Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Podcast: Student Technology Use at Home and at School

This podcast includes interviews with three fourth grade students that are classified as “digital natives”, and contains their answers to serveral questions about their technology use. Their responses to these questions have proven that today, in fact we do have “a growing gap between what today’s students do in school and what they do at home” (Miners & Pascopella, 2007). What is most surprising is the fact that these students are spending four hours or more using technology at home, and only using technology at school to take Accelerated Reader tests, or use Grammar Blast. As educators we must first identify this as a problem, and then take action. There are so many ways we can incorporate technology into the classroom, we just need to do it.

Dr. Thornburg states in the video “Today’s Students” that we have to think “nothing less than one to one computing”, meaning we need to have students on the computers learning individually and collaboratly in order to meet their needs (Laureate, 2008). He also mentioned that students that spend more time using technology at school see an increase in their grades and are able to grasp information at a quicker pace than those that use only paper and pencil. Obviously we need to find a balance between technology use and paper and pencil instruction. The most important thing is that we are doing what is best for our students. We can see clearly that what grasps their attention is video games, television, etc. We need to find out how to use that to our advantage. There are so many great websites, blogs, and wikis that have already been created, we just need to use them.

I love what Alan November states in his article “Banning Student ‘Containers’”, when talking about different forms of technology. “It will be the courageous educator who works with students to explore the power of these tools and in turn empowers stduents to be lifelong learners and active shapers of a world we cannot yet imagine” (November, 2008). That statement is so powerful. Is that not what education is all about? Having read these articles, viewing the video clip above, and completing this research on student technology use, my eyes have been opened to so much. Educators have the abilitiy to change the lives of their students, which is a big responsibility. Now, more than ever we need to focus on how to best reach that goal. Is it with technology? I would say absolutely.
Resources:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. Skills for the 21st Century [Motion picture]. Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society. Baltimore: Author.

Miners, Z., & Pascopella, A. (2007). The new literacies. District Administration, 43(10), 26–34. Used by permission.

November, A. (2007). Banning student 'containers'. Technology & Learning. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/article/7468.

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