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The Old Teacher said:

Mark Prensky calls me "Digital Immigrant" and he calls my students "Digital Natives" How can I explain my being their teacher?

As an old hat, I am aware of my being a digital immigrant and I am trying to accustom myself to the new skills related to being the new digital world citizen.

The first skill I must bother about is not how to use technology or even what for? These are no longer the questions because I know how to use almost all the devices connected to this techno-era. I often use technology to frame my lessons to look updated and modern. The objective is primarily to meet the students' interests and needs. Besides I don't want them to feel aliens in my conventional classroom.

However, the most difficult one, I should admit it, is the skill of being a multi-tasking. My students are digital natives. They are naturally able to do many tasks at the same time. For instance they can read a book while chatting on the net and listening to music all simultaneously. What I find hard for myself is that I always need, naturally as well, to concentrate on one and only one task at a time. I cannot do two things at the same time. I am still not used to using my brain's both left and right hemispheres. This generation is relying much on using their right side of the brain which we, old generation, ignore completely.

I sometimes get angry when I see a student putting those kits in their ears while doing an assignment or revising their lessons. How come they can do both without being distracted and without almost any apparent difficulty or discomfort? They eventually enjoy the music they listen to and get something from the task they do. What a totally new faculty for me. I'm trying but it is difficult.

Now the question shifts to focus on how I can exploit this new multi-tasking skill they possess in teaching them. Well, I need to change my instructional strategies to fit the digital learners' extraordinary rapid way they assimilate the world round them.
  1. They need me to cope with their approaches. As they receive instructions faster than the old generations, I have to be quick myself (which I am not used to).
  2. Because they are "screenagers", I must teach them through images, sounds, and videos rather than printed text.
  3. My instructions must include multi-tasking and networking.
  4. My teaching methods should be valid and more impact oriented by incorporating brain research.
  5. The most important of all, however; is to make learning funnier than ever and more relevant to the digital world they belong.

There are actually things my old students like to learn, this generation find very stiff and outdated. Take music for example, while I enjoy talking about country and rock 'n' roll or at least smurf, they prefer talking about rap, hip-hop, tech-tonic and underground or dancehall.

Well, well I guess it's high time I confessed my getting outdated is true; and my expertise and savoir-faire are no longer needed, so what do you think I am doing. Quitting before it is too late? OR try to bridge the digital age divide by:
  1. Trying to understand?
  2. Looking for a new paradigm?
  3. Blogging & Networking?
  4. Making them write right?
  5. Creating a Writing Workshop?
  6. Conducting Mini-Book Projects for Beginners?
  7. Trying to defeat the 'WRITING' Ogre?
  8. Teaching them thinking critically
  9. Teaching them Critical Reading
  10. Teaching them Critical Writing
  11. Simply prepare them for the future    
  12. This is Generation Y
  13. Being 3 times the age of your students
  14. Teaching Digital Citizenship Skills
  15. Using Emojis for teaching them    
  16. Teaching them paraphrasing for better communication    
  17. Allowing them to make "Better" mistakes    
There are a lot more things to do, the old teacher went on, and «I must re-order my priorities according to the age where priorities themselves are getting wobbly and unsteady. Priorities shift and interchange ranks and positions and orders so quickly that sometimes you feel unable to catch up with the swiftness of change and feel helpless. Digital students look slower in understanding and assimilating than the old generation; they even often look unintelligent and retarded or careless and out of control. You might have wondered why! You know why? To my mind it is because we are not communicating with them on the same wave length. We still use the older ways that worked with the previous generations. We still cannot realize they require new ways, techniques and learning environment that fit their era and their newly acquired skills that just a few years ago they were unknown to us. They aren't afforded the most appropriate and the most reliable methods, curricula and teaching material through which they can connect with us permanently and efficiently. The problem is in the interactive devices. I mean the problem dwells in the incompatibility between the transmitter (teaching approaches) and the receiver (learning strategies)./. With »

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Thought of the week:
"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow."!"   ~ John Dewey
Quote of the week:
"If a child canít learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn".   ~ -Ignacio Estrada ~

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