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Innovation and Alienation: Programs Explore Ways Digital World Helps—and Harms Kids

File photo
File photo

Technology has changed everything we do, from the way we learn, to the way we play and communicate with one another. 

Two programs to be held at Glen Ellyn schools next week will address various aspects of this necessary component of children's lives. Parents will learn what to expect as their children use technology more and more in the classroom, as well as how to keep them safe online.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, author and speaker Will Richardson will present, Raising Modern Learners: A Parent's Guide to the Fast-Changing World of Education and Digital Literacy. The discussion will be held at Hadley Junior High School library media center, 240 Hawthorne Blvd., Glen Ellyn.

Those who have heard Richardson know he is dynamic, funny and most of all, insightful. A parent himself, he helps other parents bridge the gap between their own experiences and the new ways their children are navigating the world, the Web and school. His knowledge and perspectives are helpful to those who are tech-shy, tech-enthusiasts or somewhere in between. 

During the day, Richardson, who was a public school teacher for 22 years, will work with teachers as part of Techno-Blast Institute Day. In the evening, he will present to parents and community members.

Richardson, who founded Modern Learner Media and Powerful Learning Practice, describes himself as an outspoken advocate for change. He had this to say about his presentation for the District 41 community: 

"In some pretty rapid and radical ways, the Web is changing the way we learn, the way we define an education, and the way we think about work, all of which has huge implications for our children. This presentation will look at the scope and scale of these shifts, clarify the roadblocks schools face, and offer specific starting points for parents to engage in a truly "different" conversation of how best to prepare their children for a change-filled, more uncertain world in the future."

When it Becomes Too Much

On the other side of the coin, the Web can cause additional stress to students who say they are already stressed and alienated to the max. They often decompress by going online, where they unfortunately face heightened school and social pressures. At the same time, parents worry they are losing meaningful connections with their stressed-out teens.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Glenbard Parent Series: Navigating Healthy Families, will welcome Catherine Steinar-Adair, who will present Stressed for Success:  How Life Online Amplifies the Challenges Facing Today’s Teens.

The program will be presented twice: at noon in Marquardt District 15 Administration Center, 1860 Glen Ellyn Road, Glendale Heights, and at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Glenbard South High School, 23W200 Butterfield Road in Glen Ellyn.

Steinar-Adair has conducted extensive research on the teen social networking scene and the toll it is taking on young people. She will outline how to build healthy relationships with teens in the age of technology, plus uncover the truth of the teen dating scene in an online world with no boundaries. Participants will gain insights that will help them achieve greater understanding, authority and confidence as they come up against the tech revolution.

A parent-to-parent drop-in discussion group will precede the evening presentation at South, at 6:30 p.m.

All programs are free and open to the public, and students are also encouraged to attend.

GPS is funded by the Cebrin Goodman Center, an affiliate of the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation and in partnership with the Cooperative Association for Special Education. Additional support for these Jan. 23 programs comes from Sodexo Corp.

For more information, contact Gilda Ross, Glenbard District 87 student and community projects coordinator, at (630) 942-7573 or gilda_ross@glenbard.org

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