12 comments for “English 5010 Student Blogs

  1. September 21, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Issues arise initially with the terms “digital immigrant” and “digital native.” I propose that we are all natives to whatever generation we are born into and tend to, by said definition, progress into the digital immigrant status, that is, according to our choice of agency.
    Focusing specifically on the digital topic, I understand how anyone over say 20-30 years old may have an “accent” when utilizing technology. We were not raised with it, but progressed with it and into it. I also would like to suggest that this is not a bad thing. Rhetorically assigning names to generations does not serve to divide generations, but acts as merely a type of recognition. Understanding that the two generations may use a different path of thinking to arrive at a decision enhances the prospect of acquiring successful teaching solutions. Teaching students through their technological comfort zone produces greater results. A teacher who has “been there, done that” involving the development of technology brings experience and knowledge to the “table” of education. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

  2. kmontero
    September 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Well thought Kathy. With the swift pace of technology, a “Digital Native” today becomes a “Digital Immigrant” tomorrow if they do not adapt to and change with the ever-evolving tech word. A task that may seem unattainable if one factors in human abilities to understand new information compared to a computers ability to compute new input. Acknowledging that there are generational divides among computer “savvyness” is the first step to implementing change in an “old” teaching style to fit the “new” thought processes of learners. However, the problem arises in the varying levels of “native” abilities involving technology use. A child born into an economically disadvantaged family without the means of acquiring a t.v., computer, etc. is less “digitally native” than a child of the same age growing up with video games and the internet who may consider the former a “digital immigrant.” Therefore, the digital divide becomes intergenerational and not the question of how does Group A teach Group B, but how does Group A teach Groups B, B+, and B-. Furthermore, if digital instruction is implemented at a very young age (i.e. kindergarten), can we avoid these intergenerational gaps?

  3. Alex
    September 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I think the idea of an intergenerational gap because of the varying economic status of families is a good point. It made me think about how schools have different economic advantages and disadvantages which may also create intergenerational gaps. I don’t think that a reliance on schools to implement digital instruction from an early age will lead to an avoidance of intergenerational gaps. How is a school that is worried about affording textbooks going to be able to even consider the possibility of incorporating technology into the classroom? I think this is becoming an even bigger reality with the current economy; schools can barely keep teachers, never mind incorporating new technology or hiring a “digital native.” This goes along with Postman’s idea that not everyone is impacted by technology in the same way. While the ideas Prensky has are great, it’s hard to take them beyond that when the financial state of a family, school or government can’t accommodate them.

  4. cjpope
    September 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    While I agree with Kathy with regard to labeling and that it causes issues, I would suggest that the issues of labeling should be dealt with first. When, in our interesting state of social existance, we label people we are immediately catagorizing which further may lead to sterotyping. Must I personally be placed into yet another catagory? Is there room on my list of labels for another? What will happen when I am referred to as a digital immigrant? Will I be treated differenly? I have always been a native Californian, will I now have dual nativeness? I think that labeling technology users places futher distance between those of us who are students of technology with those who are masters of technology – and the way I see it, the masters will always be students, especially if technology changes as quickly as it does.
    Sadly, until the state of the economy changes, and jobs are restored as well as school budgets comfortably met, digital students and masters will have a difficult time meeting at an equal playing ground. As it is now, students are lucky to have ink in their printers. As far as just doing it is concerned, no one has to tell me to “Just do it” but, I sure find myself saying that to my students quite a bit! Hmmmm….native or immigrant?

  5. mcalou
    September 23, 2009 at 7:09 am

    When I read through the material this week one term that really made me stop and say, “Holy s_ _ t, I’m getting old!” was the term digital native. The use of this term reminds me of an older term; generation gap. What really made me stop and think was the idea that my students really can’t relate to me and I can’t honestly relate to them; just like I have a hard time relating to my parents. The reason for this fissure is the gap in our technological knowledge.
    Since the sixties, I don’t think that things have changed that much since the term generation gap was coined. Students and teachers, parents and children have always had difficulty communicating. The one difference may be that the sophistication of the technology (the computer) being used today is harder to understand and learn about than in previous generations. This difference may cause a genetic change in the human mind. Prensky states:
    Today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. But whether or not this is literally true, we can say with certainty that their thinking patterns have changed.
    Thinking patterns, this is what we need to tune into when we teach the digital natives. But, then I think, isn’t this what teaching is all about? The teacher evaluating the mind set of the student and making an effort to connect.
    I think the problem with education, and the problem has always been there, is that academia has put itself on a pedestal in regards to teaching skills that can be readily applied to the “real world.” The academe, through no fault of its own, is populated with teachers who are somewhat egotistical: who wouldn’t be after six years of grad school?
    Today, I believe the gap between teacher and student is getting wider than in years past. Prensky also says that, “This is not like previous generational changes. This change will not reverse when digital natives grow up. It is permanent.” I agree because I find it difficult to communicate with my two sons; ages 19 and 26.
    Just the other day I had a conversation with a digital native about the music that was playing. I said, “Is that music coming from Itunes?” I thought I was being rather digitally native and right on the mark with that comment. However, she replied, “Not Itunes! Rhapsody!” My digital immigrant accent was very obvious, but I was not embarrassed because I am not afraid to engage people about new technology. I think that teachers need to attempt to engage their students by not being afraid or embarrassed to discuss and learn about the latest technology. This is what teacher’s are supposed to do; engage the student in the learning experience.
    In conclusion, I think one of the things I love most about teaching is that I am constantly learning new things. I’m not sure which article contained this quote (nor am I certain if it is verbatim), “When we learn something new, a change occurs in the way we think.” I believe that as teachers we have to take the initiative to educate ourselves about approaches to digital literacy. We also should spend time connecting with our students and the digital world they inhabit.

