The Digital Natives / Digital Immigrants Distinction Is Dead, Or At Least Dying

With thanks to Ora Baumgarten for this post:

Doug Holton writes about the discussion over the last few years regarding digital natives and with increased use of the internet, web and other technologies wonders about the relevance of a distinction being made. He questions whether persistent use of the terms has led to excusing bad teaching practices. He provides a list of relevant resources in the remainder of the post which includes criticism of the terms and also links to a number of journal articles around the topic.

Even Marc Prensky, who came up with the digital natives / immigrants distinction, wrote last year that it is at the very least growing less relevant.

The list

Enhanced Learning Conference – PELeCON 2012

Matt Lingard provides links and highlights from trip reports from some of this year’s conference attendees. There were student showcases with examples in primary and secondary learning ages including use of tablets, apps, Skype, google groups. Other highlights from keynotes and parallel sessions included examples of

  • 70,000 students involved in blogging projects across the world
  • being able to improve writing through a writing challenge involving peer interaction
  • questioning what reform and change mean for education
  • openness and barriers to open learning practices
  • engagement in alternate reality games
  • ‘future building’ education with digital architectures
  • conditions that allow creativity to flourish
  • educators sharing their top 100 tools for learning

There are also contributions from virtual participants via twitter, liveblogging, a crowdsourced wiki

In full

Making the Connection, or Doing the Learning

Mercer Hall and Patricia Russell refer to a recent class where a specialist came to teach Arabic calligraphy where the children learnt about the calligraphy then had opportunities to practice it as well. There are some beautiful illustrations on the blog post. The lady teaching was a parent of one of the children.

We are extremely fortunate and grateful to have such a wonderful parent volunteer her time to help the students understand a writing system less familiar than their own. In addition, it brings the heritage of our Muslim students into the classroom to better bridge the multicultural views of the world.

In full

An interesting online calligraphy tool

Do you know of any other good visual design tools?

No One Reads Online

Linda Rening reviews how she has designed and written copy for many online courses over the years and notes that people browse online, scanning paragraphs or if they are interested they will read. She looks at strategies designers have used to try and persuade people to read including the ‘next’button.

She notes that it is important to understand what matters to learners.

The reality I have had to face is this: If you want to write elegant prose, keep a journal. If you want people to learn, stop talking and start creating learning that matters.

In full

Also in case of interest:

Blue (School) Skies Ahead

Sam Chaltain reports on an interesting new school that grew out of the Blue Man group that toured the world with their fascinating performances. The school has spaces which are decorated by the children including tree sculptures and a disco floor. The school also has a fascinating exploratory framework based on the personality of the Blue Man

we imagined him doing so via six different lenses:

  1. The Group Member – the lens of collaboration, connection, and global citizenship
  2. The Scientist – the lens of curiosity, critical thinking, experimentation and analysis
  3. The Hero – the lens of perseverance, commitment and leadership
  4. The Trickster – the lens of provocation, innovation, and play
  5. The Artist – the lens of imagination, instinct and creative expression
  6. The Innocent – the lens of emotional awareness and mindfulness

“These six lenses are mindsets or approaches children, teachers, and others in our community can assume to explore work, academic areas, an environment, and materials,” Matt shared while we watched a cluster of four-year-olds make mud in their airy, light-filled classroom. “We want to teach our kids how to surf in all of those different energies. And we want to help them develop critical life skills and practices along the way.”

In full

Social media and video games in classrooms can yield valuable data for teachers

Nick Pandolfo discusses findings from a recent report and panel session which mentioned familiar concerns about what technologies and how they can be used in education. He reviews recent initiatives which are looking at the use of big data to provide information about students progress

The idea is that the data collected by video games and social media sites can be provided, sometimes in real time, to teachers who can then use it to better understand their students and tailor instruction to meet individual needs.

The panel were also asked whether there was still a need for schools with these advances in technology.

In full

Losing the glue of scholarship

Martin Weller, author of The Digital Scholar, looks at the reality of completing scholarly tasks in a changing higher education environment and the practicality of achieving these in addition to current work for his employer. He wonders whether these tasks which have often been done for free should have costs attached and wonders on the impact of overall scholarly practice across institutions

Are these kinds of tasks the unseen glue that binds scholarly activity together? So, if we lose, or at least drastically reduce, them does it fundamentally undermine the whole practice, or will we just find other ways of achieving them (for instance giving a talk remotely is a lot more efficient than travelling to the venue)

In full

At Yale, Online Lectures Become Lively Books

Jennifer Howard looks at how Yale has decided to released materials from its online course programs in paperbook and ebook formats.

“It may seem counterintuitive for a digital project to move into books and e-books, because these are a much more conventional way of publishing,” she says. But the Open Yale Courses are about “reaching out in every way that we could.” That includes posting audio and video versions online (via Yale’s Web site, YouTube, and iTunes), and providing transcripts and now book versions of the lectures.

Having transcripts of their lectures to work with gives faculty authors a jump-start. “It was incomparably the easiest book I have ever written,” says Shelly Kagan, a Yale professor of philosophy whose lecture course on death has become one of the Open Yale program’s most popular offerings.

The lecturers involved noted how the publishing timescales moved from several years to a few months, noting how interesting it has been to interact with learners around the world through the online courses.

In full

Four Strategies to Spark Curiosity via Student Questioning

Kevin D Washburn looks at how curiosity drives learning

When we realize that we do not know all there is to know about something in which we are interested, we thirst. We pursue. We act as though what we do not know is more important than what we do, as though what we do not possess is worth the chase to own it. How do we help students discover this drive?

He suggests four strategies – including equipping students to ask questions and building a launch pad.

In full