Saturday, October 4, 2008

Who Teaches Digital Natives to...

Keeping Up with Digital Natives - Part VI
Who Teaches Digital Natives to...

This is the sixth installment of my series on digital natives and how we can meet their needs in the classroom.

We spend so much time in schools today trying teach kids, to impart knowledge. Today's digital natives can teach themselves in many situations. Their creativity and the way their brains are wired allows them to problem-solve better than their digital immigrant teachers in many situations.

Consider these points:

  • Who teaches a digital native to use MySpace? Facebook? Twitter? PhotoBucket?

  • Who teaches a digital native to use his iPhone straight out of the box?

  • Does a digital native ever read the instruction manual before he picks up the controller for XBOX 360, PS3, or Wii?

  • Who teaches a digital native to IM or text?

  • Who teaches a digital native to capture video with a phone and upload it to YouTube?

Digital natives, when interested in something, will spend whatever amount of time necessary to find solutions to problems and to map pathways to a desired end, to a finished product, to mastery of a skill. Digital natives will do the same in the classroom if the teacher can find a way to give them a problem to solve, a pathway to create, a process to learn. Give them tools and they'll figure it out, either on their own or collaboratively.


Jim Brown said...

I've started a wiki
see if you can join it.
I'm trying to get my students to work together to do some reviewing. I showed them the wiki on friday, but so far no one is working with it. I think I have it set up correctly.
I'm hoping these digital natives will take it and run with it.

Jim Brown said...

But to respond to your post, I guess they figure how how to make things work that they have an interest in. I guess it goes to the whole relivence issue of education. If people find something relevent then they persue it. If we can figure out how to get them to take an interest in schoolwork, they would figure that out on their own as well. I'm sure there are kids who would spend some of their free time researching math or literature or history, but I'm sure there are more kids trying to look up cheat code for video games. We'd be millionaires if we could figure out hoe to do it. Would playing Medal of Honor count for studying WWII? or Age of Empires? That would make history class a lot more fun. :)

Nathan Barber said...

Jim, you're absolutely right. Age of Empires or Medal of Honor would spice up a classroom lesson. How about any number of Sid Meier's games in the history classroom, too? For many kids, games like those with well-designed lessons to accompany the games would be an easy way to keep them engaged and to hook them on history. Talk about interactivity...