I've bounced some digital immigrant/native ideas around a few times. Now I have one more thing to add.

When I was young my sister had dolls that spoke. This was so amazing! You pulled a string in the doll's neck and as it recoiled the doll said, "Hi Ma-ma" or some other short phrase. Later the dolls would say a series of phrases, changing with each pull-of-the-string. Now my daughters have My e-Pets and Webkinz. Next comes this video:


It seems that the 'Immigrant/Native' argument is moot. I called the digital range in competency/capability of students a spectrum, not a dichotomy, (I think the correct word should have been continuum). The fact is students can't be lumped into general categories such as this. George Siemens summarizes this point better than I can, so read his post, and I'll move on to the point of this post.

There is an issue of 'digital exposure' that many (but not all) of today's kids have that simply wasn't available when we were young. Despite my new distaste for the 'digital native' catch phrase, I am back to liking my Batman/Borg quote:

"I come from the Batman era, adding items to my utility belt while students today are the Borg from Star Trek, assimilating technology into their lives."

My daughters interact with their toys in ways that I never could. Two year old Paige, in the video above, will expect her toys to interact with her, to provide her with choices that I never had. Does it not follow that she will expect the same interaction and engagement in school?

Basically this is about 'exposure to' and 'integration with' digital technology at a young age as opposed to 'adaptation to' digital technology later on in life.

When Paige is 9, she will have peers that instant meesage each other on their PDA's... they will be more likely to communicate online at a younger age... they will be more likely to connect to like-minded social groups digitally. They will be continually exposed to 'new technology' that they won't ever remember living without. (Technology and tools that we name, and they participate with.)

Meanwhile, I will continue promoting the value of integrating technology into the classroom to teachers who have "enough on their plate already". I will offer out some 'delicious' tools for their utility belts... while Paige plays with an iPhone and learns to connect to the world around her in ways many of us are now learning about... learning side-by-side with a two year old.

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[cross-posted with my Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts blog]

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