Digital immigrants or digital natives? A discussion of digital competence… A spectrum, not a dichotomy!

My new Classroom2.0 friend Jan Smith commented on my recent blog (re)post and I thought I would add the post here since it was a Classroom2.0 discussion that prompted the post in the first place:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Amy Capelle has started a very interesting discussion in Ning’s Classroom2.0

She asks, “Are they really digital natives?

The discussion there is great! Here is my response:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“I come from the Batman era,
adding items to my utility belt while students today are the Borg from Star Trek,
assimilating technology into their lives.”


That’s a quote I use to differentiate digital immigrants from digital natives.

BUT I have realized that it is much more about comfort level & exposure than it is about age. While I am helping some frustrated students open a sign-up verification e-mail, other students have logged into the new site, added a photo, and changed the appearance of their personal page.

There are three digital divides here preventing me from effectively using technology in the classroom. (Two from my post, and the 3rd added from this Classroom2.0 discussion.) These divides are the gaps between:

1. What I know and what I need to know.

2. What the school has in the way of technology and what it needs to have.

3. What skills/abilities students enter my class with.

#1 I can change.
#2 will never change fast enough.
#3 is the shift in this conversation.

I have both immigrants and natives in my class, so the distinction is moot.

In another post I said,

“And then there is my class Science Alive! wiki… “I think that I am guilty of seeing the value of using technology in guiding learning, but not effectively guiding learning in my technology use.”

I have done a pretty good job of getting my students going… but now as momentum builds I have come to the realization that I don’t have a marking rubric to guide me, or my students, as we move towards a final product.

My class is assembling a lego model without the instructions, or even the image of the final product on the front of the box. This isn’t a problem for the creative/motivated students; they will assembly a better model in ways that I could never have ‘instructed’ them… but some students need structure, they have been fed it for years and expect it (even from yours truly - this isn’t finger pointing, it is observation).

I let technology supersede pedagogy.“


Digital immigrants or digital natives is nothing more than a discussion of digital competence… it is a spectrum, not a dichotomy!

Where does this leave us?
We want all of our students to be digitally competent.
We want all of our students to be articulate thinkers.
We need to make this happen in pedagogically sound ways.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Let us go to the very beginning of the whole debate and none other Mark Prensky himself. In his article, Adopt and Adapt: Shaping Tech for the Classroom, Prensky says:

“…technology adoption… It’s typically a four-step process:

1. Dabbling.
2. Doing old things in old ways.
3. Doing old things in new ways.
4. Doing new things in new ways.”


I think we get excited when we see ‘new things in new ways’, but often we end up (re)creating old things in new ways. The real conversation needs to be around the constraints of curriculum and standardized testing.

“This is why the foundation of education systems today should not be the rails, but it should be the side trips. It should not be the central standard curriculum, but it should be those directions that students, that learners, both teachers and students, can navigate to on their own.” (David Warlick)

New things in new ways… creating articulate thinkers… and building digital competence as a by-product.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Originally posted: September 19th, 2007

Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:


I remember laboring over the semantics of my title for this post. I used the word ’spectrum’ then changed it to ‘continuum’ and then back to ’spectrum’. The reason I stuck with ’spectrum’ is because the competence and exposure to technology that students face today are not uniform as a continuum may suggest. Students can have very narrow bands, or very wide arrays, of knowledge or expertise when it comes to their use of technology. So if I were to make the post title into a statement it would be:

Rather than a Digital Native/Digital Immigrant dichotomy,
students have a wide spectrum of digital competence
positively correlating to their digital exposure.


I’ll save the conversations around assessment, pedagogy and standardized testing for another day.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Comments on the original post, Jan's comment and my response are on the post.

Views: 27

Comment

You need to be a member of Classroom 2.0 to add comments!

Join Classroom 2.0

Report

Win at School

Commercial Policy

If you are representing a commercial entity, please see the specific guidelines on your participation.

Badge

Loading…

Follow

Awards:

© 2019   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service