We confuse kids’ facility with technology with fluency. We go on about how “tech-savvy” kids are, how the “digital natives” outpace us oldsters in what they can do. In my experience, kids who really know what they are doing technology are the exceptions, the rest of them just muddle through, doing just enough to get by. They just do it quickly, don’t get married to one service or system, and don’t get upset when things don’t work.
Digital natives are completely different than previous generations? Oh please. Of course we need to treat them differently. Every child is different, not just generationally, but individually. Of course that means a teacher has to be aware of their worldview — when has this not been true?
We wonder why students don’t have good information literacy skills, but we reap what we sow. School has traditionally set itself up to be the single, unquestioned authority – teacher, curriculum, textbook, test — all taking place in a closed classroom, the beginning, middle and end of what the student needs.
So before, kids could NOT go to the library and NOT search out primary sources and NOT find the dozens of resources that might be out there. Today, kids can NOT search effectively and NOT learn about millions of resources–really, what’s changed?
Kids have always skimmed and crammed, because you can easily complete superficial assessments that way. In fact, it’s sometimes better if you don’t think too hard, you might confuse yourself with too complex thinking on simple test questions. Now, kids just skim a lot more stuff a lot faster and more easily share their skimming with their other friends, not unlike the well-worn Cliff Notes we passed around back in the day.
We dazzle ourselves with new technology, pretending that something has changed and that by studying this change, we will magically find solutions to problems that have nothing to do with the change.