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

Doing Internet Research at the Elementary Level

Rajasekar of the scoolbell blog writes about a recent experience preparing to teach research skills to students in grades three to seven. He has broken the topic up into smaller areas which he has mapped on the blog, including topic keywords, testing search terms, synthesizing information and several other areas.

All classes begin with a discussion about what research is and why we do it and how we do it. Each grade will be using their research and applying it to a larger question or problem. For instance, rather than having my third regurgitate answers back to me about animals, they will use the information they find to answer the larger question. (i.e. “Your parents said you can have any pet you want. What will you need to keep the pet?”)

The notes will vary across grades and shows a wonderful research graphic from The Kentucky Virtual Library

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Web 2.0 seeds set roots in Rwanda

From the CTA Web2 for Dev Gateway blog, they review the efforts in the past year where during series of workshops and other initiatives, participants were introduced to a range of web2.0 technologies and networks, exploring what could be done using them. They have a range of activities for the last quarter of 2012 including within existing agricultural business and communities.

One year on and the impact of these sessions has far exceeded expectations. MINAGRI has consolidated its presence on Facebook and Twitter, and CICA run two on-the-job training for MINAGRI and projects’ staff. A total of 50 individuals (42% of whom were women) were trained in the use of VoIP, online mapping and professional / corporate social networking in 2012.

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Consistent Policy in K-12 Online Education

SpahnSocialStudies on ResearchReportsEdu provides an open access link to a research paper by Bonnie Magnuson and Greg Spahn, two students from Bemidji State University about policy for online education

Each year, more and more K-12 students are enrolling in online courses to supplement, or at times, replace traditional coursework.  Even though the phrase used is “K-12″, most K-12 online providers offer courses only for secondary students.  By law, however, if a student is eligible to attend school, then online schools must accept them as well.  The expansion of online education requires further study of sound policy, implementation of such policy and the impact online education has on enrolled students.

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“Algebra 1B Academy”: Mission Accomplished

Lorri Carroll reports about her class’s screencast project in Algebra 1.

Screencast-o-matic was very reliable and the students enjoyed choosing their own color/style/ background to write out their problems using Paint. It was like music to my ears hearing them explain how to add/ subtract/ multiply and divide radicals expressions. The students were completely engaged for all three days in the lab and the entire process forced them to think about how to simplify radical expressions. YAY!

She describes the process that her students followed to create the screencasts with a wonderful video of their contributions

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Innovation paths

Maureen Devlin reflects on how her thinking and work in education has dramatically changed in recent years.

I no longer create a static system for students to follow and obey, instead I create paths of learning–fluid paths of exploration, discovery, voice and practice that build students’ skill, knowledge and concept foundation while also offering students real-time opportunities to develop communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills and understanding.

These new learning paths leave room for spontaneous challenge, innovation and change.  We begin the paths with the creation of goals and vision, then as we meander down the learning path we stop repeatedly to look back, analyze, revise and move forward again

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Oak Hills Works to Incorporate 21st Century Learning

Bryan Bullock describes a pilot across some of Oak Hills schools to incorporate further use of technologies which has excited both the students and teachers. They have created a vision for learning using technologies, across the district

The district has online classes, blended learning, wireless access in every building and a bring-your-own-device-to-school policy. Oak Hills, which recently was featured in EdTech magazine, has established itself as a leader in using education technology and is actively working to help other districts learn from its experience. Superintendent Todd Yohey said the Cincinnati district of 7,700 students gets visitors from other districts each month inquiring about high-tech initiatives.

Another interesting feature of the pilot has been encouraging students who have become eLearning Consultants !

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Social Media Literacies: participation

Jennifer Spain shares her experiences about social media literacies in a second language classroom, focusing on participation. She read Howard Rheingold’s article “Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies

She notes links between risk-taking and participation with students needing to talk in another language before being formally assessed. She used a social media rubric that she found via a tweet on twitter, which looks at online participation, posting and language use. She encourages participation that involves the parents too.

Some of the best conversations can arise when students and their parents look at social media tasks in a second language together. Social media such as Twitter can provide unprecedented access to people, ideas and information

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What if school was more like Twitter?

Tom Whitby wonders what would happen if the discussion and sharing that forms part of a twitter learning network was tried out in a traditional school environment. He mentions the importance of being able to share ideas such as papers with links on them appearing in staff pigeon holes / mailboxes;  and how the breadth of opinions on twitter can help to understand more about a global perspective.Does this help bridge a digital gap?

The idea of being a “Connected Educator” is too foreign to too many educators. If this post is to be effective it will have to be printed out, reproduced, and circulated in teachers’ mailboxes in order to reach them. In this age of technology, that should be an embarrassment to the most educated people this country or any country has to offer

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How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education

Darrell West mentions that people can now use collaborative tools which change the way both they and organisations communicate with each other. He mentions several educators who describe how students and educators can connect and participate with less barriers. He asks what this means for students, parents, teachers, administrators

despite the wealth of communications opportunities offered by these changes, their impact on learning and instruction is still not clear. How do these technologies affect students, teachers, parents, and administrators? Do they enable new approaches to learning and help students master substantive information? In what ways have schools incorporated electronic communications in the learning process and messages to external audiences?

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