Tomorrow marks the start of a new school year. My job title might have changed but the focus remains the same. How do we prepare student for today’s digital world?

I had a chance last week to introduce myself to the high school staff. It happened to be right after a discussion on cell phones in the classroom. A discussion that our new Dean of Students Dennis Harter gave loud and clear. Tell kids to turn them off, or use them for learning.

During his introduction to the high school I counted no less than three cell phones going off. Teachers who hate having students with their cell phones on in class, are not willing to turn theirs off when they are the students….why?….because we feel a need to be connected. So I introduced myself to the staff by simple asking. How many of you actually turned off your phones before entering the meeting today? I had about 10 hands go up. 10 out of 100 teachers, about the same amount of students who don’t bring it to class.

I then simple smiled and said, “You have to love the connected world we live in.”

This past week as teacher’s prepared for students to come tomorrow I spent my time helping some move to our new cultural center buiding, and others just getting connected. I had e-mails that stated the following:

– My SmartBoard isn’t working and I need it by Monday

– My computer won’t connect to the Internet and I need resources by Monday

– My projector’s bulb needs replacing, can I have that by Monday?

and my personal favorite

– Please have my Internet connected by Monday I can’t teach without it.

You see we live in connected times. Teachers rely on technology to teach, yet when students enter our classes we expect them to put their’s away to learn. We don’t, and I know, we’re different……right?

Yes…..if the technology is a distraction it needs to be put away. Same goes for teaching! But when used appropriately it opens up opportunities to teaching and learning that only this generation has ever had access to. If we feel we cannot teach without a computer, and the Interent, why do we feel our kids can learn without it?

Every student should have access to a computer and the Internet, just like they have access to a pencil and paper. It’s 2010 and it’s time we start realizing that access to content has changed, connections are key, and creation of new ideas is the future.

I believe Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google summed up our new world perfectly last week:

We create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.

That’s the world we enter as we start the 2010-2011 school year. Now tell me things aren’t different.

Here’s to another school year and preparing students for their future!

I’ve been thinking the last couple weeks about the culture of technology. What got me thinking was Kim Cofino’s K12online Pre-Conference Keynote: Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education

Flickr ID: Barnesworth Anubis
Flickr ID: Barnesworth Anubis

In her presentation she discusses Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and you hear from many different individuals who live and work internationally. Many of them talk about living in different cultures, learning to adapt, and learning to become part of that culture as you learn and work within it.

I know the Digital Native vs Digital Immigrant debate has been raging for years, but I wonder if it’s not a debate between those who were born into a time with computers and those who were not, but rather those that have adapted to the digital culture.

Age is not a factor when it comes to adapting to a new culture, but rather your willingness to adapt. Your willingness to change, and to appreciate differences. Each individual decides for them self to what degree they are willing to adapt.

For example, here in Thailand I speak enough Thai to get home in a taxi. I took lessons last year but have not kept up with them and am comfortable with that level of adaptiveness to this culture. Could things be easier if I learned more Thai? For sure, but at the moment I have what I need to get by in this culture.

The same would hold true to the technology culture. You learn just enough browsing skills to find information, learn just enough computer skills to get by.

Or we fully adapt, like many that read this blog, we fully adapt to the culture, the culture intrigues us and we want to learn more about it, and become part of that culture.

I encourage you to watch and listen to Kim’s Pre-Conference Keynote. If you’ve already watched it, watch it again and be thinking about technology as a culture and see if you see similarities to how people adapt to this digital age.

A presentation to Middle School parents around technology and their children. Helping parents understand that today’s students are different. Their brains process information differently and the digital world they live in is different then the world we grew up in. Shift happens, and learning to deal with the changes facing our world and how to help your child be successful in it is something educators, parents, and the larger community need to work together on in harmony.

Links for this presentation:

Before viewing and listening to this portion of the presentation please visit The Fisch Bowl and download and watch Did You Know


The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future




The audio is attached. It’s a 1 hour presentation and discussion with parents. You can download the Power Point Growing up Digital here.

[tags]presentation, education, myspace, Internet safety, digital age, millennials[/tags]

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