  6. chayden
    September 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I found that Prensky’s framework of “Digital Natives” vs. “Digital Natives” to be quite interesting and helpful. We, as teachers, certainly need to acknowledge this to improve teaching strategies. Unfortunately, not all academic disciplines can be conveniently remodeled into an award-winning, computer generated game that dazzles the minds of high school teenagers. Mr. Prensky argues that we simply are not being creative enough. No, he argues further that we are possibly being lazy. While I can understand that position to some degree, I feel Mr. Prensky fails to truly acknowledge that there is some learning that simply cannot be learned in a computer game. In fact, in life there are things that require that we sit down and take some time to pour over large volume of writing, digest what has been stated, and then analyze the information in a critical way. How would Mr. Prensky believe the representatives on Capital Hill read through the latest health care bill which is over 1200 pages should they be “Digital Natives”. Should a government agency hire a contingent of software designers to create a game that helps our representatives understand it? Unfortunately, there are times in life that simply require us to sit and read. And perhaps read for a lengthy period of time. How can literature be condensed down into such a way as to make it accessible to students whose brains are not constructed to process in a like manner? I would love to see some of Jane Austin’s romantic novels adapted into a computer game. Boy, would that be a laugh. I can already hear the teenage male expounding to his crew his recent exploits on a role playing game entitled Pride and Prejudice – 2.0. The question we need to ask is how literature can survive in a world of Digital Natives?

  7. rtoth
    September 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I think Prensky writes a very commanding article. So does Jenkins. But both men speak outside of their own personal experience. I wonder what a young student, say perhaps a 7th grade girl, would have to say about the use of digital technology in learning. She would probably say, I use the computer to research assignments, print my homework, talk to my friends, play games, go on the internet, and e-mail people…but we don’t really use it too much at school.
    Typical middle-schools have one or two medium sized computer labs (20-30) computers, that all classes have to share. Computer lab time must be scheduled. As a result, students maybe spend a half hour to one hour a week on a computer at school.
    The best line in any article was Prensky’s closer. Administrators have to support technology in the classroom. Arguing about the validity of immigrants to the digital age, as Jenkins does, is a moot point. The technology is here, it’s being used in every sector of society to expedite processes and offer limitless storage of ideas and information. Binary is the new language and computers are the tongue. But, as Prensky says, administrators must support technology in the classroom. It does no good to argue about the validity of digital natives vs. digital immigrants in a classroom that can’t afford computers.

  8. Mariana
    September 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    At the end of Postman’s “First Idea” section of his article, he says, “Idea Number One, then, is that culture always pays a price for technology”. This inspired a lot of material for my blog in addition to a lot of questions:
    What culture is he talking about, though; academic culture, culture in general or both? What is that price? Can or should the price be changed? After all, language is not a static entity; it is constantly changing and evolving, even despite the best efforts of those cultures who try to control it. Is culture really “paying a price” or is it evolving? It’s difficult for me to admit that formal and even vernacular English are in grave danger—these are languages I speak. Is it possible to become a “digital native” after devoting most of my life and education to formal English? Will text-speak forever alter the way students express themselves? Are we hanging on to written formal English the way institutions held on to Greek and Latin for so long? Do we have a responsibility as academics to hang on to it for the sake of culture or is it just a matter of time before it slides through our fingers anyway?

