The following is an excerpt from an article originally published on EdCentral.org and appears here with permission.
New job descriptions are born in the wake of new technologies. Now, as humankind absorbs two decades with the web and one decade of touchscreens and on-the-go internet, many new positions are taking shape, one of which could have a significant impact on how children and their families learn: the media mentor.
Why are media mentors so crucial? As parents and educators find themselves awash in new technologies and interactive media, many report feeling overwhelmed and in need of guidance to help them see how to use media in joint learning moments with their children or to navigate the “digital wild west” of the app marketplace. (Hence the title of one of New America’s first reports with the Cooney Center, Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West.) Add to that the complexity of working within multiple disconnected systems of early education and trying to provide support to a growing population of dual language learners, and the enormity of the task becomes clear. As Amaya Garcia (my colleague at New America) and Karen Nemeth write in Donohue’s book, Family Engagement in the Digital Age, mentors are needed to communicate with families who speak different languages, to help families make “wise technology choices for and with their children,” and to help families use new technological tools to strengthen their participation in school and in the community.
Read the full article here.
Lisa Guernsey is deputy director of the Education Policy program and director of the Learning Technologies project at New America.