digital natives

I have said before that I think the commentary that our students (Digital natives) are all technology experts and teachers are all ‘digital immigrants’ who are behind the students and will struggle to catch up are gross generalisations. From my experience students are definitely more willing to experiment with computer based technologies and will ‘play around’ until they figure it out. Teachers who are uncomfortable with technology from my observations seem uncomfortable with this idea of playing around and learning by mistakes and doing things on computers and think that they are going to ‘wreck’ something and use this as a reason to avoid using technology.

To me this seems to be a key difference between the two groups. Even though most students may be adept at using technology, being able to use it for educational reasons is not generally a strong point and I think there is a lot that we as teachers can add to their ICT usage to help them harness the power of the technology they use. A glaring example here is their use of social networking sites and online safety. Go search through a few of your students facebook/myspace/bebo etc profiles and you will learn a lot about them that you may not want to know and more importantly they probably don’t want you to know. A lot of students don’t seem to realise that what they post on their site is available to ‘everyone’ that they need to think carefully about the online profile they are developing.

 

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