Digitally unaware…

I had just nine of my regular thirty, Sixth Year (12th Grade) students in class on Friday afternoon. The others were at the Higher Options Conference or on a Geography Field Trip.

I decided to give a quick tour of Google Advanced Search especially searching with the domain .edu – none of them had used the advanced search feature before.

I then asked them about iTunes U – again not used. I showed some Maths content – very interested.

I mentioned the Khan Academy – blank faces – showed the list of 2,400 videos and played one – wow! One student then checked on her iTouch – Yes – all available in iTunes.

I searched the Khan Academy using Ctrl+f – none of them had seen that keyboard shortcut before.

A quick visit to french.ie and german.ie – never used. They particularly liked the dossiers features on both sites.

Now what does this tell me?

These are all bright students who have never been introduced to the world of digital media for learning.

Some searched in YouTube for maths content and one mentioned skoool.ie but that was it – it seemed all the Internet was used for, was doing homework – not bad in itself, if they intelligently used some of the sites mentioned above.

I fear they use an answers.com approach to everything.

Teachers, students and parents must develop an active knowledge of digital content. Scoilnet does a reasonable job on what is a very busy website.

But…how do we get our students and indeed ourselves, really using digital content in a critical way to support learning?

I have started a social-bookmarking project with Transition Years using Diigo – its all a bit chaotic at the moment as I teach tagging. You can look in here.

One part of their homework was to download the diigo app to their iTouch/iPhone which most seem to have – for many of them, their first app for formal education. Interesting times.

 

 

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