Friday, March 28, 2008

Where are these digital natives?

Yesterday I gave a presentation to 3rd year University Education students. I gave the same presentation last year. I was amazed last year how little these students knew of ICT in Education or even in life. But I was sure it would be different this year. This year I would finally find these 'Digital Natives' everyone has been talking about. Surely they have finally come up through the ranks and I will be singing to the choir as it were.

These students must be 19 or 20 years old. And they had not heard of RSS, did not know the merits of delicious, did not blog, hadn't listened to a podcast or created a wiki. Second Life was a foreign concept and really, what on earth is Twitter? A few of them had used Skype and one asked if Bebo counted as blogging. I launched into my presentation of the wonders of Web 2 for education and was met by a wasteland of blank stares. (Really without understanding the concept of RSS everything else falls over!)

Where are these "Digital Natives" we keep hearing about? Is my particular education system not producing them? Or is the concept of these hyper-connected students just a figment of our imagination, a reality we can see as being possible but is not actually real?

I finished dazzling them with my brilliance (unappreciated I must say, either that or I was speaking a foreign language) and launched into a safer topic they would understand - how to use PowerPoint in interesting and innovative ways for education.

I was relieved though, when I got home, to find my own tween daughter and teenage sons engaged in more "native" like pursuits. One was working on his music network within Last FM; the other was perfecting his musical talents creating original music through music notation on GarageBand, watching and contributing guitar tutorials to Youtube; and the third was investigating the new virtual world of Panwapa. Maybe I still have a few years to wait until I will be standing in front of a University class of "Natives" ... This (so-called) "Immigrant" is restless.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Read about Ralph

I received a lovely email today from a teacher who was in my ICTPD Cluster for the last three years. She has set up her own blog for the class mascot and is very proud of her creation.

So head along to Read about Ralph and find out all the crazy adventures this mischievous cat gets on with his class of 5 and 6 year old Kiwi kids, and don't forget to drop them a comment.