Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ISTE 2012 Lessons Learned – My Soap Box Moment

In the ISTE 2012 opening Keynote on Sunday afternoon Mark Prensky declared that the war is over and that the Digital Natives have won.  And while his presentation was both compelling and entertaining, he has committed the grievous act of over generalization which may ultimately leave many students floundering in new 1:1 programs. 

Children born in this day and age have a very high level of exposure to technology.  Because of that, assumptions are made regarding the ability of children to quickly adapt to new technologies and apps.  And while this may be the case for the majority it is definitely not the case for all.
There are many kids who come to school in Kindergarten or First Grade and their only experience with computing technology is with an iPad, iPhone or other touch device.  This would be great if the school were implementing a 1:1 program with iPads.  But what if your school was using laptops, or requiring time in a computer lab?  The image of Scotty talking into a mouse immediately comes to mind (Star Trek).  Imagine this 5 or 6 year old sitting at their computer and wondering why they can’t get to any of their apps when they touch the screen.  And while most of these children can learn to use the other devices and applications some may struggle.
In this day and age where we are looking to technology to help boost differentiation let us not use technology to hinder it.  As an IT Director, the idea of BYOD gives me nightmares, but maybe there is something to dealing with the headaches to better serve the our students.

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