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"Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants"

DIFFERENT THAN BEFORE? SAME AS IT'S ALWAYS BEEN?

TECHNOLOGY AND THE INTERGENERATIONAL EXPERIENCE

This week we opened our class by looking at Marc Prensky's metaphor of "digital natives" and "digital immigrants." Prensky argues that young people today are fundamentally different than they were ten, twenty, fifty, of five hundred years ago. But is this true?

Take some time to reflect on the students in your classroom currently. To what extent have digital technologies influenced them to the point that they are different than when you were in school? To what extent are your students the same as when you were their age? Do you agree with Prensky? Disagree? How? Why?

Please explain yourself fluently and insightfully in 700-1,000 words, and pepper your comments with some quotes taken from the articles handed out in class.

This blogsite posting will come due at the beginning of our next class meeting on February 11th, 2009.

Comments

Teachers of Digital Natives

I agree with Marc Prensky. Teachers of digital natives have been facing the challenge of developing content standard based curriculum that is appealing-worth paying attention to. It was only a matter of time that teachers of the digital natives would have to realize that the way the content is presented needs to change. Like Marc Prensky stated in his article, it is to no surprise that in the digital native’s point of view education is made not worth paying attention to and then their teacher’s blame them for not paying attention. As teachers of the digital natives we need to be accepting of the way our students learn, and fuse the instant gratification of the 21st century into our content in such a way that it does not take away from the mastery of standards.
Sadly there are some teachers who are not accepting of the digital native’s needs in order to improve their learning and simply refuse to become digital immigrants. I consider my self a digital immigrant who recognizes that the instructional presentation of lessons needs the appeal of the 21st century rather than the traditional. Like Prensky stated in his article there are professors that have already started creating appealing lessons and although it took them twice as long to create it was only with time that creating them was not as time consuming. Currently that is where I find my self. Although I am not recreating the wheel of curriculum it is time consuming to create appealing lessons, but in the end it is very well worth it. My students enjoyed the custom animation of the powerpoint presentation on how to solve a system of equations using the addition method.
What was surprising to me when I presented the lesson via powerpoint was how some of my students thought that the powerpoint was something I was able to quickly create. I let them know that it took me two hours to create the presentation that only took twenty minutes to explain. To me it means my students lack the interaction with technology in an educational way. Therefore, it is up to me not to only incorporate technology into the style of presentation of lessons but expanding it to projects for my students to do. For example, I could have them research mathematicians and create a small video clip on their contributions (i.e. conjectures, theorems, inventions…). How exactly all of this will pan out with the alignment of the standards students must master? That is the challenge that I face, which is why I decided to be apart of a master’s program that involved technology and learning. Those teachers who refuse to become digital immigrants will have to face the music sooner or later if they care about improving upon the learning of their students.
Let’s face it students of today are not the same. They think differently and expect instant gratification. Sure growing up I thought about one day having a cell phone in my pocket, having a computer at home, and having a car. Now days students expect their parents to provide them with a cell phone and computer at home along with all the hottest video games. Not to mention having a device that allows them to play any one of their favorite 1000 songs at the push of a button. Students want everything quick and want to skip the logical process, in other words they do not want to think for themselves. As Prensky pointed out in his article, the difference between a digital immigrant and a digital native is that a digital immigrant will read the instructions of their new software as opposed to the digital native who will assume the program will tell them how to work the new software. It is exactly that kind of state of mind in which students today are functioning in-- expecting their teachers to cut the chase.
As teachers of the digital natives we have to create lessons that are appealing and would make them think that they are simply playing a game but in fact they are thinking for themselves. The traditional way of teaching does not have to go away we just have to find a way to give the traditional way of teaching a face-lift.

