I had the pleasure of attending the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in 2012 and had the pleasure of hearing Marc Prensky speak. While he gave his speech, he spoke about the differences between Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives and their relationship to education. He then stated, “The war is over, the natives won!” in that we can no longer continue doing things the way we are used to doing them. We must adapt and change how and what we teach in the fast paced world that the Digital Natives are born into.
Reading his article, Shaping Tech for the Classroom, the four steps to technology adoption resonated most with me. Prensky lists that the four steps are:
- Doing old things in old ways.
- Doing old things in new ways.
- Doing new things in new ways.
This made me reflect on what I do as a teacher in my classroom. I’m clearly a Digital Immigrant, and I definitely start new things by Dabbling, and adjusting what I do in the classroom based on new resources and technologies that are available for me. I thought I was doing pretty well in teaching digital natives. I’m not so sure anymore. I think of the different projects and classroom practices that I adapted are i the “Doing old things in new ways.”
As I am a visual learner, I looked for infographics that helps me better understand the world we live in in relation to technology. Here’s what I found:
Wesley Fryer illustrates the “Digital Landscape” on his blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity. So, where do I stand? I’m definitely not a Digital Native (I’m not young enough) and I’m not a Digital Refugee (I try to stay informed and not shy away from it). I’m probably somewhere in between the Digital Voyeur and a participating Digital Immigrant, so that probably makes me a Bridge person.
Then, my thought went to: as a Bridge person who is striving to be a participating Digital Immigrant, how can I teach my students who are Digital Natives? How can I break free from doing old things in new ways and move into doing new things in new ways? I think the answer for me lies in the students that I work with. What if I were able to relinquish more control over how I teach something to the students? What if they become the drivers of my classroom, no, our classroom? I think this will be the way in which I will be able to learn from the students to be a teacher of digital natives. Sure, as my students are still in the elementary school, they will need some guidance, but creating a class culture where the students can teach everyone in the class (including me) to deepen our knowledge in anything, would be a tremendous step forward.