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Digital Age Family Engagement: The Role of Media Mentors

by Chip Donohue
March/April 2017
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/digital-age-family/5023412/

“Strengthen a parent and you strengthen a child.”
Fred Rogers,You Are Special

This article is based on a new edited volume, Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators and Media Mentors (Donohue, 2017). In the book, 25 contributing authors explore the meaning of family engagement in the digital age, the role technology can play in empowering parents and engaging families, and the emerging role for educators as media mentors to guide young children and their families in the 21st century. With or without technology we know that family engagement can happen anywhere, anytime that children are learning; is a shared responsibility among parents, families, educators, and communities, and is most effective when we build respectful relationships with families and value the diverse ways in which they promote their children’s outcomes (Lopez, Caspe & Weiss, 2016).

Respectful relationships depend on a strengths-based approach to parent empowerment and family engagement, based on a deep understanding of child development theory, developmentally appropriate practices, and the effective and intentional use of technology to support learning, communicating, and collaborating. And there is an added benefit of digital media literacy when we “prepare families to use technology and digital resources to strengthen their participation in school and in the ...

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