According to Marc Prensky’s article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”, students of today’s classrooms are completely different from past generations. With the advancement of technology in all aspects of society, all students from kindergarten through college, have grown up in a “tech” world. If this is true, Mr. Prensky believes that teachers need to acquieste to the changing needs of their students. Teachers need to refine and adjust to the advanced way students’ minds think and process information due to the constant exposure to everything from computers, to ipods, to cell phones. Learning has indeed changed - welcome to the 21st century of teaching.
At first glance of a classroom of third graders, the environment is the same of times past. The classroom consists of neatly arranged desks, bookcases of organized books catorgorized by genre, and pencils and textbooks at everydesk. The classroom lacks technology with the exception of five computers, and an “Elmo” overhead projector. However, the eager eight and nine year olds patiently wait for their chance to practice their spelling words on the computers with the “Spellingcity.com” program that awaits them. Prior to the fun and interesting way to study and learn their spelling words on line, the students dreaded centers because they were bored with the magnetic letters and white boards. The introduction of the on-line spelling practice has improved the overall spelling level of the classroom.
The “Digital Natives” that Mr. Prensky calls today’s students have been exposed to a different learning environment. I see it in my own children. They can type faster than they can write. They have never lived in a time when they were not able to call a friend from any where in the world from their own cell phone. They cannot believe that I did not have a computer in high school, nor did I have access to information other than going to a library. The idea of a typewriter completely baffles their minds. They have grown up with an e-mail address and access to the internet to research any topic they have. I remember like it was yesterday that my seven year old at the time (he is now seventeen) announced “www.mom’s stomach is getting bigger.com” when I started showing my pregnancy with his little brother.
Although students have been exposed to the flashy computer world, not all students have access to them on a daily basis. Students have changed, but many homes have not. When asked to look up something at home on the internet, many students bring in notes from home from parents - some in English, some in Spanish explaining that they could not complete the assignment because they do not have a computer. That is not to say that these same students do not have video game players and hand held devices. Most do. It is true, and I know for a fact, that many young children have the capcity to learn and memorize all 150 Pokemon characters because of the exposure to television and video games. But, when asked to memorize all fifty states, they cannot do it. Imagine however if all of the students had a video game where they were exposed and tested on the states and it was a fun and exciting game. I have no doubt that they would be able to learn them all with no problem. I know that this is a possiblitity and I am willing to go the extra mile to try and provide this access.
In Mr. Prensky’s article, he makes references to educators and teachers being “Digital Immigrants.” He even makes the statement “Digital Immigrants think learning can’t (or shouldn’t) be fun.” I take offense to this statement and I feel that most educators, given the opportunity and resources, can provide a stimulating, enjoyable, and entertaining learning environment. There are still the dinosaur teachers that have been in the classroom far too long that would probably disagree with that statement. Like Mr. Presnsky’s reference to some “Digital Immigrants” response to advanced technology “this approach is great for facts, but it wouldn’t work for ‘my subject’” those are the teachers that definitely grew up without any exposure to technology and to start using technolgy in their classrooms would mean extra time, work, and effort. Exactly everything they have been trying to avoid.
Times have changed. Students have changed. It is time that educators and teachers change. When the education world realizes that given the opportunity, students can acheive any thing they desire, because they have been raised to a new level of learning, we will notice that the world is changing and we cannot sit back and let ourselves not be included on guilding the journey.

According to Marc Prensky, in his article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”, “Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” I do have to agree with Mr. Prensky that today’s students have changed from those of the past, but don’t all generations change from their predecessors? It is our job as educators to assess technology resources, plan classroom activities using available technologies, and match these technologies to our learning objectives, goals, and outcomes.
Mr. Prensky states that students today “are all ‘native speakers’ of the digital language of computers, video games, and the Internet”, or “Digital Natives”, and the rest of us are “Digital Immigrants”. I don’t think that the situation is quite that black and white. For one thing, not all students are speaking the same “native” language. There is still a large discrepancy between the families that “have” and the families that “have not”. There are also many families who do not fall into the norm for the amount of time spent in front of television, video games and computers. These factors make for variances in the student population, much as there has always been. There is also a wide range of technological experiences levels within the teaching ranks. Many of the new teachers were brought up with similar technologies to today’s students, albeit with less advanced technology. Mr. Prensky’s analysis seems to be far more black and white while the world seems much more colorful.
Mr. Prensky seems to portray the changes in students of today as a product of their technological nativity, and even suggested that their brains have or are changing from the use of the technologies in their homes. While the research used in this article did seem to suggest brain changes, it seems too early in the process to be conclusive. Even if the research is correct, there are still many other factors that contribute to the changes in today’s students. Prensky’s conversation itself seems to suggest some of those changes. “Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to… They prefer… They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work.” Doesn’t this suggest that there has been some cultural shift that is allowing our students to be satisfied with their desire for immediate satisfaction, as opposed to the more traditional view of earning your reward? I believe that in fact, this is one of the problems that face our fine nation as a whole. Just one or two generations ago the nuclear family was the norm. One parent was typically at home with the children, while the other parent worked. This model is a difficult one to achieve in today’s market economy. While not all of the changes that have occurred because of this shift are negative, it has affected the family unit, the cohesion of the family, and the influence of the family on the child. The affect of less time spent with parents may be one factor in a child’s detachment from the work ethic and motivation that yesterday’s students brought into the classroom. Social factors like these have change the cultural landscape and may be just as large a factor in the changes of today’s students as the technology that those students are being raised with.
That said, there is no doubt that today’s students have a natural grasp on technology that most of us have to work very hard to come close to achieving. There is also no doubt that the current technologies in the market today offer so many new opportunities to reach students and connect with information. There is a real need for the classrooms of today to be equipped with those technologies and to use them to expand on and supplement curriculum and instruction. While there is some resistance out there (change is often resisted), there may be more of a financial hurdle to embracing and offering the latest technology than the desire to use it in the classroom. The discrepancies found across the educational landscape because of budgetary constraints may slow the progress and change more than the resistance to change, itself.
Mr. Prensky has many ideas that seem reasonable and worthy of use in the classroom, but I don’t believe that the entire system itself must be reinvented. In some ways we could be well served by remembering the expectations that students faced, and the responsibility for their part in their education from years gone by. At the same time, teachers of today should strive to use all available resources to help educate their students. Technology has much to offer, and it will require changes to some of the teaching methods and ideas that have been the model for many years, but the technology itself will not and should not be expected to educate the students. It is a tool that should be used by teachers as one means of assisting students and teachers with the goal of educating students that make contributions to their families, communities and our world.


