Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Conversation with a Digital Native

This afternoon I had an interesting conversation with my niece, age 11, sixth grader in a middle school and very much a digital native. She has lots of tech toys and is very much a multitasker as I observed text messaging on the cell, IMing with friends, online games, especially webkinzs, surfing the web as well as carrying on a face-to-face conversation with me.

I got her talking about what she likes to do when she's using the computer. She's had several computer projects that she has done in school and likes her tech class again this year. They're working on editing graphics in photoshop right now for a calendar project.

I told her that I was taking a class on emerging instructional technologies and that I been writing in a blog regularly, writing in a wiki, produced a podcast and had an avatar in Second Life. Her reaction was one of great surprise -- you know how to do that?! she remarked with this look of disbelief on her face. Yes - why are you so surprised I asked? Because you're old Aunt Lois!

I did find out that You Tube "rocks" and again she was surprised that I knew about it. The conversation this afternoon got me thinking about the article I read by Chris Dede from Educause on neoMillennials and their learning styles. My niece has grown up with tech toys in all varities, shapes, and sizes. She is easily bored by more traditional classroom activities -- ie sit and read a paper text or fill out a paper worksheet, but is excited about using multiple forms of technology and media.
To read more about Dede's work on the changing learning styles, see So as I think about this conversation I wonder what those challenges will be when this neo-millennial group ends up in the college classroom -- which will be in another seven years!

Still the digital immigrant...Lois

1 comment:

Dr. Z said...

Very insightful (or inciting) posting, Lois. It is always good to talk with real kids about real technology. They certainly humble us . . . unless you are the Old Hip Auntie Lois.