Friday, October 12, 2007


Today's learners are best described as:

  • multiprocessers
  • multimedia literate
  • knowledge constructionists/connectionists
  • visionaries who act on their visions
  • connected 24/7
  • impatient with delays
In other words, today's learners are a new breed. I see myself in that list, bolstering my idea that I am not a digital immigrant, but an illegal digital alien. How many things are you doing right now? The learners in my school agree that they do five things at once and so do I.
Are school classes need to recognise this. We need to stop viewing new technologies as bad things that have no educational value. A teacher told me yesterday that there was no educational use for iPods. Oh my. Even if learners only listen to music while writing, research backs that up. As I write this, I am listening to podcasts, checking twitter, ignoring my RSS, making last minute changes to lesson plans posted on the blogs, checking email, and drinking coffee.
As Warlick alludes, the boundaries are now not clearly delineated. Education is not linear any longer. Education is looped, networked, global, outside the box. Our classrooms in k12 need to reflect the way all learners learn best. Oh, btw, there is a reason to use a laptop in school. I've heard the opposite in my school - really.
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Reference: Conole, G. (2007, October 11). Digital Kids. Retrieved October 12, 2007 from


NJTechTeacher said...

I am not multi-talented in this respect. I had to leave the fireside chat because I was on the phone and couldn't handle the scrolling chat, etc and the phone call.

...but I really like "illegal digital alien"!

Laura said...

I agree with you that educators need to stop looking at new technology as a bad thing. Just look at an iPod; you can do so much more with it than just use it for music. I want to be a French teacher and an iPod would be a great tool for me. I can have the students load tracks of oral exercises onto their iPod so they can listen to them repeatedly whenever they want. This freedom would allow me to focus on other aspects of the language in the classroom, instead of having to spend 30 minutes playing a CD with exercises on it. It would also give the students the ability to listen to the tracks multiple times till they understand what it is saying. Instead of listening to the track once in class and trying to guess what it is saying.

Teachers need to embrace the new technology that is dominating their student’s lives. If they don’t they will soon have problems reaching their students and being able to keep them focused in the classroom.

Chris Williamson said...

It is funny that you mention multi-tasking while using technology. I was just browsing through your blog while talking on Skype, doing research for a class, and checking on the status of a book I had ordered online. I think since doing these tasks all at once has become habit we do not stop to look at what we are really doing. I totally agree when you make mention on how some look at this as a problem but the truth is far from it. This "multi-everything" will now be something that will be on my mind from now on whenever I log into my computer.