Marc Prensky claims that “today’s students have changed radically” not only in how they learn, but in how their brains have physically changed due to technological advances and their abundant use of it in our society. And that the disparity between those who teach (Digital Immigrants) and the “new” types of learners (Digital Natives) is becoming too great and contributing to the “decline of education in the United States.” Although I agree with Prensky that “students are used to the instantaneity of hypertext, downloaded music, phones in their pockets, a library in their laptops,” I disagree (at the risk of sounding like a Digital Immigrant) that our students are fundamentally different than their predecessors. Every day in my classroom I see the difference between boys and girls, between native English speakers and ELL learners, the different approaches to learning, and the difference between those that have computers at home and those that do not, including a myriad of others. Some of these differences will never change, no matter how advanced or how prevalent technology becomes in our society.
Prensky states that his preference for teaching Digital Natives “is to invent computer games to do the job, even for the most serious content. After all, it’s an idiom with which most of them are totally familiar.” Being a Digital Immigrant, with Digital Native sons and students, it has been my experience that boys are usually more attracted to video games and technology in general. I have yet, however, to encounter a single girl who gushes over the Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo. Give computer work as a choice in my classroom and invariably you will see boys (5:1) rushing to get to them. On the other hand, girls can be found with their Blackberries or cell phones in hand, constantly communicating, and expressing themselves through text messages. Furthermore, take a look at My Space or Facebook. Again there is a great discrepancy between the amount of females and males who own a site. My point is this: both genders are using and learning from technology more than ever before. The difference lies in how they’re using this technology. So…. do we treat them all equally and only teach content in video game form, as Prensky suggests? Wouldn’t this type of teaching only target one segment of our student population?
I do agree that technology is here to stay and that it should be, and will be a major factor in future pedagogy. It is an extremely important and valuable tool to use in the classroom in order to meet the needs of certain learners, but I don’t think it should be the dominant or only way to learn. There are certain body language cues and voice nuances that are lost in using technology. You cannot express these solely by the written word on a text message, an image, or a video game. It worries me that we are becoming a society that only gives and receives feedback through a machine. We need to give careful thought in how, how often, and with whom we use technology. Consider this, more and more often we are hearing of children who are socially inept. I see them on a daily basis in my own classroom. Yes, give students content lessons in a way that eases learning for them, but mix it up and expose them to other types of learning, too. Give them a chance to develop those weaker areas of the brain, lest they cannot tolerate, identify or even communicate with people who have different learning styles or abilities. My fear is that we’ll be producing kids with great technological skills, but not the social skills needed to be more balanced people.
Prensky’s comment that “our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speak an entirely new language,” is unfair to those of us that see the value of technology in education, but are faced with other learning dilemmas, language barriers, socio-economic issues, and budget constraints. His enthusiasm in finding the “solution” to our failure in educating our students reminds me of all the other “perfect, quick fixes” we have tried in the past, but never fully implemented or followed through to the end. Furthermore, the digital “natives” he refers to in his research are not the children in my classroom. My students barely have access to books, let alone computers. His solution, in my opinion, will work wonderfully in the more affluent areas of our nation where one, two and even three computers are prevalent in homes, and where, more importantly children embrace and are allowed excessive computer time. And this leads to the same old argument that the more affluent sections of our society will benefit from this research and delivery of instruction than those who are not, simply because the economically disadvantaged students will not have access to this technology. We have to be careful and balance it so that we are still delivering education in a way that can be accessible to all.
Having said that, being in a Masters Digital Learning class does not escape me, most of us in this class believe strongly that technology is a valuable and viable tool to enhance student learning. However, the problem is not that we disagree that technology will change the way we teach and learn in the future. Rather it is the challenge of how we will bridge the gap, not only, between Digital Immigrants and Natives, but also the gap between students who have access to technology and those who do not.

