Digital Natives are mainly Generation Y or those born from the 1990s-2010s. These children have grown up with constant exposure to technologies; using and learning about new technology and have become confident and competent at a very young age. They think and process information faster and in a different way in compared to other generations.
The generation of social networking and Facebook has led to young people becoming more technology savvy and occasionally having a greater knowledge and understanding than adults/teachers due to the constant interaction and hands-on experience. E.g. 1991- children born in this year have learnt about technology as it was introduced at a young age and they have grown up watching as it advances every few years, keeping constantly up-to-date with the abilities and new things technology will allow the to do.
Digital Immigrants on the other hand consists of people that were born in the “Baby Boomers” generation, around the year 1950s. This generation were born in a generation where technology had not yet been invented and grew up with a traditional approach to teaching and learning. As the years passed and technology advanced, this generation had to learn about what technology would now allow them to do, which is very complicated and thus they have little understanding. Learning about all these new concepts would be like learning a completely new language for people in this generation which is why they are known as digital immigrants.
The debate presents to completely different sides of the spectrum in relation to the use of technology and its use in the classroom. It expresses that teachers need to recognise that the students of today have different learning needs in comparison to students’ years ago.
Students today process information faster and differently in comparison to other generations resulting in the best way to help them learn is through the use of ICT and IWB. This technology is a very fun and interactive way of learning for the children and will have a dramatic impact on their academic achievement.
Digital Immigrants are very opposed to the change, assuming the student’s needs have not changed over the years and are reluctant to learn new things themselves. Unfortunately, digital immigrants that are so set in their ways and refuse to leave their comfort zone can have a negative impact on the learning of students in schools. By unintentionally revealing this attitude of refusing to acquire new skills can set a bad example for students in relation to school work and learning. By thinking that learning isn’t and shouldn’t be fun for students becomes a hindrance to their learning as they are only exposed to learning experiences that that find boring and un-motivating.
For students to learn in a more successful way, teachers that are realistically mostly digital immigrants, need to embrace the new technology and develop new ways of teaching using ICT.
Over the years as technology has developed at such a rapid speed, there are now new ways available for teachers to teach their students. ICT is “the generation and application of knowledge and processes to develop devices, methods and systems [for teaching and learning]” (National Teachers Standards).
The use of ICT within classrooms has been heavily debated in recent years. As explained in (Kent, 2008) the arguments for the use of ICT in classrooms is that it provides students with more opportunities to connect with the subject matter and do so in a way that they enjoy. However, arguments against ICT technology, in particular IWB, is that it takes the focus away from teaching and learning as two joint concepts by focussing on technology and therefore resulting in the concept of teaching no longer existing.
Despite the on-going debate, this technology (IWB) has been introduced and used in classrooms creating a different learning experience for the students and challenging the teachers knowledge and ability to teach using different technologies and methods.
In my own personal opinion, the use of IWB and other technology should be used for teaching and learning within classrooms. The technology was made and provided for the purpose of helping students learn and further their knowledge of certain topics. To use it would be a waste and foolish decision.
The jobs of teachers in schools are to teach the students by catering to their learning styles and provide opportunities/experiences for them that are both memorable and productive. Teachers should therefore make use of this resource because it can cater to all three of the main learning styles (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) and increase participation within the classroom because students will no doubt be interested in using the technology.
Teachers need to put aside their hesitation to learn about and teach using IWB because it will ultimately be a huge benefit to the students and their education with is/should be the teacher’s goal in the first place.
I believe that the hesitation is due to the fact that teacher feel they are no longer needed as much as previously because ICT has made learning an independent and interactive activity with less need for direction and guidance from a teacher. It can also be due to the fact that some teachers will need to learn how to use the technology to teach using it, which can be a daunting task especially for those that are Digital Immigrants. (See Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants Blog Entry).
Videos are another great way of enhancing students knowledge and understanding. Children today are used to televisions and therefore enjoy watching videos because it is something they are familiar with and have experienced before.
Videos can be of special importance and help to visual and auditory learners. Auditory learners learn through hearing information e.g. through audio tapes, songs, discussions, group work etc. Visual learners learn similarly through watching videos, images, diagrams etc…
Visual and Auditory learners would both benefit from the use of educational videos in the classroom because it holds elements conducive to their learning. Visual learners can watch and see the information brought to life and auditory learners can listen to the explanation and information given in the video.
Here is an example of an educational video on Interactive Whiteboards taken from YouTube.com…
Videos can be used to communicate an important piece of information to the students in the most simple way possible also allowing for them to remember it more clearly because it provides both images and sound. It is a good tool to used in many ways for example, basing an activity or questions around the information provided by the video. This would be a good way to get the students thinking and applying the knowledge they have just received.
Videos in particular. can be a great way in encouraging the development of the students creativity. It shows the students the different ways in which to learn things and present knowledge rather than the traditional way of reciting or writing it. It shows the students new ways to do things, sparking their interest and developing their creative abilities in certain areas.
This is a mindmap highlighting the differences between a Digital Native and a Digital Immigrant.
Graphic organisers would benefit visual learners that learn best through looking and images, diagrams, graphs pictures etc…
Graphic organizers in particular encourage students to be creative as they make their own and design it in a way that will best present the knowledge and information they have. It will assist them in identifying and remembering the important information or key concepts of a subject or topic and develop their ability to decipher between relevant and irrelevant information.