On Parent Participation


This month I am leading a number of digital literacy workshops for parents as part of Mom 2.0. While looking for some videos to include in my presentations, I came by this great talk on parent participation by Henry Jenkins, Director of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program.

Prof. Jenkins reminds us that kids grow when:

  • Given a sense of responsibility.
  • Asked to exceed their own sense of limitations.
  • Allowed to pursue their own passions and interest.

Furthermore, he states:

In the same way that parents have gone and watched badly played little league games and the off key band concerts for decades because it was important for their kids, they now need to watch kids play World of Warcraft, understand fan fiction and understand how Wikipedia works because it is important for kids. And, their accomplishments in that space is important to them and will be foundational for their sense of themselves and their sense of the future.

As educators it is important that we take time to reach out to parents and help them understand ways in which to become meaningfully involved in their children’s digital lives. Take a moment to listen to Prof. Jenkin’s 5 minute talk and to share it, along with the other Edutopia videos, with a parent near you! For additional resources to help parents get involved in helping their children learn at home, visit Next Generation Learning.

As research points out again and again, a little parent involvement can go a long way!


Founder, Bon Education

Twitter: @bon_education



4 Responses to “On Parent Participation”

  1. 1 christa December 2, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Very thoughtful video. It makes sense. I hadn’t thought of parent involvement and encouragement when considering these new literacies and evolving culture. Students will need to be empowered and see that their parents and mentors are proud of them for their accomplishments. My brothers dropped out of school and spent most of their time in online communities, gaming, or composing music on the computer. These weren’t valued. My parents thought they were lazy for not wanting to work on their government homework or because they didn’t make the football team. They just weren’t interested.

    I think it is valid to see keeping up with a blog just as much of a responsiblity as practicing an instrument daily.

  2. 2 readinggal December 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing Christa. With all the recent hype around iPhone apps, etc… sounds like your brothers have a very employable set of skills! I really like Jenkin’s note about how participating with your kids online is just as important as watching a band concert… Makes me think of Guitar Hero – a nice combo of the two!

  1. 1 Give them the values they need | Parenting Help in Alabama Trackback on December 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm
  2. 2 Digital Tools for Homework Help « Literacy is Priceless Trackback on December 7, 2009 at 4:14 pm

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