Monday 9 November 2015

As I was reading the Marc Prensky articles, I felt like the labels are less relevant if we think more about a balanced approach to technology as well as a willingness to be a risk taker and learn/use technology. 
My students have a 1-to-1 laptop programme at our school and regularly use them as a resource for their studies. For major projects, I tell my students they can choose how they show their knowledge as long as I can see what they know. Many projects have them making presentations, videos, animations and more. However, I still remember the first time I had students approach me and ask if they could make a brochure by hand instead of doing it digitally. Of course I said it was but it also became a more frequent conversation. I also had students going to the library looking for books rather than looking online at sites. It is important to know what resources are available and how to access them. It amazed me at first that students wouldn't want to incorporate technology but rather have a variety of options. There are sometimes days when our laptops go untouched from our desk and then others where we are on them a good chunk of the day. Even I still prefer a notebook and pen for my to do lists but find taking notes for my studies online easier. It is important that students understand that technology is just one of the many resources available for them to draw upon. Thus, even our digital natives don't always want technology but rather it is necessary to find the balance and appropriate times to use technology effectively. 
I also thought about it is more important to have a willingness to use and explore technology rather than whether or not you grew up using technology as a 'digital native'. I would argue I am more on the digital native spectrum. But still have a lot of digital immigrant tendencies. I grew up using technology from elementary school but the last 2 years is when I really have skyrocketed in my learning. There are others of all ages at my school who are very proficient with their technology usage and others who aren't. A few of our new teachers who would definitely be considered digital natives are not comfortable using technology in the classroom. So is it more important you grew up in it? Or are more willing to explore teaching through technology? Labels can sometimes be too confining to fully explain the situation in reality. 
I also wonder if we are needing to rethink our teaching as digital immigrants for the digital natives, what will this impact be 10, 20 , 50 years from now? How will it effect the new generation beyond our current digital natives. What implications will there be when digital natives are teaching digital natives? (Or even teaching the next label we come up with?)
Gamification and games based learning has been a real interest of mine in the last year. We have created some full units that are games and I'm excited we will be exploring this more in the next few weeks. Games are so engaging, rewarded, and have a low failure rate. Students have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and try a variety of tasks. There are awards, leader boards, levels, main quests, side quests, avatars and storylines to really help the students have fun while learning. Hope to have some great discussions about this in the coming weeks. 

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