Monday, June 30, 2014

Digital Natives

I have watched a few of Mike Wesche's videos on YouTube and I have seen his TED talk. He is at the very least, inspirational. When I watched this video I did feel inspired but also I felt anxious. I am not a digital native, in fact I have a long long way to go. Technology is moving at such a rapid pace and I am just trying to get in the game. However, I know that I have no choice but to pick up the pace and catch up. Wesche expresses the fact that the web is constantly changing and all this information is so accessible. He explains that the web is not just a source of information but it is a way to collaborate with others. It is a place where people can share knowledge and ideas. This can be a new and exciting way for students to learn, but it is my responsibility as a teacher to guide my students through this process. It is essential that I know what I am doing so they do not miss out on this way of learning.

Prensky writes about how much better digital natives are at multitasking. I do agree with this idea. Every year our school has an 8th grade dance, a semi formal. This year the decorations committee was run in an entirely different way. As soon as the theme was chosen, students had their phones out and were on Pinterest choosing decorations, they were sending pictures to each other, some students were checking out prices from stores and warehouses. It was so organized! They had everything ordered and completed in two days. They blew my mind.

However, Danah Boyd questions the validity of the term "natives." I must agree with her. I do think that we must not assume that all youth are natives. Socioeconomics plays a big part in this. The students who have the technology at home and who have been brought up using it are more advanced. The students who do not have access to technology outside of school are at a clear disadvantage. I am always surprised when I ask students if they know how to do basic things on the computer like cut and paste, or send an attachment and they do not know how. Research is a big problem also. I am one of those teachers who does not allow my students to use Wikipedia but for different reasons. I want my students to learn to research on the web and not stop at what they are familiar with. I do let them use it for certain things.  I think that sometimes we are fooled into thinking that just because students spend a great deal of time on a computer they know how to use one.....many times this is not the case.  

I am a total immigrant. I am very uncomfortable with technology but I am getting better. I am afraid of making mistakes which is not really me normally. Normally I stay pretty calm.

When I have to work with technology.....I become extremely stressed. One of my goals is to get better at this. I am a pretty independent person and I don't like depending on people for help. Another important reason that I need to become less of an immigrant is for my students. My students do not have a great deal of experience with technology. I need to help them become more savvy as well. I think that becoming more technology literate will make me a more effective teacher.

My name is Mary Colannino. I am an 8th grade science teacher at Hugh B. Bain Middle School in Cranston. I am a science teacher but this year I am getting a new job. Cranston is piloting a new ELL format. I will be the content teacher for a sheltered ELL program in 7th and 8th grade. I am looking forward to this challenge.
I am also looking forward to the summer. We have a house in NH and I also spend a great deal of time at the beach in Narragansett. I now that the summer is going to go by too quickly.....