Sunday, September 6, 2009

What do kids really know?

My question is...what do kids really know about technology and the Internet? I just posted this over at Classroom 2.0 and thought I would post here too. I admit to being a little nervous about posting to Classroom 2.0 because I am largely inactive there and feel very much a newby. Hoping for discussion from whatever venue I can exploit. Here is my query:

I am aware there has been a great discussion on this topic. It is called "Are They Really Digital Natives?? But no one has visited/responded in nearly a year. I would love some more recent discussion on the topic. Yes, I am writing an article and looking for quotes, and will hope to garner some plus permission to use. But I am also really concerned about this. Too often, I fear, some educators assume kids know a lot more than is the case about technology and the Internet. They assume kids don't need too much instruction or direction because as "digital natives" they already know all that they need to know. I think this opinion is likely to be held by adults who really need to learn more about the technologies for themselves. I think the comments in the other discussion of this topic are still true as 2009 winds down and we look towards 2010. Kids know how to text, have love affairs with their phones, are adept at social media, and are often gadget freaks. But do they know how to search? How to evaluate websites? How to use applications that are directed toward learning and productivity as well as those popular for social networking. I think I will post a survey about this via SurveyMonkey but right now am being so bold is to reintroduce the topic here. I should add that while I have been a Classroom 2.0 member for a long time, I have not ever posted a discussion before. I have been more of a drop in/drop out member. This is due to heavy demands on my time that keep me doing things I MUST do and wishing for more times for environments like this. So I am boldly going where I have not gone before and hoping some of you will be interested in reviving this topic. Thanks in advance,


  1. What a great question to ponder! I've been the "pilot school" for the new technology that is going into the libraries in my district. We've got new "things" for the library, but not necessarily new things for the kids. The thing that I'm learning is that the kids don't need instruction on how to use the equipment, such as ipods and macbooks. They need instruction on how to use it for instructional purposes. I'm showing them how to use it for school and they are showing me how to physically use it. The other thing I'm learning is that they have no fear of new "things". The teachers are unsure of a new platform, but the kids can move from one to the other without even thinking about it. This is definitely a case of stand-back-and-watch-them-go. With a little support, of course!

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  4. I think the focus on "digital native" vs "digital immigrant" is overworked. Yes, young people handle their digital extentions with grace and ease but as soon as they are asked to apply these skills for an academic(imposed)purpose these skills don't mean too much.
    What is being asked requires critical thinking, planning and analysis and none of this is really related to texting any more than it is to writing.
    The challenge is to merge their adept use of digital technology with rigorous thinking and analysis