Leader or Follower?

Happy Monday, friends!  I know I am ready for a great week of learning and discovery, and I hope you are, too!

I want to start this week thinking about our class meeting from Friday.  We discussed trouble we were having related to lines, both in the hallway and at the end of PE.  While we came up with a tentative solution (aka. boy, girl, boy, girl), it was also mentioned by several people that we ought to just follow the rules.  Do the right thing.  Get it together.

So here’s where you make it public.  Announcing your intentions helps all of the rest of us hold you accountable, but also support you as you go.  🙂  Leave a comment here and tell us what ONE SPECIFIC THING you will do this week to make our class better.  What will you do to make sure we have the best week ever?  It can be related to the line or just learning in general.

Now the decision is yours: will you be a leader or a follower?

EDUC 573: Week 3–Digital Imminatives?

We’re almost halfway there! Week 4 is next week and I am continually amazed at all the things we can cram into a week of learning. 🙂

This week’s topic was Web 2.0–what it is, how we use it and why that’s important to ourselves and our learners.

I have to be honest that until last year, I hadn’t ever even really heard the term “web 2.0” and until just the other day, I hadn’t really thought much about what it meant.  I think I get it now that it’s the way the internet is no longer a “read only” experience, but is instead a place of co-learning, co-teaching, co-llaboration (hee hee).  Where once you could just look at a website, now you can be a partner in creating it.  Perhaps my favorite part of the whole Web 2.0 movement is how most everything you (I) need is always at my fingertips, regardless of whether or not I’m at my own computer.  Because of applications like Dropbox and Evernote, or numerous other web-based programs, I can work whenever, wherever I want or need to.  (But then, I must stop for a second and admit that while I like this feature, it’s probably not all positive.  There are definitely times and places I should NOT be working, but choose to anyway because I can.  This is definitely something I need to work on. 🙂 ).

I really enjoyed this week’s work, but much of that could have been because it was a topic I already knew much about.  As we were asked to explain a variety of Web 2.0 tools, I was able to easily think about how I’d implement them in my classroom because I’m already doing that!  The great part, though, is reading all of the thinking of my classmates regarding Web 2.0 and learning how I could use them differently.  What else could I do with something with which I am already familiar?

Now on to the explanation about the title (I know you were wondering what in the world I was doing with that!).  The article we focused on last week (and then reflected on this week) was Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky (2001).  While I’ve read this article before, and even used it as a reference in a paper I wrote last semester, of course reading it again and thinking about it in a different time and context made me consider different things than I did previously.

As a part of the course, we’re supposed to choose a quote from the article and respond to it.  I could have easily chosen the whole article, as Prensky makes numerous valid points, but alas I chose just one.  Ok, I chose two:

It’s just dumb (and lazy) of educators – not to mention ineffective – to presume that (despite their traditions) the Digital Immigrant way is the only way to teach, and that the Digital Natives’ “language” is not as capable as their own of encompassing any and every idea.

I think what really struck me about these words are that I want to be sure to do everything in my power not to be that Digital Immigrant teacher!  I like to think I am a trailblazer, that I try new things even when I am not sure of the outcome because I think they will help my students learn.  I like to think that I trust my students, that often they are teaching me more than I am them.  And so it’s my job then, right, to help the Digital Immigrants see that there is a better way.  Just like with any new learning, it may not be quick and it may not be easy, but in the end it will be good.

And so this article also led me to another question:  Is there a name for someone who is both a Digital Immigrant and a Digital Native?  I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle.  This part got me thinking:

Digital Immigrants don’t believe their students can learn successfully while watching TV or listening to music, because they (the Immigrants) can’t. Of course not – they didn’t practice this skill constantly for all of their formative years. Digital Immigrants think learning can’t (or shouldn’t) be fun. Why should they – they didn’t spend their formative years learning with Sesame Street.

So like I said, I am somewhat of an Immigrant just because of my age, but that definition doesn’t ring true at all with how I think/believe/feel about myself, my students or learning in general.  I do think learning can and should be fun, I did spend my formative years learning with Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and the Electric Company, and I am a MASTER at multi-tasking (i.e. learning while watching TV and/or listening to music–I’m doing it right now, actually).  Perhaps its like with any definition or rule, there’s always an exception.  And in this case, an exception is what I long to be.  🙂

So what do you think about the digital natives, digital immigrants and Web 2.0?  Which are you?  How does knowing about digital natives impact the way you teach and the way your students learn?  I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts. 🙂