Digital kids in digital classrooms

Epiphanies either make you feel really empowered about the amazing realisation you’ve just had, or they make you feel really confounded that it took you so long to work it out.

I have been wandering through other blogs looking for inspiration from other educators regarding ways to incorporate ICT into the classroom – hoping to be able to stuff a few tricks up my sleeve for my upcoming prac.

I found this blog from 2011 that blew me away. I was mainly amazed by the way the words she wrote are so relevant today, yet this was from 6 years ago! The comment about seeing toddlers in prams playing on iPhones before they can even talk stunned me. Have we been doing this to our kids for that long? That means that those toddlers are now 7 years old – just the right age to be in the Year 2 classroom that I will be doing my prac in. The epiphany hit me…I have to change the way that I think a teacher teaches, to the way that these students want to learn.

I can think ‘old school’ is the way to go until I’m blue in the face. That will not change the way these digital natives want their information fast and varied. These students will be be so adept at navigating their way around an iPad, I won’t be able to keep up!

But this does beg the question…they understand the what, but do they understand the how? Do they know why the app works when they tap it with their finger? Do they know what makes some apps ‘bigger’ than others and how that affects the storage space? Do they need to know? Do they care?

This opens up a can of worms to many aspects of the digital world. Should I use the metalanguage of digital natives differently in the classroom? Words like swipe, tap, open and screen…have these students learned the digital meanings of these words before they learn the traditional meanings? Should I use how to insert a picture into a Word document as the teaching for procedures? Should I use the analogy of computer storage to explain how the brain works and why revision helps you to learn?

I guess the answer is yes to all of the above. I have been thinking that incorporating ICTs into the classroom is going to be complicated and depend on resources, however I have literally just realised that it doesn’t have to been like that.

I have to stop thinking that the way I teach is the best way for them to learn and start realising that they way they learn is the best way for me to teach.

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