On a recent visit to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to lead 15 Spanish-speaking moms on a field test of a new media and technology workshop produced by Abriendo Puertas-Opening Doors and Common Sense Latino, a Common Sense Media initiative. Developed through two years of collaboration and research, the workshop is designed to provide lower-income parents and caregivers with a roadmap to navigate the digital world safely, teaching them how to use technology for learning and create a balanced media experience for their families.
During the field test, we spent over two hours completing activities, showing videos, sharing resources, and, most importantly, receiving feedback on what the moms learned that day, along with their suggestions for improving the workshop. Their responses couldn’t have been more enthusiastic and positive. It was inspiring to see their interest and energy, hear their thoughtful questions, and feel their gratitude at the end of the workshop. The feedback we received confirmed one of the key findings highlighted in Aprendiendo en casa, a Cooney Center research study led by June Lee and Brigid Barron in 2015:
“Latino parents—especially those who are Spanish-only speakers—have a strong desire for more information about media.”
One of the resources participants received was Apps en familia, a bilingual brochure available to educators, parents, librarians, and community organizations. Apps en familia includes actionable steps and essential information for those looking to better understand how to maximize kids’ screen time and online experiences.
The guide is based on the three C’s: context, content, and your child. It highlights the importance of using apps together with kids and explores real-world opportunities for integrating high-quality apps and tech resources to promote learning. To complement the Apps en familia guide, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, Common Sense Latino, and Abriendo Puertas also created a short video featuring a Latina mom and a parent educator that’s available in both Spanish and English.
Abriendo Puertas and Common Sense Latino continue to field-test the workshop with lower-income families in different cities, and will use participant feedback to refine it further throughout the second half of 2017. Both organizations are eager to see the program deployed across the country as a way to support more families in learning how to harness the power of media and technology for learning.
María Alvarez is Director of Latino Content and Outreach at Common Sense Media. Her Latino-focused parent advice has been featured on ¡Despierta América!, Noticias Telemundo, and CNN en Español and published in La Opinión, El Mensajero, and La Raza, among many other outlets. She has produced dozens of articles and features on commonsensemedia.org/latino that provide Latino parents with simple, actionable advice to help them learn how to choose and use media and technology wisely. Prior to working at Common Sense, Maria was a television executive producer and reporter in Venezuela, Honduras, and Chile for CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, and the Associated Press. Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Universidad Central de Venezuela and her master’s degree in communications from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. You can follow Common Sense Latino on Facebook and follow María on Twitter @mariaoxalvarez.