Student Perspectives on Digital Natives & Technology in Schools

Yesterday was the last #Edchat of the year and it definitely ranked as one of my favorites. During the 12pm EST/ 5pm GMT #Edchat, we discussed:

Is the idea of digital native really a myth? Do most kids today already have the skills and knowledge to master technology for learning?

We were fortunate to have students join this conversation. I would like to thank Tinashe Blanchet (@Mrsblanchetnet) and Angel Gelle Dozier (@Gellesastar) for having their students join the conversation. This was a unique opportunity to get the student perspective on the idea of the Digital Native Theory and some of their responses were quite surprising. I hope they will join us again for another #Edchat because discussions about education need to have varied perspectives from the various educational stakeholders involved.

What Do the Students Think?

As a moderator I took the opportunity of interviewing the students during the discussion to get their ideas on the use of technology in schools. These were some of the insights from the conversation:

  • The 6th graders seemed more excited about using Facebook and cellphones for learning
  • The high school students seemed to believe that these tools would be abused
  • Both groups confirmed that their parents for the most part were unhappy about the impact of technology in their lives

These insights suggest we need to educate both parents and students in the use of technology in schools. Gellesastar‘s 6th graders suggested we involve parents by having online PTA meetings so that the parents see how effective technology can be. I think teachers can be very proactive about getting parents and students to understand the benefits of using certain technologies for learning by holding parent workshops that demonstrate what technologies will be used and how, blogging about student projects, publishing student work, creating video tutorials that show parents how to use the technologies, and being transparent about how they use technology to help students learn.
Here are the responses from the high school students and 6th graders:

Students on Edchat 1Students on Edchat 2

@Gellesastar‘s 6th graders were so excited about the idea of learning through Facebook and cellphones they stood up and applauded in the classroom! They were even motivated to add more responses in a Google Doc. Here is the screenshot of that Google Doc:

6th grade responses

Ask your students the same questions. How do they feel about using cellphones or Facebook for learning? Do they believe they are digital natives?

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What are your thoughts about the students’ comments?

Screenshots taken from the collected conversations aggregated by!

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