I am aware there has been a great discussion on this topic. It is called "Are They Really Digital Natives?? But no one has visited/responded in nearly a year. I would love some more recent discussion on the topic. Yes, I am writing an article and looking for quotes, and will hope to garner some plus permission to use. But I am also really concerned about this. Too often, I fear, some educators assume kids know a lot more than is the case about technology and the Internet. They assume kids don't need too much instruction or direction because as "digital natives" they already know all that they need to know. I think this opinion is likely to be held by adults who really need to learn more about the technologies for themselves. I think the comments in the other discussion of this topic are still true as 2009 winds down and we look towards 2010. Kids know how to text, have love affairs with their phones, are adept at social media, and are often gadget freaks. But do they know how to search? How to evaluate websites? How to use applications that are directed toward learning and productivity as well as those popular for social networking. I think I will post a survey about this via SurveyMonkey but right now am being so bold is to reintroduce the topic here. I should add that while I have been a Classroom 2.0 member for a long time, I have not ever posted a discussion before. I have been more of a drop in/drop out member. This is due to heavy demands on my time that keep me doing things I MUST do and wishing for more times for environments like this. So I am boldly going where I have not gone before and hoping some of you will be interested in reviving this topic. Thanks in advance,
Dr. Mary Ann Bell (aka mabell)
Acting Chair Department of Library Science
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX

Tags: Internet, digital_natives, kids, technology

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It has been my experience that students know about technology but really need guidance on how to effectively use it. I have seen elementary students that are great about getting to their favorite game site but can't insert clip are or type on a keyboard. We as educators sometimes assume that because students are quick to pick up new programs and seem to easily understand things that took us awhile that somehow they know what they are doing. Quite often they really don't know. Just because they are "Digital Natives" does not mean they were born with some special abilities to understand computers. When I was growing up I wanted to drive a car. I had to learn how even though I was exposed to cars every day, rode in cars, and grew up seeing them all around me. The same is true for kids today. I teach 3rd and 4th graders about using databases vs. search engines and they are amazed that there is something out there other than Google to find information. But I tell them it's not enough to just find information, you need to evalute it as well. I demonstrate bogus websites and the kids are amazed at how real they look...even though the information is obviously false. Gradually we teach them to evaluate what they hear and read. Students today are being brought up with the line between reality and fantasy being blurred constantly. Pictures, video, words can all be manipluted electronically. The students today want to use technology and they need to use technology, but more importantly it is up to us to teach them the implications of using technology. My wife and I did a video about some of her students and their desire to use technology in a resposible and meaningful way. You can see it at:
I did a research paper on this and it did not hold. The Digital Native and Digital Immigrant research was not always supported. Yet now we have a participatory culture due to Web 2.0 and social software. Knew research needs to address this participatory culture and the different digital divide that may be developing.

Very important in the research, they need to be taught how to evaluate sources. We all need this now.

Here were my references: Furthermore Prensky is a must but lacking scientific support. Beck and Wade and Beck and Carston are interesting.

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Beck , J., & Wade, M. (2004). Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Buckingham, D. (2007). The impact of the media on children and young people with a particular focus on computer games and the internet: Prepared for the Byron Review on Children and New Technology. Retrieved November 12, 2008 from the Institute of Education, University of London. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview/pdfs/Buckingham%20Impact%20of%20...

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Conole, G., de Laat, M., Dillon, T., & Darby, J. (2008). "Disruptive Technologies", "Pedagogical Innovation": What's new? Findings from an in-depth study of students' use and perception of technology. Computers & Education, 50(2), 511-524. Retrieved November 15, 2008 from ERIC database.

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Dobbins, K. W. (2005). getting ready for the net generation learner. EDUCAUSE Review, 40(5), 8-9. Retrieved November 12, 2008 from ERIC database.

Dunlap, C., & Ramsay, P. (2005). National Education Summit--Connecting for hange. T.H.E. Journal, 33(5), 36-41. Retrieved November 12, 2008 from ERIC database.

Foehr, U. G. (2006). Media multitasking among American youth: Prevalence, predictors and pairings. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/7592.cfm

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Garrison, R. D. and Archer, W. A theory of community of inquiry. In Moore, M. G. (2007). Handbook of Distance Education. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

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Hartman, J. L., Dziuban, C., & Brophy-Ellison, J. (2007). Faculty 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 42(5), 62-64. Retrieved November 8, 2008 from ERIC database.