In his article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” Marc Prensky concludes that students today are radically different from students of the past. He attributes this difference to the fact that learners today are digital natives; they haven’t known a day without computers, cell phones, video games, and MP3 players. Naturally, such access to technology has influenced the way this generation functions. As Prensky accurately states, “…the brain changes and organizes itself differently based on the input it receives.” To an extent, we are all products of our environments. This is no surprise. From my first credential courses, I was taught to consider my students’ backgrounds. Each child brings his/her own culture, preferences, and life experiences to the classroom. It is the teacher’s responsibility to meet the needs of all learners by accessing and drawing on prior knowledge and experiences, which includes technology.
This seems obvious, and not something I would debate, but Prensky doesn’t stop there. He believes that technology has impacted digital natives in such a way that the “old” educational system is failing them. Let me explore this idea for a moment. Take my students, for example. They have short attention spans, love visual stimulation, and like activity; I can attribute this to their tech rich lives. I agree that they need something different than students of the past did. However, Prensky presumes that teachers who are not digital natives (or as he calls them, digital immigrant teachers) are not giving these students what they need. He comments that, “Digital Immigrants think learning can’t (or shouldn’t) be fun.” This is a terrible stereotype that I completely disagree with. Since I could be considered a digital native myself, I don’t want to use my classroom as an example. I do teach alongside six other sixth grade teachers, most of whom are far from being digital natives. I can say a few things for certain. They strive to make learning engaging and are not stuck in old methodology. Are they teaching with video games? No. Do they work to incorporate movement and student interaction in their lessons? Most definitely! Would Prensky argue that this is not one way of meeting the needs of digital natives? It addresses the issues that arise from short attention spans as well as digital natives’ needs for constant feedback. When I think about my students, I realize they are different than I was. But, guess what? My classroom and daily activities are also different from classrooms of the past. To presume we are ignoring digital natives because we are not teaching with video games is a terrible thing to do.
Now, I don’t want to completely dismiss Prensky’s ideas of educational video games. I think they would be one great resource. Why not give students the opportunity to learn with an activity they love? Here is my disclaimer, though. Life is not a video game. I want my students to be prepared for life, and that means they must participate in a variety of learning activities. More than anyone, I want learning to be fun, but I won’t trade a balanced education for “fun.” In life we sometimes have to do things we don’t enjoy; students face the same thing. I can think of one of my students who hates working with others. Should I give him the option of playing an educational game instead of participating in cooperative work? Once in a while that might be ok, but he will not leave my classroom without spending some time working with his peers. Unless he becomes a hermit later in life, he’ll need to be able to work with others. And like it or not, he will do it in my class. Maybe the “tech generation” isn’t used to that, but sometimes we have to develop skills that we are not accustomed to using. Prensky poses an interesting question in his article. He asks, “Should the Digital Native students learn the old ways, or should their Digital Immigrant educators learn the new?” I ask, how about some of both?
I would like to conclude with something Prensky doesn’t mention. Students today are different in ways that can’t be explained by the digital native/digital immigrant divide. How about lack of respect for authority? I certainly didn’t like every assignment I was given, but I completed the work because my teacher assigned it. I wouldn’t even dream of talking back. Today, we have more violence in schools. Family structures are changing drastically from times past. Yes, students are coming to us as different people than they once were. There are lots or reasons for this. Professional and capable teachers are ready and willing to find multiple ways to address their students’ needs.

