to create
·       finding answers to any question is possible
·       learning is much more enjoyable, more effective (languages), easier to learn/more rewarding
·       support for multiple learning styles

·       ability to connect with others (family, pen pals, global society)

·       lack of privacy, easy exposure/risk to predators/pornography
·       responsibility
·       false sense of security
·       disconnecting from human element/anonymous nature of communication
·       one dimensional aspect to communication
·       computer cannot teach critical thinking/high level
·       layering of multiple devices
·       pull of attention away from present and task at hand


Reviews and Ratings for Family Movies, TV Shows, Websites, Video Games, Books and MusicCommon Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and inde…

Where is the school heading?

Investment in infrastructure

projector & doc camera already in every classroom
4-6 desktops in each classroom
Middle School 1-to-1 iPad program
Lower School cart-based iPad program
Lower School info stored on the server
Fortress – web filtering tool
Exchange server – MS students have email that is contained within the school’s domain
Investment in Educational Technology
Goal is a graduated 8th grader with history of successes and experience.
“Walled garden” approach

       – Students learn through trial and error. Introduction to communication & publishing is scaffolded to allow for mistakes along the way.
      – Permission to fail.
Adults model behavior as life-long learners.
creators and critical thinkers, discriminating users of knowledge
Technology is a hook, easy to get excited
Middle school students grow into leadership role with younger grades
o   digital books with reading buddies as characters
o   60 MS students deputized, leading, teaching, mentoring
Hands on experiences to engage technology – Lego Robotics, summer camp opportunities, stop-motion
Frameworks from which to look at the Westside learning environment

Core classes – literacy, science, math, etc
Student roles – consumption vs. creation vs. interaction
21st century skills: create, collaborate, communicate, critically think

Bloom’s Taxonomy: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create
Westside School’s technology blog –
Randall Munroe

Kids in Action

Audri’s Rube Goldberg Monster Traplittlepythagoras
World Peace and other 4th-Grade Achievements Extended Trailerworldpeacefilm
Caine’s Arcadenirvan
Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kidstedtalksdirector
Gever Tulley: Turning Curriculum Design On Its Head: Engage First Then Look for Learning Withinbigideasfest

Where is technology heading?

Mind Control Device Demonstration – Tan Leforatv
Project Glass: One day…google

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