The disconnect between how students learn and how teachers teach is easy to understand when one considers that the current school system was designed for an agrarian and manufacturing world . However, the world has changed and continues to change in a fast-paced manner.
The differences between digital native learners and digital immigrant teachers Prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources. Prefer receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources. Digital Immigrant Teachers Digital Native Learners Prefer to provide text before pictures, sounds and video. Prefer processing pictures, sounds and video before text. Prefer singular processing and single or limited tasking. Prefer parallel processing and multitasking.
Prefer students to work independently rather than network and interact. Prefer to interact/network simultaneously with many others. Prefer to provide information linearly, logically and sequentially. Prefer random access to hyperlinked multimedia information. Prefer to teach to the curriculum guide and standardized tests. Prefer learning that is relevant, instantly useful and fun. Prefer deferred gratification and deferred rewards. Prefer instant gratification and instant rewards. Prefer to teach “just-in-case” (it’s on the exam). Prefer to learn “just-in-time.”
Teachers and School Administrators Should learn the way of the Digital Natives By providing digital students with opportunities to learn in ways that satisfy their needs, they will be more engaged in the learning process and in realizing their potential.
AREAS OF CHANGE Digital Natives are Communicating Differently email, IM, chat Digital Natives are Sharing Differently Blogs, webcams, camera phones Digital Natives are Buying and Selling Differently eBay, schoolwork Digital Natives are Exchanging Differently music, movies, humor Digital Natives are Creating Differently sites, avatars, mods
Digital Natives are Meeting Differently 3D chat rooms, dating Digital Natives are Collecting Differently mp3, video, sensor data Digital Natives are Coordinating Differently Projects, workgroups, MMORPGs Digital Natives are Evaluating Differently Reputation systems–Epinions, Amazon, Slashdot Digital Natives are Gaming Differently “ versus,” small & large groups
Digital Natives are Learning Differently About stuff that interests them Digital Natives are Searching Differently Info, connections, people Digital Natives are Analyzing Differently SETI, drug molecules Digital Natives are Reporting Differently Moblogs, digital photos Digital Natives are Programming Differently Open systems, mods, search
Digital Natives are Socializing Differently Learning social behavior, influence Digital Natives are Evolving Differently Peripheral, emergent behaviors
What we know about this digital generation and the disconnect between how they learn and what they think about school requires that we think about student achievement in different and broader terms.