Digital lessons for children on Statia, Saba and Bonaire

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.

Students of Governor De Graaff School with a hologram.

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.

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