Digital Natives (part 2)

“Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our children. Why doesn’t anyone try to leave better children for our planet?”

Many of us grew up in a pre-digital era – we made phone calls and wrote letters, while public information was distributed through broadcast media. But now there’s a whole generation at college that has never known a world without the web. They bring with them a new way of engaging with the world, with information, and with each other.

An excellent video to understand how Digital Natives fit technology and open up to a world where anything is possible.

From Google+, Facebook, and Twitter to SMS and corporate messaging, this generation is developing an instinctive set of behaviors and expectations around these tools. They are very savvy in understanding which medium is most appropriate for the message and for the recipient, whether it’s a dinner invitation or asking someone out on a date.  They know they have to find the appropriate interrupt signal, and that different channels send different signals, with numerous subtleties that we are only just starting to understand:  Following Generation Z

In Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology, Allan Collins and Richard Halverson argue that the knowledge revolution has transformed our jobs, our homes, our lives, and therefore must also transform our schools. Much like after the school-reform movement of the industrial revolution, our society is again poised at the edge of radical change. To keep pace with a globalized technological culture, we must rethink how we educate the next generation or we (the Digital Immigrants) will be left behind. This groundbreaking book offers a vision for the future of American education that goes well beyond the walls of the classroom to include online social networks, distance learning with anytime, anywhere access, digital home schooling models, video-game learning environments, and more.

School leaders and teachers need to understand how learning technologies work and how they change the basic interactions of teachers and learners. Technology leaders need to work together with educators as collaborators in creating new opportunities to learn.

Technology is changing what is important to learn in a variety of ways. There are new literacies that are becoming important, such as creating videos, animations, and web sites. Computers can carry out all the algorithms taught through graduate school, and yet mathematical reasoning is more important than ever. Hence we should spend time teaching students to solve sophisticated problems using computers rather than executing algorithms that computers do well. Memorizing information is becoming less important with the web available, but people do need to learn how to find information, recognize when they need more information, and evaluate what they find. People will be changing careers often and transitions are difficult. They need help going back and forth between learning and work.

As technology continues to transform our society, those responsible for our current systems of learning and education are facing overwhelming pressure to adapt. Education technology, connected learning and the rise of the Networked Society is transforming the established concept of learning, teachers’ roles and even the nature of knowledge itself.

The revolution in education will alter not just the lives of students, but the entirety of modern society. As with any revolution, there are will be both gains and losses. Pessimists see people becoming subservient to their technologies and being left behind as technology comes to dominate our lives. Optimists see a golden age of learning opening before us, where people will be able to find resources to pursue any education they may want.

TAKING ACTION

Strategies:

1. RETHINK ASSESSMENT

With few exceptions, all the things our children are using to connect and learn outside the classroom — social media, cell phones, Internet connections — are banned inside classrooms. Move from a standardized testing teaching approach to a style that incorporates more creativity and adaptability.

Remaking assessment starts with this: stop asking questions on tests that can be answered by a Google search. Or, if you have to ask them, let kids use their technology to answer them. More often than not, we ask questions that can be easily answered by technology. That is unfortunate. Take a quick look at any of the state standardized tests for graduation, and you’ll see more of those than you can imagine.

Let’s scrap open-book tests, zoom past open-phone tests asking Googleable questions, and advance to open-network tests that measure not just how well kids answer a question, but also how literate they are at discerning good information from bad and tapping into the experts and networks that can inform those answers. This is how they’ll take the real-life information and knowledge tests that come their way, and it would tell us much more about our children’s preparedness for a world of data abundance.

This is an excerpt from Will Richardson’s new TED e-book, Why School?

2. CULTIVATE MENTORSHIPS

Encourage two-way intergenerational mentorships and interactions. This would create opportunities for youth adults to learn from each other. Gen Z comes to the workforce a wide set of new technology skills, determination and passion, among many other factors. Older employees can benefit from the connectivity, flexibility and creativity that are unique to this generation. These youth are still young, however, and have a lot to learn from their older mentors that will help better integrate them successfully in the formal working world. As these youth become a larger part of the emerging labor force, business must plan for Gen Z’s entry and the succession of the Baby Boomers as they retire. Mentorship programs not only get youth interested in and prepared for work in new fields, it introduces fresh skills and attitudes that help businesses flourish in a changing economic atmosphere.

