The Five Laws of Digital Education

I’m working on an article and a presentation based around web tools for classrooms… (Adapted from Ranganathan‘s 5 Laws of Library Science)

  1. The web is for use. Let your students make use of the incredible educational world that is out there! Don’t allow fear to eliminate the possibilities for digital learning.
  2. Every learner deserves access. And I’m not talking about the very limited surfing that you can do in a typical school… there is a fluency that must be gained for efficient and intelligent use of the internet, and students who have no or limited access at home are not gaining the skills they need to be successful as adults in a digital world. They are not “learning the language” of the web.
  3. Access benefits learners. Students who are exposed to a variety of sites will begin to develop a more sophisticated visual literacy than those of their peers who are left to surf alone. Educational guidance is needed to create responsible and empowered digital citizens of tomorrow. And when you give your students your trust to begin blogging and researching responsibly, you will help them to develop netiquette that can extend into their off-line lives, too.
  4. Expand the world of the learner. Why can’t your students correspond with their counterparts in the next town over? Or even a world away? Why on earth would you simply study China in a book when you could swap pictures of your hometowns with other kids your age in Bejing? Imagine students being able to contribute to a class project while at home, or on vacation. Imagine your students’ parents being able to contribute to a dialogue about their learning. Imagine fewer boundaries and more possibilities.
  5. The web is a growing organism (with our help). Don’t let the web grow without your students. Conversely, your students have a great chance to grow alongside it. Imagine replacing the mute and dusty pictures of students long graduated in your school’s gymnasium with living, breathing digital projects that expand year upon year. Or being able to log on ten or more years in the future to hear the voices of kids long past, to absorb their projects and passions, and to build on the ideas and exploration that they started. The future of digitally-based education depends on educators and students of today– so let’s get started!

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