Digital Immigrants?

First of all, being comfortable with and knowledgeable about technology has nothing to do with age. I know middle schoolers who are neither. I never touched a computer until college and when I did, I booted up that Apple IIe and never looked back! I think it has everything to do with an innate curiosity and a willingness to learn new things. The teacher who wants to teach one year, 35 times, will never embrace technology. The teacher who is constantly evolving and improving will certainly explore the possibilities technology brings to the classroom.

In this post, (No More Digital Immigrants) Mark Brumley exhorts us to stop using the digital immigrants term. He provides many good reasons to do so. I have fought this battle for awhile now. I get what Prensky was getting at, but the terms are unfortunate – and the concept is flawed. Research (including a project I am involved with) point out the inaccuracy of this. I am (just) over 55 and I started suing computers in high school (yes – punch cards & mainframes) and have been involved in using them since then. As Mark points out in this excerpt, tech skill has nothing to do with age – I encounter students who do not like or are comfortable with tech all the time. I sped considerable time showing and convincing aspiring teachers about the power of using digital technology for learning & teaching. I like how Mark words this passage – the message about teaching the same year over and over vs growing – what kind of educator do you want to be?


Do students learn what we want them too?

… excellent lecture by Robert Duke, a professor of music and human learning at the University of Texas Austin, on “Why students don’t learn what we think we teach” (hosted at Cornell University Videos).

Duke is captivating, and he makes a clear argument that students don’t learn what we think we teach because they’re too busy learning what we’re actually teaching, which is, often, that precision is more important than understanding and that grades matter. The solution, he argues, is to teach, over and over, the things that we actually want our students to remember after the semester is over. And, that we should not defer learning about “The Good Stuff” until after they’ve suffered through boring prerequisites. Instead, we should teach the good stuff first and teach what we really enjoy.

(my emphasis) Came across this via Darren Kuropatwa, original post on “Structure & Strangeness“. Duke makes a good point, and it applies to any level of education. What do we want our students to learn? What are we actually teaching them?