Clio was created to bring communication and media studies into secondary education, to provide students with the 21st century skills they need to thrive in today’s digital culture, and to prepare them to take their place as leaders in the Information Age.
By the time they graduate from high school, young people today have spent tens of thousands of hours consuming mediated communication—in the form of countless tweets, texts, posts, television shows, and video games. This flood of content in which they are immersed on a daily basis constitutes an entire parallel curriculum, one that consumes their attention.
Surprisingly, traditional secondary school curricula pay little attention to the consequential role of communication and media in society. Despite the enormous changes that have taken place in the communication environment outside of school, the secondary school curriculum has remained roughly the same for generations. This means there is an ever-widening gulf between these two parallel curricula: the one provided to students in the classroom, and the mediated one they take part in outside the school walls.
Like the adults around them, today’s teens are part of a huge social experiment. Since the moment the Internet became accessible worldwide, we’ve all gotten a little bit closer and found ourselves (whether we like or not) parties in a global digital conversation that’s accessible at any moment with the touch of a button. While there are many benefits and opportunities that come with this level of connectivity, it presents a range of challenges and dangers as well.
“The average teen spends 7.5 hours per day using screen media.”
—Common Sense Media, 2019
Classroom curricula have become increasingly less relevant to the daily online experience of most teens. According to this study, the average teen spends 7.5 hours per day using screen media, not including time on school related activities. By failing to bridge the gap between the experience of communication in school and outside of it, educators miss out on an important opportunity to provide guidance, and students are left to navigate the complex domain of digital culture on their own.
What can you teach today that will be invaluable to for decades to come?
We need to provide the next generation with relevant, 21st century skills. It’s a safe bet that students in middle school today will one day be using communication devices that are beyond our current imagination. Clio's programs are designed to prepare them for that future.
While we can’t know what the world of the future will look like, we can learn from the past.
Though we can't predict what new devices will be invented in the years to come, as educators we can encourage students to think critically about the ways communication, relationships, and culture change when mediated. Drawing from the lessons offered by media history, we can prepare young people for the inevitable disruptions and opportunities that come with new communication technologies. We can help them understand how and why the brain responds to various forms of media stimulus; we can guide them in exploring the ethical challenges posed by new media, and invite them to ponder what it means to responsibly use the great power of communication.
Finally, we can provide students with the tools to mindfully navigate a media world that constantly demands and fractures their focus, and we can help them to become more intentional with their attention.
Clio teaches faculty to support their students in how—and why—to be mindful of their media use.