Fourth Graders know

So I still have Shirky’s post running through my head.

Here’s something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here’s something four-year-olds know: Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change. Because four year olds, the people who are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won’t have to go through the trauma that I have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching Gilligan’s Island, they just assume that media includes consuming, producing and sharing.

When today I head into a 4th grade class to talk about cyber safety (the school counselor talked me into it 😉 ).

As we were wrapping up I asked the kids, “How old do you think the Internet is?”

“50?”
“20?”

Counselor: “What!” laughing “No way!”

“15?”

Me: “Well actually the web as we know it today got started in 1996.”

Students:
“What! That’s it?”
“No Way!”

Every student but one has their own cell phone
Every student raised their hand when I asked if they go on the Internet at least once a week.
Every student has an mp3 player

To reword Shirky from above:

Here’s something fourth graders know: Media is free, content is free, it’s always been that way. Here’s something fourth graders know: Information that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change. Because fourth graders, the students we’re teaching are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won’t have to go through the trauma that we have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching (Insert favorite sitcom), they just assume that information is consumable, producible and sharable.

And that’s just the way it is!

What interested me the most is in all six of the classes, as soon as I start talking about technology they all get that look….teachers know the one…..the one of complete attention, of wanting to know and wanting to share what they know.

We talk about all their favorite sites, we talk about who has this gaming console and who has that one. We talk about cell phones…and when they are really excited, we talk about staying safe on the web. What do you share, what not to share, were are the “cool places” and where should you not go.

One fourth grade lied and is on Facebook

Three others have older siblings who are under 13 and are on Facebook.

Ladies and Gentlemen we’re missing opportunities here to teach with the tool they so desperately want to use and want to learn. I could have asked them to write about their favorite features on their cell phones. To write a letter to their parents about why they should get an iPhone (persuasive writing).

We could have discussed the lastest podcast from ?????

We could have discussed the latest developments in Club Penguin.

We can do so much with what they are excited about. So many opportunities to bring learning into what they are doing, what they want to be doing, a where they are and want to spend their time. Opportunities….so many opportunities.