Friday, October 7, 2016

Lets Face It- They Are Smarter Than We Are!

     Let's all say it together. They are smarter than we are. Well, in all fairness they are smarter than we give them credit for. They outsmart us often. I think we all know who I am talking about. Our students.

     We were reminded of this fact this week when the DIFs (Digital Integration Facilitators) were presented with some students that have figured a way around one of the softwares that we use. It wasn't life or death or crashing any systems or networks. In fact it was quite entertaining watching a group of technology "experts" try to figure out how some middle school and high school students had outsmarted us. Now granted, we probably could've figured it out earlier if we were totally focused on doing this very thing every day like our students are. 

     Why would students feel compelled to find a way around a software? What does this have to do with teachers and education?

     Well everything actually. The first step in solving the problem of student distractibility is admitting that they are smarter than we are. These students are digital natives. They were born with this stuff. Point in fact, I am already scoping out robots that I can buy my daughter that is still 4 months from being born. These are the students that we are teaching. A lot of our students had computers and ipads in their hands before they could read. In fact some learned to read with the help of ipads. Long gone are the days where students are entertained by worksheets or flashcards. 

Am I saying that everything that teachers are currently doing is wrong? No. Am I saying that we as teachers have to work harder to engage our students in learning? Yes.  

It is most definitely NOT why they come to us every day. They come to us to learn. They come to us to be enriched. They come to us for guidance. It is our responsibility to know who we are as teachers and to know who they are as students. That is why we have DIFs in schools isn't it? Because schools recognize that there is a need for technological guidance for both teachers and students. 

I had a teacher come to me last week with a very pointed question. "How can I made the periodic table interesting and lasting for my kiddos?" What a great question! These are the questions that the technology integration staff members can help you with . That is what we live for. How can we as educators reach the minds and curiosity of our students with the same material that we learned from worksheets so many years ago? 

Lets face it. When it comes to technology most of our students are smarter than we are. Do we as educators have all the answers? No. Whether or not you use technology every day or once a week, knowing what drives our students and what sets them apart from students even 5-10 years ago will go a long way to helping meet students on their level. Its what they need from us. 

If you aren't sure where you fall on the Digital Native scale here is a quiz. You might be surprised!

Beth Alderson
Digital Integration Facilitator- Moore County Schools

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