The students we have today and truly digital natives. They have never known a time where they cannot go to a computer and type in a question and have the answer spit back to them. They have never even known a time where they cannot have 5,000 songs in their pocket. These students are what we would call digital natives. They know the technology and are not afraid to use it.

Students today use all manner of social networking to connect with their friends. They post pictures on instagram to show off what they are doing. They will tweet out friend specific hashtags to let them know what is going on. They will even create private groups on Facebook to discuss topics on a quieter level. These are all great uses of technology, but are very specific uses. They focus on communication. All social networks allow you to have dialogue between one, or many people and todays students are great at it!

With that being said, the skills found in communicating are very different from producing. Yes, these students are not afraid to try and can often figure out how to make things work relatively quickly, but they do not know how to use technology to learn. They don't know how to create displays that demonstrate their understanding. They know what they primarily do, which is communicating with friends. 

So, how do we get over this gap of understanding? It needs to start everywhere, and it needs to start now!
  • No More Assumptions
    • The worst thing you can do it assume your students know something and simply jump past the intro. Your frustration level will shoot through the roof and more often than not, the blame will be put on the technology when it is simply a miscommunication.
  • Explicitly Teach Tools
    • This can be apps on an iPad or Google on a Chomebook but these students need to know how the "workflow" tools work. 
  • Provide Options - Contact me for recommendations!
    • Creating a routine of student let projects that offer a choice for demonstration of knowledge is not only a best practice of education, it is a cornerstone of 21st century learning. Using these strategies will help you, and your students become more comfortable with learning through technology.
  • Step Down
    • Each and every student learns differently. We need to allow them to use their own flow to work within, and around apps to accomplish their work. Hovering, and being worried about them playing games is a waste of your time. You will NEVER stop this. Take on this thought: "you would not take away a pencil from a student doodling on a notebook during your lectures, so why take their iPad"
  • Build on Communication
    • Start with this skill and build outward. You will find success initially using this as your base, then start with jump on creativity and collaboration. Using this flow will only lead to success.