Friday, September 9, 2016

The Digital Native MYTH

There is a myth about kids and technology and it is called Digital Natives.

This myth says since students have been using digital devices since they were born, they know more about computers than parents and teachers.


This generation knows all about phones, apps and how to use snapchat. But they do not have BASIC technology and computer skills.

How can I make a blanket statement like this? EASY. I am living this world.

My personal children can create anything on an ipad or a phone. My seven year old has her own You Tube channel for the videos she makes.

But if you ask these "digital natives" to find a file outside of their "my documents" folder they flounder. Ask them to step it up and use a remote location like Google Drive or Dropbox, download it to a computer, edit the file, make a copy and rename the file and then load it back to original location you might as well be speaking a different language.

The cost of the touch technology is that today's students don't know how file directories work. They don't know the importance of a file name or location. If the file that they need isn't found when they touch the photo app icon, then they can't find it.

As a teacher who is desperately trying to get students to use technology in a purposeful way in my classroom, this is beyond frustrating.  With 150 students using Photoshop and working in the Google Classroom, I spend the majority of my day not teaching design skills or even advanced software specific skills, but simple skills like working a task bar, how to save to a specific location and even opening and sending emails!!

So what is my point to my rant?

Well, I think educators and parents have bought into the myth that we are out of touch and that we have to learn something new and fancy to be "cutting edge" and to "keep up!" This myth has caused considerable angst among teachers and has started lots of conversations about retiring because teachers feel overwhelmed by their perceived lack of digital knowledge.

The reality is very different. The reality is that students are distracted by the new and shiny and that being able to create a thousand funny pictures using snapchat is not a job skill!! We as educators and parents are challenged to ground our students and children in foundational skills, even when these skills seem outdated like addition, subtraction and "save as"!

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