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About these digital natives…

May 16, 2010

Now I’m no genius, but I’ll poke around in a software program to explore the features and figure out how to do what I need to do. I’ll research when I have a question and ask around on the internet until I figure it out or I’ll find a better program.  But my students?  I expected them to be the same.  I expected them to be comfortable with searching out information on the internet and using logins and links and bookmarks etc.  I mean, they’re in high school, right?  They’ve been doing this for years – they grew up on the internet right?  They should be able to work circles around me with technology.  And maybe a few of them can.  But I am constantly stunned with the apparent lack of skills in the general population of students.  I’m not talking about the “computer nerds”, just the regular kids who still spend a significant portion of their time on the computer.  When I ask them to use an open source program or to use my moodle page to pick up or submit their homework, suddenly they become completely flummoxed?   “What?  Username? Password?  My internet was down.  How do you expect me to be able to handle all that?”

Hmmm… is this a ruse?   My students can remember all the cheats for their playstation and xbox games and the usernames and passwords to their game sites and facebook but seriously, internet for education?  This must be some kind of joke, right?  That’s not what the internet is for…it’s for stalking friends and enemies and playing games and laughing at others in their unfortunate youtube videos…

I’m honestly distressed at the lack of willingness on the part of students and parents alike to allow the internet to become a featured player in education.  I know this is not across the board, but there seems to be a disconnect between parents and students who collect all the blackberry’s and iphones  and netbooks and laptops  they need to stay socially connected, but then complain or express concern when they actually need these same tools for education.

No, I don’t get it.    I really don’t.  I know that some people come to technology more slowly, but when students are using the exact same technology everyday to amuse themselves, that argument just doesn’t hold water.  It’s something else.  It’s change. ” It’s not what we used to do.  It’s not what we did when I was growing up.”  Maybe it’s  more than that…maybe technology is making the educational process so transparent that students, parents and teachers alike are afraid of making their work and responsibilities visible to the entire learning community. Hmmmm…..

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