Planning and writing a series of posts during the 31 Day Project was hard! But the pro was how incredibly rewarding it was — helped me focus, I reflected on my knowledge and research what I didn’t know! So I have decided that for me it is a practice that I want to continue. [image by Sydney]
So this week, I’m going to take a look at how Web 2.0 tools are being used in education. And just to give you food for thought – I decided to start off my first posts NOT TALKING about Web 2.0 and instead TALK about using technology with students.
Years ago, before I became involved in e-learning, when I was asked to take some of the aquaculture computing class it made me feel really stressed. WHY? Because these students had grown up with computers, they had used them all through school. SURELY they would leave me crying behind in their dust because they had to be absolute GENIUSES when it came to using computers compared to poor old me who still can’t to this day use a graphics calculator!
What I now know is our greatest misconceptions of the so-called digital natives (people who have grown up immersed with technology) or Generation Y’s (the Internet Generation) students relate to our belief that they have a high level of digitally literate and actually want to use technology.
The reality is our students are fantastic at using technology how they want to use it e.g. SMS or IM friends and are much more comfortable using it. They have no fear that the World is going to end if you press the wrong key or install the wrong program! But it DOESN’T make them they are good at using it how we NEED THEM to use it or that they want to USE IT!
And just in case you are planning to argue that technology levels are a reflection of the fact they are TAFE students (vocational education and training) Kate Foy is observing this with her University students (Fear of the tech god, My Adventure Continues or The Horses Are Drinking and How Digitally-Native are Gen-Y?)
My fears years ago had no basis — I have not yet meet a student who is better at using technology than me and this includes students that were required to use a laptop for every class. Saying all this however if you use technology effectively with your students and demonstrate the benefit to them it definitely does engage them.
I strongly recommend you listen to this interview with Becky Saunders on the use of technoloy with students. Becky facilitates instructional intelligence workshops for TAFE lecturers. In the interview she explains how we need to consider the needs and wants of our students when using any teaching strategy with students.
WHY did I want to talk about students digital literacy levels?
Because many lecturers that I interact with fear engaging with the use of technology with their student because of THEIR BELIEF that their students technology skill level has to be better than theirs. My advice don’t be frightened! Start by using the tools in your personal life or to manage your workload and as your skills increase you will soon see how it can be used with your students!