For this blog entry in Edtech 597 I need to shift away from the photoblog theme and back into the edtech world and respond to a prompt located on the instructors blog: As educational technologists, what did you take away from these generational differences readings? How would you handle a colleague who bought into the notion of digital natives?
I addressed this topic in week two of this course stating that I did agree that the concept of separating people into digital natives and digital immigrants based on when they were born made sense. I still believe in this notion with some caveats. To date there is no research supporting the claim that students brains are rewired because of their exposure to digital technology but it has been my experience that meeting students on their “home playing field” can increase engagement, relevance and subsequently motivation and impact. It has also been my experience that taking a digital or technology based approach is no guarantee for success. Students will quickly loose interest when they see that there is no sound educational or pedagogical advantage to the chosen technological strategy.
I do not buy into the notion that students are better multi-taskers just because that is what they tend to do. Again, from my experience as a Language Arts teacher I have seen a general shift away from fluid, focused multi-paragraph writing to choppy, disjointed compositions due, in my opinion, to the constant distractions students suffer when trying to multitask during the completion of the assignment. After each interruption of thought, students are forced to try and refocus, resulting in a lack of flow.
To me the real appeal of the Prensky article, and others like it, is the discussion they generate. Some contentions are not fact, however they do stimulate thought and for those of us who do firmly believe in the value of technology integration into curriculum and as a warning to colleagues new to technology, it is a reminder that in order for technology to be truly beneficial in the classroom, it must be implemented using sound pedagogical reasoning.