<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d6074633\x26blogName\x3dVirtual+High+School+Meanderings\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://mkbnl.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://mkbnl.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d8679109483413366866', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Repost from the AECT BlogTrack - What Are Virtual Schools Doing For Digital Natives?

hThis entry from the AECT BlogTrack is the second entry from the month of July and the sixteenth overall in the re-posts from this series.

Okay, first of all I apologize that it has been two weeks since my last post (i.e., June Non-Research Entries) - it won’t happen again.

This evening I was checking my e-mail and on daily Yahoo! alert for cyber school alerted me to a news item that I found interesting.

MasterNewMedia.org Tue, 18 Jul 2006 1:22 AM PDT

“Teaching and learning are changing with the Internet. Students are by and large vastly more digitally literate than many of their instructors. This is a generation that was born to and came of age online. The Internet and technology, in many cases, appears second nature for most. Therefore, setting learning outcomes and educational objective must be concomitant with student behavior. We have…
This is what I saw, listed among a dozen other news items that had nothing to do with cyber schooling (one of the unfortunate features of the Yahoo! alert - that is searches for cyber and school, not “cyber school”).
In any regard, this particular news item got me thinking back to previous posts that I have made on the topic of digital natives (see Do Digital Natives Exist? and Research on Digital Natives). In this news item, which actually describes a series of entries from a class blog for a public journalism class, he makes the statement:

“how important it is that the new academics leverage new communication technologies to meet and challenge students in their new natural habitat: the online world.”
I have to wonder if that is what virtual schooling is doing. Let’s forgot about the automatic assumption that digital natives do exist and that all of the students we have in our classrooms and schools today are included into that category and ask the question, are cyber and virtual schools leveraging new communications technologies when they challenge their students?

I don’t know… I mean one would think that virtual schools would be ideally suited to do this, but it has been my experience that they haven’t. For example, the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) is the professional organization for those involved with virtual schooling. They have recently created a blog, TOTOL NACOL, where one of the first entries was a question to their member: What are the most useful tools you have discovered in your online learning experience? What happened when you started to use them? In reading the responses thus far, I see: availability of the instructor, using an asynchronous discussion forum, simply simulations, digital literacy, maximizing resources and access, providing school-based support, instant messaging, and an inviting instructor.
While I don’t want to be insulting to some who are actually fellow colleagues, but other than instant messaging, what from that list couldn’t be done in a traditional classroom with the students that we have these days (I mean how many classroom-based college courses utilize a WebCT discussion forum)? I the original article I referenced, the author talked about things like blogs, wikis, podcasts, video blogs, screencasts, and RSS feeds. Even when I look at Prensky’s work, as he was the one who termed the label digital native, he talks about cell phone and instant messaging usage, along with gaming (particularly these massive multi-player online games).
So, I guess that brings us back to two basic questions:
  1. Do digital natives exist (and if so, how do we define them)?
  2. Given their unique position of being in the digital world, what are virtual schools doing to cater to these digital natives?

Tags: , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home