Our currently learning theme (early childhood units are designed around themes) is plants. We just started and I'm working on planning a week of lessons about germination. Right now I'm designing a ShowMe presentation for my kids to engage with while they sequence cut out pictures of the process of germination. It is amazing how my kids are drawn to technology with a sense of wonder yet familiarity. They always want to play with the ipad, look at themselves on the ipad, or "play a game on my iphone." I laugh recalling about when we were sharing about what we wanted for Christmas one of my kids asked for an ipad and an iphone (at four years old). Yesterday we went on our first field trip and on the bus I sat next to one of my kids that is usually a bit all over the place. At one point I pulled out my phone to check the time and he asked to look at it and hold it. I've been working on developing a trusting relationship with this particular kid who has been a bit of a handful and also engaging him in conversation to work on his receptive and expressive language so I acquiesced. He opened the camera on the phone and starting taking pictures of us. I watched him navigate the camera app without any hesitation from taking a picture to going to look at the picture he just took without asking how to do that, to scrolling through the multiple pictures he took. It was amazing really watching the ease with which he used the technology. This child often has difficultly understanding the world around him and expressing himself or understanding things that others say. Yet he demonstrated such fluency in this technology...the same technology that I've at times been frustrated by...the same technology that I've seen adults not be able to become fluent in despite repeated efforts. A colleague of mine sent me this article today which I thought was appropriate given my observations of how my kids use and almost inherently understand technology. http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf
"Digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been,
and that the same methods that worked for the teachers when they were students will
work for their students now. But that assumption is no longer valid."
Even at 25 years old, and having grown up with a good amount of technology around me, I am still a digital immigrant according to this article. I learned and may have become fluent. But my kids...they are digital natives. And I need to make sure that I am teaching in their native language, teaching in a way that is new and exciting rather than obvious.
I'm working on figuring out how to incorporate as much technology (on at times limited resources or availability) into my lessons with my "digital natives" in order to make their learning more relevant and engaging.