One of the principles we at EPIK try to stress as we talk with community members about raising children in a digital world is “Not about them without them.” We don’t want to just unite community leaders to do something for or about children and youth, but to do something with children and youth. Youth should be involved in the community conversations and in the process of creating a vision for the future. They are the future!
Every time we meet with youth, our commitment to this principle increases, and its value becomes more evident.
We were thrilled to be able to meet with the Kearns Youth Council on May 8, 2015. We’d met some of the council members and their advisor, Kathy Larrabee, at a Salt Lake County Commission on Youth (COY) meeting that we were invited to attend. Many thanks to Kathy for arranging this opportunity.
As we have done with other youth groups in the past, we invited each individual to write the positives and negatives that come to mind as they think about kids and technology.
As has been true in the past, the youth brought valuable insights to our larger community discussion. What we notice in meeting with the youth is that they will reflect many of the same thoughts that adults have, but they always bring up ideas and perspective that are different.
Had we had more time in this meeting, we would have invited the youth to help “cluster” their ideas into common themes or patterns. This PDF is an attempt at grouping their input by topic/theme, and comparing and contrasting the positives and negatives that the youth council members shared. To see past youth meeting outputs, see Meeting Outputs in our shared EPIK Google Drive folder.
As we held the discussion in the last few minutes of the meeting, one of the key points that was discussed was a very specific experience that many students had had in one of their classes. The teacher of this class had been a favorite…until he started using Google Chromebooks in his class. Students commented on how now he doesn’t engage students or help them like he did before.
This was not something we would have anticipated hearing, and we think it is something that deserves closer attention and more discussion among educators and administrators (and providers of technology education products).
This simple yet important discussion also illustrates the value of asking youth for their input. We should not be creating or implementing products or policies or programs without involving those who will be using them. The youth have so much to offer!