Primary schoolchildren and even some toddlers on St. Eustatius were shown parts of digital life they probably only knew from television and the Internet. They created holograms, built self-driving cars, made three-dimensional creations with only a pen, and learned the first steps of programming a robot.
They exchanged videos with students in the Netherlands, and talked about subjects such as cyber bullying, how to recognise fake news, how technology is part of everyday life and how it can be a career, too.
Both pupils and teachers were very enthusiastic and eager to learn more about digital literacy in the classroom. “It was so cool. I learned how to get a robot to do exactly what I wanted,” an enthusiastic pupil said.
Nowadays, children are born into an online world and seem to manage this environment quite naturally and effortlessly. However, knowing all the possibilities that technology has to offer, recognising the scope and dangers of having an online identity, and living in the digital world in a safe manner, are things that need to be taught.
That is why, just like reading, writing and mathematics, digital literacy and citizenship will soon be part of the compulsory curriculum in primary education. Mediawegwijs is helping schools and teachers on Bonaire, Statia and Saba in providing a complete lesson programme on digital literacy that also incorporates basic skills.
Five young Dutch teachers were invited by the schools on Statia to showcase their digital literacy lessons. With their cool high-tech gadgets, they captured the attention and curiosity of the enthusiastic students from day one. “The kids looked at us as if we were superheroes with our robots and Virtual Reality glasses,” on of the teachers said.
“The proud look on their faces when they actually create something with technology is priceless,” said Golden Rock School teacher Maruska Simmons about her pupils.
Parents were also involved and showed great interest in the role that technology and innovation can play in their children’s future. This was a real eye-opener for some. “I never thought of the option of my son becoming a programmer, a job he can do remotely while living in Statia close to his family,” one of the parents said.
Mediawegwijs will visit schools in Saba from Thursday, April 13, and Bonaire from May 2.
Mediawegwijs offers complete and funded lesson packages for schools that can easily be implemented in their teaching programmes.
Founder and creator Ilse Godtschalk has a teaching background herself. “I know from experience the amount of work teachers have on their plates and how challenging it can be to keep the students’ attention. ‘Teachers tell me how much they appreciate that these lessons don’t make them feel like they have another extra task, and that’s exactly what we try to achieve with our digital literacy lessons.”
The Daily Herald.