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Digital immigrant diary- Case study of a digital native (resident)


 I read quite a lot on how students of today have changed radically from the students of the past. Many blogs, slides on Slideshare and books  deal with this issue.  At ORT SA  I find myself “preaching” to teachers about the importance of ICT integration in education and taking into consideration these changes.

And, then, it caught on me in my own home…

Here is a conversation between my daughters that I would like to share with you

6 year old: “ Mom, I need a laptop”

Me: “Hmm”

6 year old : “ An Apple laptop mom”

Me: “Hmmmm”

12 years old: “ what do you need a laptop for?

6 year old in reply : “ I’m starting school next year, grade 1, Hello!”

12 years old in amazement: “exactly, so what do you need a laptop for?”

6 year old  “so I can do my homework and calculations, Daa..”

12 years old : “You don’t need your laptop for homework and definitely not for calculating”

So how do I calculate and work out staff?

With your brain?

And how do I rub staff?

“With eraser?



Grade one teachers, be prepared.  These are the children in your 2009 class:

·         Although they seem to be clued up with computers, they still need to acquire computer basic skills.  As, most of them have gained their skills mostly from computer games.

·         Their conception about computers is that computers can do nearly everything. Homework, calculations,  etc.

·         Many have played educational games and have learnt that learning is fun…

·         They can read better then previous grade 1 learners did (in SA writing and reading starts mostly at Grade 1)  and are able to type (as many games required them to type their names and they learn to type URLs)

·         These  learners live in a world where information grows exponentially

·         They may have jobs that didn’t exist when they were born

How do we as teachers accomodtae these changes and how do we parents prepare them for a future filled with challenges and opportunities? Feel free to add your comments, feedback and suggestions.

From the desk of a digital immigrant diary

When working with teachers in rural areas, township schools or private schools we often reflect on best practices in teaching and how do we get it across the schools. As well as best Math system, the role of resources in Science, Technology and Mathematics, integration of the subject of Technology ensuring it aligned to the SA curriculum, all these issues and others arise when evaluating our projects. Reading Mark Prensky article about the students of today and how fundamentally they are different from the students of the past raise serious questions in our knowledge about “how kids learn”.

 Mark Prency in his article “Digital Natives, Digital immigrants” has defined today’s students – K through college – as “Digital Natives” – who were born and grown with digital technologies Todays average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives” this leads to students who THINK AND PROCESS INFORMATION DIFFERENTLY!
This leaves the rest of us as the “Digital Immigrant”, those who were not born into the digital world and have adopted many of the new technologies on a later stage.

I recommend you read the article (click the links above) as this article calls on educators to shift old methods and find ways to communicate in the language and style of their students.

In my blog I am hoping to share my experiences and learning as we work with teachers to find “new ways to do the old staff”.

As English is my second language, I am used to carry an accent,  I sure do expect that while I try and adopt the new “digitally” language I will bear an accent as well, but for that I have my daughters or my “digital natives” to help me out. (I just hope they will have the patience for me…)