In the Marc Prensky article, I can almost see him jumping up and down, madly waving his hands in time with the expediential speed of the growth of information shouting, “Yesterday! These things: individual computers in the hands of individual students, new curricula, new organization, new architecture, new teaching, new student assessments, new parental connections, new administration procedures—should have all happened YESTERDAY. The ‘digital natives’ are at the gate.” While the data banks of information continue to grow, those of us in education must “move forward the only way possible by combining what we know about technology with what we know and require about education.”
Mr. Prensky demands a great deal of change. There are a lot of ideas about the best way to bring about change. In my limited experience, change brought about from the bottom up is the most effective and enduring. Where is the bottom in education? We’re looking at it, kid. If you think about it, the “digital immigrants” are in charge, and, to some extent, in control of the “digital natives.” How long can this last?
“Living and Learning with New Media: Conclusions and Implications”
The most important point I took from this article was one that made me a little uncomfortable: we want our students to trust us, yet we don’t always show trust in them. This is their territory. This is where they are growing up—“digital natives.”
This article speaks of “a cultural shift and a certain openness to experimentation and social exploration that is generally not characteristic of educational institutions.” What better way to protect students from any dangers lurking in the waves of technology and easy access to the World Wide Web than to include them in the planning? By letting them know that we trust them and value their ideas and allowing them to take on more grown-up roles, they can teach us about what they are ready to do and learn.