The Networked Student video represents a project I'm doing with my high school students. It's going pretty well, but these kids are definitely starting from scratch. They have had a very traditional education with a lot of lecture and primarily passive learning. Contrary to popular notion, "digital native" does not mean innate ability to properly use all things digital, nor does it mean that students are necessarily ready to learn in a digital environment. I would love your feedback on the following.

Assuming your student have access to computers, could this work in your classroom?
What obstacles would you face?
Do you think students are ready to learn in this environment?
At what age could children begin to learn in this format?

Tags: connectedlearning, connectivism, networkedlearning

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Wendy, with your permission I would love to use your video with my 8th grade middle school students. I have been working hard to get them to see beyond their own nose (which is difficult given their age). Regardless, here are the problems that I have faced so far this year given the belief that they are "digital natives" (as an FYI, I teach at a school with a low socio-economic population):

- assuming they will read/comprehend all of what is presented to them
- assuming even when taught how, that they return to an original souce to find the answer if they are unsure
- being able to motivate them to put forth the effort to become an expert... they are so used to get things instanteously that they do not know how to put forth the effort to find the answers if it requires work
- encouraging/requiring/demaninding that they write using proper English... they see this as a is easier to use text dialogue to communicate... as a result their ability to communicate clearly becomes distorted

Are they ready:
- some are/some are not... it depends on the background of the parents and what previous teachers have done to lay a foundation

What age should we begin:
- 1st/2nd/3rd grade... this should be included as they begin to learn to read and write...
You have permission to use any way that is helpful to you. My kids were also used to having everything spoon-fed. That's the biggest obstacle I've faced so far. Great comments. Thanks so much.

While I knew I was not alone in this situation it it is always good to hear someone else has gone through/is going through this. What did you do or are you doing to help them get past this point?
I'm not sure teachers are ready to learn in this environment.

That's not a trivial issue. If you're not using it to support your own learning, then trying to teach somebody to do it is an exercise in "do as I say, not as I do."
I completely agree. I don't think you can teach personal networking unless you've experienced it yourself. Thank you for your comment.

I always do the project too. This helps me see glitches in the technology, in my directions and builds a community within my classroom.
Hi Madeline,
I am a technology specialist from India here in China. I just want to know if you send me the Invitation. Great site. Love to share Ideas.
Need Ideas for Publishing I am the Man.
Thanks Folks,
Gaurav Malik
I would be willing to bet - and please correct me if I´m wrong - that students coming from a traditional education are a more "networked" student than perhaps most might think. The trick is to compare and contrast how these students network now (with or without technology) and how they could network differently through current technologies. In order for students to use these technologies, they need to see the value of it, which may or may not be that obvious to them at first. Also, educators must not only keep current with technologies, but also be able to understand and present the benefits of using the different technologies given a particular teaching context. I´ve often found that I have to be selective in which technologies to use, based on the particular class I´m teaching and the overall classroom profile that I´m working with.

There are times that a discussion of technology is not even an issue. I taught a speaking a listening course to first-year pre-service English language teachers this semester and I set up a language exchange with a university in the States (I´m in Mexico). I discussed the objective of having a series of conversations with Spanish language learners and why we were doing this particular activity. Setting up the technology to make this happen (using Skype) was really not the point - it was just something the students had to learn in order to carry out the activity. Although the students could question why we had to talk to native speakers for the course, no one would question why we were using the technology to do the activity. In other words, if the students see the benefit of learning the objective, which in most cases has nothing to do with technology, they will accept the fact that technology is required to meet that objective. Any knowledge and skills obtained through the use of technology would continue to be used beyond the classroom only if learners see a need for continuing their learning on their own - another notion that teachers might promote but again having less to do with technology and more to do with the reasons for continuing one´s learning.

I guess what I´m trying to say is that I would be hesitant to present a video with all the current possible technologies that a student might learn and then try to fit them into a particular classroom setting. If the student has the ability to sort out these technologies on their own, they probably don´t need to see the video, or they have the capacity to figure most of it out themselves through searching the Internet. Instead, I would stick to setting clear, purposeful classroom objectives first and then use the appropriate technologies needed to achieve those objectives.
Last year I had my students create wikis about a particular sociological issue that they found interesting. (This was a 12th grade Sociology class) I was impresses with some and sorely disappointed with others. The main issue for me was that students were not comfortable working independently of me. (These were seniors in high school) They really ddi expect me to spoon feed them. Students kept asking, "Is this enough?" and "How many words?" They wanted to do the bare minimum. My idea was that this project would take on a life of its own and that students would explore a topic that they really cared about. I was disappointed with what I got.
As I prepare to hand out the project again, I am changing some things. One is that I going to give them a better idea regarding my philosophy. I am going to require a social bookmarking site and encourage them to use google scholars more. I would love to hear other ideas.



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