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National Educational Technology Standards (NETS•T)
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I think you pretty much summed up everything on my brain Doug. We have a lot of debate at our elementary school about teaching technology skills, when and where and which ones and who should do it...but the one thing I am always trying to get across to my fellow classroom teachers is that you HAVE to teach them to evaluate sources. We do it with books all the time. In fact we spend A LOT of time teaching students how to select books they can read and which ones will be good sources, the same needs to go for internet sites. I show my class the Save the Tree Octopus site every year, and every year over 90% of them fall for it.
Thank you, Dr. Bell, for sharing your thoughts regarding 'digital natives' and the observations about how our young people are using technology as a social tool.

As an elementary school technology teacher in Houston ISD, we have the advantage of a vertical and horizontal technology applications curriculum that our coordinators have (and continue) to construct. As a framework for this curriculum, we subscribe to Learning.com, also known as Easy Tech software, which has been adopted as the State of Texas 'text book' for technology apps. While modules or units of learning can be selected independently, the suggested units introduce search strategies as early as fourth grade, along with PowerPoint and spreadsheets. Where I run into difficulty is with limited English proficiency (LEP) students who have difficulty even understanding the basics of conversation. Easy Tech modules are also available in Spanish, so this does help to solve that problem. The tangent problem is this: the student then begins to seek information on search engines that are not bilingual, or has no computer available other than at school. Frustration sets in, and the tendency is to ignore the task as too difficult to continue.
It is not surprising that HISD students who took the 8th grade technology literacy test this past year scored low. However, their other core subjects (reading, math, science) improved.

8th Grade Technology Literacy Requirements
The primary goal of the Ed-Tech program is to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in schools. It is also designed to assist students in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the end of eighth grade, and to encourage the effective integration of technology with teacher training and curriculum development to establish successful research-based instructional methods. …from No Child Left Behind ESEA Act. http://www.ed.gov/programs/edtech/index.html

From my standpoint, I intend to keep working on educating children in areas that will help them lead a productive life using technology, and yes, pass the 8th grade tech. proficiency exam!
Thanks to everyone for your generous time and thought in respoding, and on a holiday weekend at that. What you are saying bears out my beliefs and experience. It really helps to see these borne out by others. I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day!
I moved over from teaching music to teaching IT five years ago. When I arrived at this school they were using floppies...no servers, no place for remote doc access, etc. (Kdg to 8th graders). And a faculty that has trouble finding a mouse. No curriculum. I spent countless hours researching IT curriculae. And I was shocked at how the standards for IT seem to all be project oriented integration rather than pure computer skills. 45 minutes per week for computer learning only...that is 27 hours per year...which is really 18 hours if you remove 10 minutes per week to drill typing/keyboarding skills. I am in a real battle royal with admins who just don't get it...this is not about making projects...this class is about learning how to manipulate the machine/software. What do our kids really know? Far too often they know how to use WORD and maybe a bit of PowerPoint and nothing about HTML, global Windows skills, etc. What do they do when the move from Office 2003 to 07??? And just wait till OFFICE 10 arrives. They need skills in learning to self-instruct as the IT moves forward in their lives. The classroom teacher is supposed to be teaching them how to use these tools for projects. But sadly far too many older teachers are clueless and it all falls to the IT teacher. The kids are at serious risk.
Technology should not be taught in a vacuum. It should be a component of what the teacher does every day in their lessons. You are correct when you say that too many teachers are clueless, but I think it's because in their minds they separate "lesson time" from "technology (computer) time." Teachers need to look at the tools available to them and integrate those into the lessons they are teaching. Integration of technology make it almost invisible and becomes as natural to students as using pencils to write. When we try to somehow differentiate between the lessons and the technology I think the lessons suffer. Students need the basics in IT and I think that is where an IT instructor would be very helpful. But until teachers step up and use those tools every day I think the students will not progress. At our school we try to integrate technology, not in every classroom, not on every grade level yet...but the teachers that aren't doing it see the other classrooms enjoying learning and becoming proficient. Ultimately every campus needs a few leaders and the Principal to show the way.



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