Earlier in the semester I wrote about digital natives versus digital immigrants. I really like the thought of how that would all work, but in fact, it doesn’t exist. It wouldn’t even really make much sense because the natives of today will be the immigrants of tomorrow. The whole idea that the students born in this generation learn differently is actually preposterous. What about those that live in poverty? The families nor the schools can afford such digital tools.
Of course, there is a difference between my generation, Generation X and their generation, Generation Me. My parents allowed me to fail. They often tried to encourage me and always held me to high standards but never did they hover in my classrooms or insist that I was the best at something. They accepted me for who I was. This generation, teachers have to deal with helicopter parents who will accept nothing but the comment that their child is absolutely perfect in every way and A’s all around. The child today is not allowed to fail. Everyone is given awards and trophies at sporting events and some don’t even keep score so that no one feels bad. Really? I would like to remind parents that there is such thing as a healthy competition. With that said, I have two children of this generation myself. Are they spoiled? Yes, most definitely. My oldest has all of the digital tools that a middle school student could ever ask for, BUT we raise her as my parents raised me, with encouragement and not entitlement.
Now, what is a teacher to do when approached with an administration or colleague that believes in digital native nonsense? First, let them read McKenzie. After all, that is what really moved me to change my position. I was a digital native believer! His quick dismissal of Prensky’s ideas was off-putting to me at first but then after some deliberation I realized that he was very correct. How is it possible that the way a student learns today is only through technology? Their brains aren’t wired differently. We are talking about the same species. In the end, people are going to believe what they want. You can debate and give them articles to read but if that doesn’t change their mind, you have to run your classroom the way that you know how to run it.