Ms Eppele's Blog

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Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants

on November 7, 2010

I am not sure if we do have digital natives yet.  Taking my grade ones and twos into the computer lab is a great way to see what they know and understand about computer and internet use. My first lesson was to challenge the students to find our class website, I had booked 40 minutes for them to do it. Well, not two minutes later all students were there! However, I have found that many of them do not have the patience to wait to learn why we push the save button, what is the box in the upper right hand corner, and if something goes wrong they want immediate attention. Only a few students have demonstrated that they have patience to see if they can work it out themselves.

During our debate it dawned on me that digital natives are not all children today. And if we as educators want to teach digital skills we do need to understand the tools, but we must also be able to allow the students to teach us a little know how too.  Each September we all assess our new classes to see what type of learners are sitting at the desks. Today we not only look for the visual learners, the students with LD, the ADHD children, the day dreamer and so on, but we now must look for the digital native! They are out there, however it is not all students of this day and age.

For myself I have never seen myself as being digitally savvy, however my staff does. I took on the responsibility to learn more in order to aid my staff and as I did this I found two things; there are things I too, do not have the patience to learn and there a some very cool tools out there to learn!  I have decided I will try to use Evernote to help me organize all my many pieces of post it notes and I will get familiar with it so I can share what I have learned. I have been using Delicious for about a year, and I love it! It took me a year to try it and I regretted it once I saw what it could do. 

I really do not think there is a defined line between the Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, however I do believe that as educators we should be able to provide guidance to our students in regards to the new Digital age.

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