Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slice #28 2012 - Thoughts from a Digital Immigrant

I love using technology as a tool to support learning in my classroom. We have a class wiki, a class website with links and published work and a class blog. We craft movies after writing scripts, filming and editing. Students have learned how to troubleshoot and why it's best to have a laptop on a flat, hard surface. (Yes, I know they are called laptops, but that's a bit of a misnomer. They get hot and keyboarding is more of a challenge on one's lap too.) My students were born at the turn of the century, that is the 21st century. They have always lived in a world filled with cell phones, MP3 players, cable and the Internet. My students are digital natives.

While I grew up in a time when you had to approach the TV to change the channel, used a "land" line to call your friends, researched using encyclopedias and typed papers on a typewriter, I have adapted to the ever changing world of technology. I read about new technology tools, find ways to use them when it's appropriate and even competed a master's degree in Instructional Technology. Technology is an important part of my life. I plan lessons using my laptop, enter grades in PowerSchool, call parents on my smart phone, connect with friends, write on my blog, family and colleagues on Twitter and Facebook, and pay bills online. However, I am and will always be a digital immigrant.

I still look back fondly to the long ago days I spent riding around on my bike. When I wanted to hang out with a friend, I'd knock on their door to see if they could play. My time was spent outside whenever the weather was nice. The only video games I played were Pac-Man and Centipede at an arcade. I listened to records and later 8-tracks. We used maps to find our way. While I have willingly (well, most of the time) entered the digital world, I still sometimes think life was a bit easier, more relaxed even, back when we weren't so connected.

What will my students think about the technological changes they will encounter as they become adults? Will they look back and think life was easier and more relaxed too? Our world changes at an ever increasing rate. "Change is good, you go first...."


  1. Your post reminds me of a comment I once heard.
    "Children of the 70's played in the town.
    Children of the 80's played in their neighbourhood,
    Children of the 90's played in the backyard
    Children of the 00's play in their room."

    Being a child of the early 80's I am grateful for all the time I spent outside making incredibly delicious mud pies, riding my bike, climbing trees and rollerskating. Having said that, I absolutely love technology and remember the many nights we stayed up all night playing Donkey Kong on the SEGA we had hired from the video store (we were only allowed to hire this once a month at the most!).
    Like you though, I do worry (and always will) about what our kids are missing out on now and how it may affect them in the future. I guess only time will tell...

  2. Part of what bothers me about all the technology we are pushing kids towards is we are doing it in order to "prepare them for the world of tomorrow." Not only can we not adequately predict the "world of tomorrow" but we are encouraging them to miss the world of now. I like your quote, " change is good, you go first."