Thursday, December 16, 2010

Digital natives are taking over my classroom!

My students, all 25 of them this year- active and loud, quiet and mild, boys and girls... LOVE technology. They are truly "digital natives." They do not shy away from new experiences- in fact they beg to be the first to try! When I run into a problem- and there is almost always going to be a problem with something when you have 25 bodies watching and waiting on you- they are often the ones to help ME figure out the problem.

My husband is the "computer guy" for our district. I was on the internet back when it first started up... and I am not THAT old, but it makes me feel ancient. So much is changing in our fast paced digital world that even a self-professed tech lover like me married to a techie feels lost facing new technology. Recently I was faced with using an iPad for the first time. I clearly recall the uncertainty and feeling of stupidity I felt not knowing how to work the thing. I couldn't figure out how to close the "apps." I know you might feel the same way when facing newfangled technology- so I hope this blog can be a little help to you. And I hope you'll share your experiences with me.

My reward for being the most tech-savy (or most gullible) teacher in our elementary building is that I often request and get new technology first. Our tech goals included starting to use interactive whiteboards... which of course arrived just days before school started. So I jumped in using it the first days of school and had lots of "uh- what do I do now?" moments. One day when it just WOULDN'T work and I really, really, really needed it to- my students began to threaten revolt- a 5 year old said to me- "I think it's unplugged Mrs. H."

Teaching with Technology Rule Number 1. ALWAYS check the power cords first.

Computer Tech's- even when they have to come because they are married to you- DO NOT like being rushed down to "fix" a problem that involves an unplugged cord. And, don't forget- cords usually hook up to the wall & the machine. Check both before you call for help!

Why are today's children "technology natives?" You and I (assuming you are in your 20's at least!) grew up along with the current technology. Today's kids are born into a technological world. For adults, computerese is like a second language- for the little munchkins I teach- it is natural and normal.

So, in my classroom I capture the minds of my little ones through any means possible- and increasingly, through the use of technology. Some teachers resist technology, saying "They need a break from being "entertained" and that the old instructional methods work just fine."

Consider- a few decades ago microwaves were new technology. Is there a house without one on your block? Would you not use your microwave because it doesn't cook the way people did for generations?

A hundred years ago, cars were new. Unless you have an Amish community nearby I doubt you know anyone who doesn't use a vehicle of some type to get around.

I am committed to staying current to meet the needs of my learners. Are you?

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