Students are Digital Learners – We Need to Change with Them


A post from the past for your enjoyment from the original Edutechation. I have placed updates in the post highlighted to show the progression I have had since I started writing this blog. Happy Holidays!

Will Richardson had an interesting topic for his blog the other day and it caught my eye as some of the idea’s that I’m trying to get started at my elementary school. The five topics that Will asks about are:

1. Wikipedia–as in teaching kids about the collaborative construction of knowledge.
2. Cell phones–as in teaching how to use them effectively as tools for “just in time learning.”
3. MySpace–as in teaching the safe and effective use of the Internet to build networks and publish content.
4. Martinlutherking.org–as in teaching the skills necessary for navigating a world where editing occurs post publication.
5. Google–as in teaching the skills to find the information we want.

What other “basics” would you add?

Source: Weblogg-ed » What’s in Your Curriculum?

Now lets take these 5 items as I see them in our school district. These are in no particular order other than what I considered most important when I read them.

First of all MySpace is blocked by the firewall websense filters as I believe it should be, but there is no reason to not teach Internet safety. I believe you can create a teaching situation that is behind the firewalls that you create a social networking site for the kids that teaches how to interact, publish and be safe at the same time. As I have grew these years I think that we should unblock these sites, but on a specific block of static IP addresses in certain classes on specific computers. What this does is allow a class to be taught about social media, but monitored by a teacher.

Secondly, I see Google as a great source of information. We have already used it to research a 5th grade project called Heritage Day. The students Googled their family names, got relative background and coat of arms, came up with some background from their parents and put it all together on poster boards for an evening program for their parents. Teaching about Google as a media, new library source is the way to give children the step up into technology that they need. Google has grown immensely in the past few years with Doc’s, gmail and cloud computing that it should not be ignored in the classroom setting.

Thirdly, I feel that cell phones have no place in the learning environment. With the latest technology kids have learned how to take pictures of answers, sent them to friends, text answers back and forth so well that it makes for too much of a temptation to cheat. “Just in Time Learning” is “Just in Time Temptation to Cheat”. While I still believe in the cheating part, with the invention of the iPhone and the advances in good use of smart phones I believe we need to start teaching this technology.

Fourth on this for me is Martinlutherking.org. This site rewrites history in an extremist view, and that this site even tries to influence our kids should be an example for us to teach that these views are the extreme minority of society. I can’t stress enough that after looking at this site any reasonable adult will see the hateful nature of the site and why we need to teach our kids why it is wrong to feel that way. Tolerance is very important is our society, this lesson can be learned from this extreme example, but should be taught with care.

Lastly, Wikipedia and wiki’s as a whole are going to be one of the greatest tools in learning that has come to the front in technology. Wiki’s can be used by a class to create a complete lesson on any topic with everyone contributing what they have found in the course of studying. Wiki’s and blogs are where teaching can make great strides in a very short period of time. Wiki’s are a great use or repository of knowledge if they are used responsibly and are edited for fact. They need to be taught because they are great sources of material from everyone working together to add knowledge to the whole.

I believe that as technology changes and times change we all need to reevaluate our positions on things. I have, and found that I needed to move forward with the technology.

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