Monday, April 14, 2008

Digital Natives?

Today I had the honor of presenting Audacity (open-source audio recording software) to students attending an area HS computer fair. To my surprise the majority of the students had not heard of podcasts. As my presentations concluded I had extra time so I thought I would open up the discussion to web2.0 tools. As I began to talk of blogs and wikis I got many blank stares. With everything I have been reading and discovering within the last 9 months, students have been referred to as "digital natives." Suddenly I realized that I had to back up and punt. For most of the students I was speaking a foreign language.

This helps to clarify and intensify, for me, the need to address 21st century learning and NOT to make assumptions. Many of my teachers are discovering that they need to teach basic computer skills before they can begin to use the computer as a learning tool. Perhaps the digital divide was larger than I thought!

I am truly curious... is anyone discovering this, or is our situation in northeast PA unique. (We are quite rural and many families are still on dial-up internet.)