Digital technology has changed the way that students communicate. The information highway is at their finger tips stimulating today’s students in a brand new way. Does this change a person so fundamentally that they cannot learn in the traditional ways? Brain structures change with new information, new skills, and with new sensory stimulus. Nevertheless, haven’t humans constantly evolved in their thinking and their technology? Of course we have! That was how the internet invented in the first place. I think that although students are exposed to new media and new communication methods, their needs are the same.
I am coming from an in between area on my views on technology. I am not a digital native; computers were not common commodities until I was in middle school. The internet and common web browsers were not available to me until my first year in high school. On the other hand, I was young enough that the new technology was easy for me to adapt to and utilize. The students that I am around today, the ones that have access to technology, are definitely more advanced than I was. There is a lot more to choose from and more ways to access media than when I was younger. However, many students I have worked with do not have home access to computers, internet, and gaming systems. Just because the technology is out there, it does not mean that the kids are able to reach it. This is the same for teachers. Prensky (2001) says, “Digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been, and that the same methods that worked for the teachers when they were students will work for their students now” (p. 3). There is not always money to buy the latest educational computer game for the class to use. Most teachers chose this career path because they want to help children learn. Although some teachers do not see the need for technology like educational video games in their classroom, I think most would be willing to give it a chance if the games were available, and they received training on how to use the technology. For experienced teachers, offering courses and workshops that show them how to utilize new technology and ideas that are effective and up to date might convince them to include this new media in their lessons. I have heard the grumblings of seasoned teachers who have been forced to go to conferences to relearn how to create a lesson plan, something they have been doing their entire career. Instead of re-teaching the same ideas, teachers should get to experience the technology that the students utilize and maybe become more comfortable with it. By making the new media easily available, teachers will feel comfortable using it to teach their students. Therefore, teachers need to change some methods of teaching in order to include this technology, but making the technology universally available is the first step.
Is this the only way to get digital natives interested in learning? Prensky (2001) says, “Digital Immigrant instructors make their education not worth paying attention to compared to everything else they experience - and then they blame them for not paying attention!” (p. 3) Teachers struggle to make instruction engaging and just as the computer and other digital technology is a tool for the students; the teacher needs to incorporate these mediums into engaging lessons. However, for a lesson to be worthwhile, it does not need to incorporate technology, and at the same time, just because a lesson incorporates technology does not mean that is engaging or worthwhile. “Digital natives like to receive information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task.” (Prensky, 2) I believe that this is not unique to adolescents of today. All teenagers that I have ever been around want instant gratification and multi-tasking is certainly not unique to digital natives. The key is to create solid, engaging, and useful lessons to reach the students, with or without technology.
Finally, Prensky (2001) says, “Again and again, it’s the same simple story. Practice- time spent on learning- works. Kid’s don’t like to practice. Games capture their attention and make it happen. And of course they must be practicing the right things, so design is important” (p. 6). The bottom line is experience is the best teacher. Students learn by repeating a behavior. Since they choose to repeat video game behavior, teachers can use video game behavior to create engaging learning tools. It is just not the only effective method for teaching!