Extract from GENERATION Z CHALLENGES 

3. EMPHASIZE PUBLIC SPEAKING AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT SKILLS.

These skills are increasingly valuable in the workplace and society more broadly. Greater emphasis should be placed on their development. The ability to manage conflict is probably one of the most important social skills an individual can possess.

5. ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION

According to the Key Competence Framework, the entrepreneurship key competence refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. Include business and entrepreneurial skills in school curricula in order to equip students with a background in that area, making entrepreneurship less of an idea and more of a viable possibility for those students.

Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe. [Eurydice]

7. PROMOTE SERVICE LEARNING

Civic engagement is instrumental in building community awareness, teaching tolerance and cultivating socially conscious young people. Service learning should be integrated into K-20 education.

8. TEACH RISK-TAKING

We must teach our youth to look for opportunities and that failure in pursuit of them is a learning opportunity and not a stigma to avoid at all costs. To help our students, we need to directly ask for academic risk-taking behavior (e.g. asking questions, dwelling in uncertainty, and advancing untried hypotheses) and identify it whenever we ask for it, so students know we perceive and value the challenges they face.

Teaching Risk-Taking in the College Classroom

SOURCES:

RETHINKING EDUCATION IN THE AGE OF TECHNOLOGY:  THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND THE SCHOOLS. (PDF) By Allan Collins and Richard Halverson

http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-natives-by-frank-tudela

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Digital Natives (part 1)

“Children are the future of the country” if you want to know the future you should know how children are nowadays. The succeeding question is how are the children today?

Today’s children are born digital — born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities. But their digital lifestyle is about more than just cool gadgets; it’s about engagement, self-directed learning, creativity, social networking and empowerment.

The author of “Teaching Digital Natives” Marc Prensky says: “Today’s students have not just changed incrementally from those of the past, nor simply changed their slang, clothes, body adornments, or styles, as has happened between generations previously. A really big discontinuity has taken place”…. “the explosion of technology over the last 10 years is just the start of a symbiotic new world. Computers and handsets are becoming an extension of body and mind, creating a Cyborg-like population”.

You only have to realize how they spend their entire days surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, cell phones, tablets and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. Computer games, email, the Internet, social media and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives. They grow up with this new technology. They are Digital Natives. [Marc Prensky (2001a2001b) employs an analogy of native speakers and immigrants to describe the generation gap separating today’s students (the “Digital Natives”) from their teachers (the “Digital Immigrants”).]

Prensky defines Digital Natives as those born into an innate “new culture” while the digital immigrants are old-world settlers, who have lived in the analogue age and immigrated to the digital world.

Here is an image of a mind map created to show the differences between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants:   (click to enlarge)

Mind-Map-2eep58z-1024x378

Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work. The following infographic takes a look at today’s kids as compared to the children of the past:     Click here

The single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant teachers, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.

Parents live with it. Teachers see it daily. You can’t observe young people and not notice how smoothly and seamlessly they dive into new Web 2.0 communication technologies. With a flick of the cell phone, they share more texts, photos, music, and video than any other demographic group on Earth. Either way, the teachers, moms, and dads among us find ourselves on the outside peering into a world we neither know nor understand. Too often, we draw conclusions that miss the point — and the promise — of what these new communication tools offer. Sound familiar? Perhaps it’s time for all of us to explore the Web 2.0 frontier.

digital-natives-copy

Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick-payoff world of their video games, social networking sites (facebook, tuenti, twitter, etc.), and Internet are bored by most of today’s education, well-meaning as it may be. But worse, the many skills that new technologies have actually enhanced (e.g., parallel processing, graphics awareness, and random access)—which have profound implications for their learning—are almost totally ignored by educators. Digital Immigrants typically have very little appreciation for these new skills that the Natives have acquired and perfected through years of interaction and practice. Every time Digital Natives go to school they have to power down.

Digital Natives1

The possible solutions will be discussed in the next post.

SOURCES: