Darren Draper’s blog post yesterday entitled Who’s Afraid of Digital Natives echoed some thoughts I have had myself about teaching, learning, education in general. I left a response over there, please go and take a look, here I have cross posted what I said there.
Darren, as we all know the future is now, the world has changed and it is not going back. We in education have to face the fact that it is not acceptable to teach the way we were taught. We are doing students a disservice in not using the tools they use in their daily lives, whether it is cell phone, iPod, MP3 player, digital camera, or online tools. We talk of modeling learning for students, the educational community needs to update their skills with the use of tools to engage students in their learning. I agree with you we do need to start thinking about what we do, and how we do it, and it will require time on everyone’s part. Yesterday Carolyn Foote was conducting a workshop and I had the pleasure of participating in a Skype call along with David Jakes, Patrick Higgins, and John Maklary. The conversation centered on connections, how we connect, the benefits of connecting with others outside of our own workplaces, and how the connections help us learn. The primary concern I hear most often from teachers, when introducing something new to use in instruction, is they have no time to learn about technology, it is still considered an add on by many, something else to teach.
David made a great point yesterday, he said we all have to make time to learn these new tools, take 15 minutes a day to focus on our own learning, over time it adds up. Those of us that understand the positive benefits of these educational technologies have taken the time to learn how to use them, taken time to understand their implication for use in teaching and learning. Yes, we are the ones who like technology, over the top to some, but we try, we make the effort, because we see the future, we know we have to do more to engage students. We are trying to make their learning relevant to their everyday lives, because the world has changed, and schools have to change as well.
Our students are connected all the time, I am sure they could explain the contributions they feel their connections bring to their lives and learning. So why not encourage their development, as you said, teach them responsible use, not ignore reality, its too easy to say no iPods or cell phones in school, students will use them to cheat. Instead when do we start to teach them to be good digital citizens, teach them ethical use of the tools? If we would only begin to imagine the possibilities.