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Classroom Technology

Teacher: Stop Saying ‘Digital Natives’

By Anthony Rebora — January 22, 2013 1 min read
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Teacher Bill Ferriter argues that the use of the terms “digital natives” (for students) and “digital immigrants” (for most teachers) has “done more harm than good” in education. That generational breakdown, he says, has essentially relegated teachers to the backseat when it comes to harnessing the potential of technology for learning:

We've inadvertently handed over all ownership and discredited our expertise, y'all—assuming that spending our formative years with notepads instead of iPads means we've got nothing to add to conversations with our students about how technology empowers learners.
And worse yet, we hang our students out to dry every time that we make blanket assumptions about their ability to grow without us simply because they don't need owner's manuals to figure out how to use the new gadgets flooding the marketplace every year.

Echoing the observations of other tech-savvy educators, Ferriter says that, in fact, while young people may be proficient in entertainment-oriented online activities, most of them need a great deal of adult guidance and expertise to leverage technology for more constructive and creative purposes.

A case in point: On the Powerful Learning Practice blog, teacher Lisa Noble has a post on her efforts to get her middle school students to understand the potential dangers of digitally sharing personal photos and videos, even as she encourages them to snap pictures of their classroom work.

HT: Middleweb.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.