An Educator’s Guide to Building Digital Empathy

September 12, 2022
An Educator’s Guide to Building Digital Empathy

In today’s modern world digital empathy is an important skill to possess to help navigate the flood of online content in productive and compassionate ways. Digital empathy is the ability to share similar feelings with others and to embrace different ideas and perspectives even though they may contrast with our own. The following four principles will work to build digital empathy in the everyday classroom and will help to facilitate more positive, productive, and impactful interactions online.

Brainstorm Different Perspectives

When navigating current events and articles online it is important to be able to brainstorm multiple perspectives to help understand the various perspectives that individuals may be coming from. Building capacity to understand how others think and express themselves can work towards enhancing digital empathy and work to facilitate more positive interactions with others online.

Practice Withholding Judgements or Criticism

It is almost too easy to make quick judgements and opinions on the flood of content we see online. Take a moment to pause, consider the possible intentions behind the content, and practice withholding any potential judgment before knowing more. The more we can avoid forming immediate judgements on initial information, the more we can facilitate more compassionate and positive digital experiences.

Ask Open Ended Questions to Build Understanding

Oftentimes digital empathy comes from the ability to gather information and being open to further learning. Take the time to ask thoughtful open ended questions to enhance your current knowledge set and to gather insight on topics that you may have had limited experience with. Have a natural curiosity to the world around you and continue to acquire new learnings through powerful and careful questioning.

Cultivate a Classroom Culture of Curiosity and Wonder

Create a classroom environment where students are supported and encouraged to naturally seek out information and wonder about the dynamic and digital world around them. Constantly pose thought provoking questions, explore perspectives, and empower students to take an active role in their own learning. Digital empathy and constantly seeking out new information is a critical part of being a lifelong learner.

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