Recently, I heard Jamie McKenzie give a talk about Digital Nativism and the impact of technology on our students. Jamie is a published author, and probably best known for his book titled; ‘Just in Time Technology, Doing Better with Fewer‘. In his talk he spoke about the ‘delusions of our digital age’ and the importance of teaching our children to read in between the lines. Here is a wonderful example:
Critical literacy has taken on a whole new meaning for teachers. As advertisers look for new ways of persuading and marketing their products, teachers seem to be ever increasingly subject to tackling the side-effects of their methodologies. Marc Pensky first coined the term ‘Digital Natives’ in his book; ‘Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning‘, where he explains that the children born into the digital age have realities based on their perceived world,… their created world,… their technological world, and the partnerships between this reality and the technology we employ, is how we as teachers must engage our students.
The above advertisment brings about several ideas. The first being that we understand the importance of questioning everything we see, asking whether what we see is it reality or not. The second is the feeling/s we associate with a company portrayed as helping others – BUT are they helping others? Or are they helping themselves? What is the bottom line?….. In the end, is beauty still the focus of this commercial?
It is a very exciting time to be a professional in education. Shaping the nature of schooling in our reality today is not something that we can be complacent about, or even base our shaping on the previous idealisms of the 20th Century. Let’s really revolutionise our thinking, right from the development of learning environments to the technology and structures we employ. But at the same time let us be cautious and decerning about what we do. Jamie McKenzie says;
“…Schools can ill afford to squander scarce resources on frivolous, untested gimmicks and gizmos. We are emerging from a foolish experiment with just-in-case technology – loading up classrooms with equipment.
This decade will be remembered as a time of discernment – a period when teachers, parents and school leaders all demand smart buying, smart deployment and smart program development.”
When we get our children thinking about our world, and what is happening in it, we get creative responses even more powerful then the message that they intend.