Today’s youth are most definitely different from yesterday’s youth. One thing is for certain: today’s youth never knew a world without computers and other similar technological devices. Due to this obvious fact, “today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors” (Prensky 2001). In Marc Prensky’s article, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” he explains how today’s students are in fact physiologically different and learn differently than yesterday’s youth. As a result of these findings, he articulates how our education system needs to be revamped to reflect these findings within our curriculum. Today’s educators ought to embrace and utilize more technological innovations as a vehicle for teaching to this new generation of digital natives. I full-heartedly agree with him that our students have changed with the changing times; therefore the way in which we teach them also needs to adapt to include more interactivity.
If it helps the students learn and provides a fun learning experience for them, then I am all for whatever helps accelerate teaching and learning. Instead of having students “power down” (Prensky 2001) and choosing not to pay attention in school, we as educators ought to strive to stay up to par with the new technological innovations that can improve student participation and ultimately their learning success. While playing video games is one way that he suggests we reach the digital native generation, this type of approach could be combined with other forms of instruction to find a happy medium. For example, when students need to write an essay for class, instead of going home and typing it up on Microsoft word and handing it in for only the teacher to read, they could post it on a web log (blog) to be evaluated by not only their teacher, but other students as well. This is one way of incorporating technology into their daily learning so that they have the practice of blogging while at the same time doing an assignment in a manner that they are familiar with.
Since I am a hybrid of sorts, being part digital immigrant and part digital native, I see both sides’ points. Ultimately, I see that technology is the future; therefore it needs to be incorporated in our schools from an early start and used throughout our children’s educations and lives. If indeed, digital natives’ brains are physically different as are musicians’ (Prensky 2001), then this is all the more evidence that we need to teach our students using whatever means possible to continue along with this trend. While video games sound like more fun than anything else, if they succeed in helping students learn in a timely manner, as Prensky states, educators ought to find ways of incorporating more of this kind of instruction into their lessons. “After all, this is a medium that they are very familiar with and really enjoy” (Prensky 2001). Just as the old saying states: “practice makes perfect,” we know that practice is time spent learning. Since students often don’t enjoy practice, we should heed Prensky’s idea of using video games to “capture their attention” (Prensky 2001), hence making practice fun and learning more enjoyable for them.
Since I just started student teaching and do not have my own class to reflect on, I will just say that in my observations as a substitute teacher, students do seem to need material presented differently, “in bursts,” (Prensky 2001) as opposed to the old-fashioned way of our predecessors. Learning should be fun, as digital natives have learned, growing up with Sesame Street, while the digital immigrants (those who did not grow up with computers and cell phones) need to recognize that their students are different than students from the past and therefore have different educational needs. Since students only become more and more accustomed to a “twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, [and] quick-payoff world,”(Prensky 2001) it seems like common sense to me that they are cognitively different and therefore need to be taught in a new and enhanced way to help sharpen and improve their cognitive skills. I personally have every intention of using digital technology in my classroom in every possible way to help make learning more accessible, enjoyable, and tailored to meet the ever-changing needs of my digital native students.



I am currently not in a classroom. However, I just completed my second phase of observation hours last term. The classroom that I observed in demonstrated very little use of technology. It is unfortunate to see that technology is not being used in the classroom. The only technology that I witnessed was the DOC Cam or ELMO. There are ways that the teacher could have incorporated technology to engage children in the lesson. According to Prensky, our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. I agree with this statement. The thought process of children today is different than the children of yesterday. Our environments have changed. The use of technology has changed. Due to this change teachers should be able to adapt and differentiate instruction in order to meet the needs of their students. Prensky also stated that Digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been, and that the same methods that worked for teachers when they were students will work for their students now. But this assumption is no longer valid. I agree and disagree with Prensky. Teachers need to adapt to the technological changes, but they do not need to compromise their integrity and teaching styles completely. Even though today’s learners are different, we still have proven teaching styles that are effective in the classroom. Some of these do not need to change.
Digital technology has introduced a whole new learning and teaching style. The use of technology is vital to a student’s success in life. Our world is becoming based on mostly technology. It is important for students and teachers to understand technology. The world of technology is ever changing. It is important for teachers to comprehend and modify their lessons to the changes. Students from today differ from students of yesterday. Computers are now in every classroom. Students are encouraged to use them during their free time. Computer labs are set up for student use twice a week.
According to Prensky, Digital Immigrant instructors who speak an outdated language are struggling to teach a population that speaks and entirely new language. I agree with Prensky. Teachers need to understand that their students are not at the same level as previous students. Their surroundings are different. What they do in their spare time is different than 50 years ago. IPods and cell phones are a way of today. Video games are a popular choice for students. Teachers need to engage their students in the lesson. However, I do not believe that all lessons need to include technology. Teachers do not need to transform their entire teaching style, just conform some of their ways to the current times. Prensky also states that no matter how many of the Immigrants may wish it, it is highly unlikely the Digital Natives will go backwards. He also says that it may be impossible due to their brains already being different. I don’t fully agree with this. Everyone can change with the proper discipline. We may be programmed to think one way, but we can change. I do believe it may take some time, but it is possible. It is similar to someone learning a new language. At first it might be difficult, but after time and practice it will get easier and easier. I think technology is similar. We are used to our ways and need to advance, at first it might be difficult, but after some practice it will get easier.
The use of technology has changed the way we see the world. When I was a student I didn’t have an iPod or MP3 player, I listened to MTV. I did not have computers in the classroom that were used regularly. I remember going to the computer lab every once in a while and playing Oregon Trail. Children today have a lot more tools and resources to advance academically. I think that technology is something that we should value and be grateful for, but not base our entire lives on. The old fashion ways have proven to be effective. We need to incorporate the old with the new and create a better learning environment for our students and ourselves.