Children today are not born with an umbilical cord, but a computer cord. Kids aren’t the way they use to be. How many times have you caught yourself thinking or saying this?
Although a wide variety of scholars, such as Marc Prensky have noted the importance of integrating technology in classrooms in the development of 21st century student skills, addressing first and second order barriers to change has proven to be complex, challenging, and mostly unrealized. Still it can be argued that the future success of the students in the 21st century is dependant on the (triangulation) development of personal skills, critical thinking and technological fluency.
However, since simply providing technology to schools has not always had the desired result, instructional leadership that supports staff learning, risk-taking and acknowledges the complexities and challenges of change stands to have a positive effect to our teaching practice. The purpose of this paper is to examine ways that effective risk taking in teacher practice stands to have a significant effect on the engagement and increase in student success. The implications that appropriate change in teacher practice through development of 21st century skills in our classrooms will result in student success.
Digital Natives are they really different?
Mark Prensky (2001) has coined the phrase Digital Natives versus Digital Immigrants. To put it simply, Digital Natives (DN) have always had the new technology (cell phones, video games, digital music, computers) while Digital Immigrants (DI) have come into these things later on in life and have had to learn “it” above and beyond the old ways they had of doing things. Is there a difference? Children today are born into a digital world and use technology from a young age. The Digital Native/Learner finds technology engaging therefore, technology is a part of daily practice. According to Mark Prensky, by the age of 21 the Digital Native will have:
played more than 10,000 hours of video games
sent and received 250,000 emails and texts
spent 10,000 hours on phones
watched more than 20,000 hours of TV
seen more than 500,000 commercials (Prensky 2001, p.1).
What are the implications of digital bombardment? Prensky (2001) argues that students think and process information fundamentally different from their predecessors. These different experiences lead to different brain structure. The consequence of digital bombardment is that the brain is adapting to accommodate the technology that is engulfing our lives. According to Gary Small author of iBrain, (2008) the generation gap refers to more than differences in values and beliefs, this generation actually has a “brain gap”. A brain gap, “...points to an actual evolutionary change in the wiring of today’s younger minds- a change in neural circuitry that is fundamentally different from that of their parents and grandparents” (Small, & Vorgan, 2008, p. 24). Digital...