"You can't spell teach without T-E-C-H"

"You can't spell teach without T-E-C-H" (Kevin Jarrett,2008)

Education was an easy establishment to define in the past. Today, we have to rethink and redefine what education, student, teacher are and we have to answer this question : What is it like to be a 21st century student?

Technology has always played an important role in education but the immense change in technology and the growing presence of the internet have changed our students more than ever for the last decade. Today's students grow up with developing technology, access to internet anytime, anywhere available. They have become familiar with mobile phones, computers, digital cameras, console games etc. as soon as they were born. As a result of all these innovations, our students are no longer thinking and getting the information as they may have had in the past. Technology has influenced our students the way they learn, get the information, think and interact.They have become collaborative, autonomous, exploratory and connected learners. Our education system, curriculum and the approaches we believe in are not effective anymore because 21st century students have already found new ways to learn and improve themselves. Marc Prensky coined this term "Digital Natives". They are today's learners and our students at schools. They are the native speakers of the digital age and developing technology. They are fluent in using computers, internet, mobile phones, messaging and console gaming. Connectivity means a lot to them. They are the ones who are always on and connected. As a result of their interaction with technology everyday, they are increasingly web-literate. the rest is the Digital Immigrants who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with technology that digital natives use. Being a digital native doesn't necessarily mean that you will always be. In my opinion, all teachers need to be more familiar with the growing technology because this is the only way to become a digital native. First we need to use and explore the technology personally; than we will find the best ways to integrate it into our teaching to communicate, create and collborate.

Using technology in our classes can help our students become better problem solvers, constant explorers, more autonomous learners, interactive and collaborative. Technology helps to collaborate in global projects, it provides authentic material and is a good way to improve writing and listening skills as well as communication abilities. It updates us. Our students are always eager to use tecnology at schools because it reflects their lives. They are already using it. They mail each other everyday, they send messages via mobile phones, they complete online information everyday, they chat and they spend most of their lives online.

Our curriculums and methodologies we use will always improve. New approaches will be popular and adopted, new goals will be added and our digital native students will always be evolving and changing rapidly as techies. Education, competition and skills are changing. "We are no longer teaching if what we teach is more important than who we teach or how we teach" (Carol Tomlinson,Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom) Our students have already surpassed the limits of our education systems. We should keep the traditional content that works and helps our learners in our curriculums but we should also include the future, the future is digital and it enhance learning. This takes time of course. For us, as teachers, not only using powerpoints as the only tool; and for our students learning to use technology in an effective way. Tecnology is a way of life and a necessity and we should be ready to handle this. It's a long journey and there are a lot to be done not to lose anything on the way.

I'm not a digital native because I was born in 80's and nor an immigrant. I'm somewhere in the middle but I strongly believe the importance of engaging ourselves as teachers and our students as much as we can in technology. What about you? Are you a native or an immigrant? I look forward to reading your comments.

You can read this article "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" from Marc Prensky for further reading. You can also watch this video. There are many versions of it but this is the latest one.

Regards and all the best;

Özge

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Comments

Hi everyone

Fantastic discussion and so many interesting voices being heard. I think that the major lesson we can take from this is: never take innovations for granted.When discussing technologies or new pedagogies we should always take into consideration multiple levels of interaction and multiple contexts, such as the ones ChrisE, Joe, Hala and Higino mentioned:

- access is not even in different regions around the world

- the digital divide is not only among developed/developing countries but also among students/students, students/teachers and teachers/teachers - it is indeed a much more complex picture

- there is a need to start thinking about teachers digital education before moving into the level of teacher-student

- use of technlogy does not guarantee new pedagogical practices and if we are not careful it may even reinforce old ones.

Lots of food for thought.

Thanks Özge for bringing all this up with your blog post.

Cheers

Chris Lima

Dear Chris;

I completely agree with what you wrote "There is a need to start thinking about teachers digital education before moving into the level of teacher-student".

There are so many courses for English teachers online and free. One of them is the Electronic Village Online Session. I'm a big fan of these sessions and this is my third year on EVO. I've learnt so many things about digital world, developing technologies and Web 2.0 and have met with so many English teachers. All the moderators are helpful and nice. I suggest everyone have a look at the website. http://evosessions.pbwiki.com/FrontPage

Özge

 

Dear Özge:

It´s very nice to greet you! I am Paula from Argentina and I was the previous Guest Teacher on the site. I have read this first article and I was very interested in the EVO site you suggested and immediately enrolled in one of the workshops, the baw09. Unluckily the workshop has already started a month ago, but I will try to follow the activities prepared for this week and see if I can catch up with the previous ones once the workshop is over.

I quite agree with you that teachers should accept the challenge to learn about the new technologies and especially about their application to EFL teaching. It is true that most of our students are far more skillful with ICT, but I also think that they are willing to share their knowledge with their teachers and it is our responsibility to face this reality and be ready to learn. And I dare to say this, even about the teachers who teach in underdeveloped contexts, because it is in their hands to keep updated, facing the new challenges that our profession is constantly introducing.

I will continue reading your posts, and we will surely "meet" virtually in the EVO workshops! Good luck with your work in the site and receive my greetings from Argentina!

Paula

Dear Paula,

Thank you very much for your comment. I have read all your blog entries about CLIL and I am very much impressed with what you have written.

I am happy that you are in BaW! I am also taking it and I've learnt a lot from this year's session. I'm sure you will benefit a lot.

"And I dare to say this, even about the teachers who teach in underdeveloped contexts, because it is in their hands to keep updated, facing the new challenges that our profession is constantly introducing."

I can't agree more with what you have written. I also believe, to engage our students into new developing technologies, first teachers should engage themselves, see the point in using them in education and lead their students.

I'll meet you at BaW09 :)

Cheers

Özge

 

I've come across with a slideshow about 21st Century Learner. Here is the link. You can have a look it. I really like the sentence : "The real skills that must be developed involve doing rather than simply knowing."  Technology can help us about it.

Özge

Hi Chris,

 

Like you I´m Brazilian and also concerned with the great amount of students who lack the opportunity of having acess to technology; the digital destitutes, or rather, "digitaless". Therefore, here in our country,teachers are faced with two big challenges: to defeat word  and digital illiteracy! What is sad  is that the equipment is usually available at state schools but they are not being used! Teachers don´t know how to use them and are not receiving  decent  digital educational development. This is a matter of political initiative that won´t be easily solved until our politicians  start taking the Educational issue seriously! English is also being widely neglected in state schools.

Love,

Monica

 

Hi Hala,

 

 You have raised a good point! We also have this resistance from some  teachers! In fact, as they belong to the old generation, some of them don´t see the need to be open to this new technology! "What for ?" they might say, "if I´ve been teaching for such a long time without it." They don´t seem to know that the teaching has also changed and that 21 century students needs`are different from the last century students´needs. That is why , in my opinion, there should be continuos education for the educators so that they could progress with the world changes and demands

Love,

Monica

Hi Ozge,

Thanks for your entries and the nice suggested article by Prensky and the video! I am a  typical case of a digital immigrant teacher! Computer first came into my life in the early 90ies, when I was in my early thirties, past the age of acquisition! Despite my strong accent, every day I ´ve been brushing it up! Like you, I feel the importance of being attuned to the needs of the digital natives!  Your blog has been helping me to achieve this! I´ve been connecting to your sites suggestions and  feel like Alice in the cyberland! Thanks for the pleasant moments you are offering me and  for sharing all your expertise with us, (my students and I)

Love,

Monica

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