Digital immigrants, unite!

Students are supposed to be “digital natives,” while teachers over the age of 35 are “digital immigrants.” That implies teachers’ expertise is obsolete. That’s just not so, writes Bill Ferriter, a sixth-grade English teacher, on The Tempered Radical.

Sure, today’s kids CAN play video games and surf YouTube videos and send text messages and check their Facebook profiles without any help.

And YES, they have Pinterest pages long before their parents figure out that Pinterest isn’t some clever marketing campaign for newfangled online savings accounts.

They ARE successfully liking and poking and friending their way through life without our help.

But is that REALLY something to celebrate?

Aren’t those entertainment-fueled behaviors nothing more than concrete evidence of a troubling disconnect between what kids CAN do and ARE doing with technology?

Ferriter’s digital friend, Brad Ovenell-Carter, asked high school students in Vancouver what they’d do with two hours in a tech-loaded room and no assignments to tackle.

While some of Brad’s kids planned to spend their time making videos for the greater good or creating digital art, most figured that Instagramming it, editing themselves into Justin Beiber’s videos or printing 3D images of Harry Styles to take home would be more fun.

He asked if they agreed there’s “a gap between what you CAN and ARE doing.”

One student responded: “Maybe there is a gap, but perhaps only because we don’t exactly know what is all possible.”

Another said: “I would try and change the world… but I’m not sure how yet.”

Teachers can build start “a bridge between what THEY know about technology and what YOU know about efficient and effective learning,” Ferriter concludes.