  9. MaryAnn Macedo
    September 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I took issue with the Prensky article, mainly because though the new students coming into the school systems may indeed learn differently because of the technology that they have grown up with, that does not mean that the classic skills that current teachers could offer them are useless, or that turning everything into a video game is the answer. Speaking as a gamer myself, there is a clear-cut goal in most games- get to Point A, do Task 1, etc. To translate complicated subjects into this format is to take out all the joy of inquiry that makes many questions worth asking. While some students may indeed learn this way, I doubt they will learn with the depth created by a probing classroom discussion. I agreed with Jenkins’ article much more. Just because the students have a different background technologically than their teacher does not mean that they can’t learn from that teacher. I believe that if the teacher comes to the classroom with an open mind toward technology and his/her students, and the students with an open mind and respect toward the type of knowledge and classic skills their teacher is trying to convey, a very productive balance could be created, one that employs technology usefully.

  10. kmontero
    September 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    As a “T.V. Kid,” Mass Media is responsible for partially constructing my view of reality. To what extent is this positive or negative? Has the Media created an authentic replication of “reality” or one skewed by personal agendas and propaganda? Does something become “reality” when the Media creates it? As a result of the major presence of Media in the lives of students, many believe that to impart knowledge, we must present knew information/ideas in a form with which students are more familiar. Thus, the notion of Media Literacy has evolved. In Renee Hobbs’ article “The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement,” she questions the affect of Media Literacy on kids, the presence of Media Lit in the classroom, the role of Media Organizations in supporting Media Lit, and the basis of Media Lit (i.e. pup culture and ideological agendas).
    After thoroughly examining the seven debates, I found myself leaning toward an anti Media Lit stance. I do not believe we can fully trust the creators of Media who have their own agendas and will use their power to skew public beliefs. Furthermore, Media Lit would require more Media Production in the classroom. Although this may be a more interesting, exciting approach to learning, I believe that creating a movie is an easy alternative to a literary assignment, resulting in the lazy becoming lazier. Now, I would fully support an unbiased media world where the television is overrun with nature programs, historical documentaries, etc, but I believe too much mental reliance on one thing (i.e. the media) is dangerous. Therefore, lets unplug and dust off that book . . . (ha as I write on my laptop).

  11. lminnis209
    September 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Two of the articles I liked one I found extremely offensive! Maybe I am too embroiled within the subject, since I have taught and believe in technology integration. I thought Neil Postman had some good points but most of his ideas are the reasons why technology has had such a hard time being integrated. He makes technology out to be this huge virus infecting our lives that will destroy our culture. I agree that with new technology there will be old tools that will become archaic and we will simply no longer use them, but to imply technology is like a car which has, “poisoned our air, and choked our cities” is a little extreme. He also says technology is like the bible or religion where the church believed mass production of the bible would make people more devout since they could read the book themselves. Mass production back fired because people started to interpret the bible their own way and disagreed with the church’s interpretation. The idea that people will revolt from learning? From education? I do not know how computers will help us revolt from something, but he never clearly states who we will revolt from. He assumes there will be a large price to pay for having technology, but his statements have very little facts in them so they seem to me a cautionary tale from a biased person.
    Postman also explains that the computer advocates say computers are a great invention but they do not cure “children starving in the world”. Not many things have cured starving in the world! The idea that computers are not so great because they do not answer the world’s hunger problem is a tall order to put upon a simple tool. The author tends to blame technology for many things in the article to prove that it is a false profit or devil figure, but he seems to give the computer too many God-like qualities.
    Computers will change everything that is what evolution is all about. You can either write manifestoes of doom days coming because of technology or you can work with it. Change has always been hard for our world and there will always be people fighting the change tooth and nail. The doomsday people can keep fighting but the change will still happen.
    I have read Prensky before and find the article very interesting looking at students as “Digital Natives”, but I would rather discuss the article, “Reconsidering Digital Immigrants”. I have always thought Prensky’s use of students being a new type of learning because they have grown up within a technological world to be very accurate and self confirming for me as a tech teacher. What I never thought of was the “Immigrant” the older class that is being divided from the students of today. If we are treating them as immigrants and refusing them access like a native we are creating a huge gap between different learners. Already some students do not want to help dad “set up an email” or understand, “MySpace” because adults are shut out of this internet world by the feelings of being inadequate or simply “too slow” to get it. There is a large chunk of people being cut out of the societal revolution that computers provide. Maybe technology has had a hard time being assimilated into mainstream learning because schools are asking teachers who feel they do not belong in the tech world already.
    At the school level more support needs to be provided to allow teachers and parent’s access to online learning. Instead of a Us vs. Them it should be a mutual learning environment where our children can teach us. Isn’t that how immigrants began to learn English? Learning through their children’s classes. The idea of students teaching adults isn’t such a new concept but an old one. Instead of looking at technology as a young person’s world it should be looked at as a new world for all.

  12. mbond
    November 11, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I don’t see any blog addresses here. I pretty sure this is the right place to provide the address to our own blogs. Here it is: http://msbond.wordpress.com/

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