PEDAGOGY FOR DIGITAL NATIVES

Many educators have come to rely heavily on digital technology because of all the benefits it has to offer. Prensky (2012) discusses how “digital tools already extend and enhance our cognitive capabilities in a large variety of ways”. Digital technology has the ability to enhance memory, for example, via data input/output tools and electronic storage (Prensky, 2012). It also helps us use decision-making tools by enhancing our judgment and allowing us to gather more data than we could on our own. (Prensky, 2012). Digital technology “helps us perform more complex analyses than we could unaided, and increasing our power to ask “what if?” and pursue all the implications of that question” (Prensky, 2012). With all of the advancements that digital technology brings to the table, educators have to become aware of the increasing need of implementation of digital technology into our curriculum.

There is a push to shift instructional practices to include more real world approaches. Instructional practices and strategies used in higher education should include technology that is used in the professional setting. Every profession uses some type of technology whether is it a computer or a specific program. For example, my father is a digital immigrant and operates his own plumbing company. He has minimum knowledge on how to navigate a computer. However, submitting permits went from completing them in pen and delivering them to an office to completing them online. This shows that even vocational professions require the use of technology.

Enhancing our teaching practices by learning new technology strategies and implementing digital technology into our curriculum will help produce college graduates that are ready to enter the workforce. We often forget that students need a combination of skills. We could be a master educator in a specific major, but if we do not teach our students those skills across the board, we are doing them a disservice. I constantly think about the ideas behind the Common Core Standards of producing a college and career student at the high school level. How can colleges measure whether they have prepared their students to be workforce ready?

As an educator, it is imperative that we constantly improve our instructional practice. There is always room for increased effectiveness. Trends within technology and education will come and go. We see this quite often, as new standards are always being implemented. It could be troubling to constantly make adjustments to teaching, but it is the role of the educator to ensure an education is being delivered. It is easy for an educator to teach content, but content needs to be aligned with engaging factors that attracts students in this day and age (MacArthur Foundation, 2010). Therefore, teachers must learn the tools and skills needed to reinvent content in a way that is relatable to our digital natives (MacArthur Foundation, 2010). If we introduce 21st learning skills, when presenting content, students will likely become more engaged and it would generate creativity. We should not abandon the formal way of learning, but we should find a way to combine both formal and informal methods of teaching as a way to get our students to work efficiently and effectively (MacArthur Foundation, 2010). Most of us have become so concentrated on teaching to the test, that we forget students have imaginations, which can be the most powerful tool a student has.

MacArthur Foundation. (2010). Rethinking learning: The 21st century learner [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0xa98cy-Rw

Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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3 thoughts on “PEDAGOGY FOR DIGITAL NATIVES

  1. Nicole,

    I agree that there is a push to connect real world experiences to education. Do you think that this push could help students make future career decisions? I teach in a middle school and my lessons always connect to a real design career. According to Simkins, Cole, Tavalin, and Means (2002), “A real-world connection means that students see a reason to do this project” (para 2). It is my hope that my students are excited about the connections I make to the real world experiences and it helps them to find an area of design that they can connect to. As my students move into high school and then to college, I hope that the experiences that I have given them help to steer them in a direction that makes them happy. As a digital immigrant, I do not remember many occasions in middle and high school where my teachers provided real world experiences. It is very possible that if they did, I might have been exposed to different careers that peaked my own interest. These experiences definitely work to bring out the creative side of my students and I agree that their imaginations are a very powerful tool. Thank you for sharing your information.

    Michele

    Reference
    Simkins, M., Cole, K., Tavalin, F., & Means, B. (2002). Chapter 3: Making a real world connection. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/102112/chapters/Making_a_Real-World_Connection.aspx

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    • Hi Michele,
      I believe if we trained students on what they would actually be doing in their future profession, they would understand their roles and responsibilities. This could affect the decisions that some students may make when determining a career path. As a history teacher, I try to always make connections with today’s issues with whatever I am teaching. For example, we were working on our immigration unit, so my co-teacher and I discussed Trump’s immigration policy. It is really important to introduce these aspects and ensur student sknow what is happening in the world today.

      I wish my teachers had been more informative in high school about various topics and introducing other aspects of the world and making them relatable to content. I feel like I was really just lectured to in high school and curriculum was driven to the regents exams.

      Nicole

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  2. Nicole,

    One change that educators must make to their instructional practices is to communicate in the same language and styles of their students (Prensky, 2012). This does not mean to not teach the information and content demanded of a particular class, but teaching it in a way that Digital Natives can relate to. Although the curriculum that is currently taught in higher education classrooms is still important, it is from a different era, one where students sat and took notes and professors lectured. Digital Natives will not pay attention in this instructional method of delivery. Rather they are looking for instructional practices that are technological in nature. Simulations, social networking, and computer games will allow our Digital Natives to be engaged and learning. Therefore, educators need to be thinking of ways to teach content in the language of Digital Natives (Prensky, 2012). “By bringing school into the modern era, students like it and relate to it” (Fitzgerald as cited in Gross & Haas, 2008, p. 4). Incorporating digital and technological content into instruction will increase student learning.
    Gross, J., & Haas, J. (2008). Today’s technologies, tomorrow’s learning. Learning and Leading with Technology, 12-15. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading- digital.com/learning_leading/20080910…4
    Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays

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