Enhancing the Classroom With Digital Modeling

The last few days I have been thinking about technology and how it is truly playing a major role in the classroom. I watched a segment on 60 minutes on Sunday about the Kahn Academy and I read an article yesterday I believe in the Washington Post about teaching kids to be digital citizens. First, I want to make it clear I am not going to ramble on about Kahn Academy. I know for a fact it upsets a lot of people and the idea of flipping the classroom is still in its infant stages or at least I feel that it is. It seems to me there are still some things wrong with the idea and I am not going to get into that here. The only comment I want to make about Kahn Academy is it doesn’t do any modeling of reading and writing in the online sessions. Enough said there.

The other day I sat down and had lunch with my mentor and colleague. I had to give a lot of thought about our conversation prior to our lunch. Despite the fact we want our students to use technology, and there definitely is a place for technology in our student’s lives, we need to remember we are the adults and the teacher. It is true, there are too many adults, including educators that are whipping out their phones and checking them in class, professional development, and while they are in line at the grocery store. I am not saying I am innocent of these accusations from time to time, but what is frustrating is watching professionals who scold students every day about being on their cell phone or keeping their cell phone put away, and then seeing these same adults pull out their cell phone during a professional development session and vigorously text, surf the Internet, or play games. We can’t hold our students to expectations that we ourselves are not willing to follow. It seems digital natives have not been given proper instructions on how to handle the devices they come into contact with each and every day. Essentially, they need digital modeling by teachers, parents, and other important adults in their lives.

In my opinion, if we as educators are crying to use more technology in our classroom, we need to model for our students when it is appropriate. Just today I heard on the news that 62% of students ages 6-15 are more likely to find the answer to a question on Google rather than ask their parents. Upon asking my students about what was more accessible, the Internet or their parents, it is evident students rely more and more on the internet. As troubling as this might seem, we still have a responsibility to teach today’s youth how to be responsible digital citizens. After all, technology and digital tools are meant to enhance our student’s learning, they are not meant to be a toy plopped in front of them for entertainment purposes.


2 thoughts on “Enhancing the Classroom With Digital Modeling

  1. I love this post…I teach kindergarten and all of the students in our school have iPads. Even my 5 year old students will say, “Can’t we just do our writing on the iPad?” While I agree the digital literacy is important, it is just as import that my students learn how to write using paper and pencil also. We do some of both. It is important that we model for our students in many ways…including digitally.

  2. I see more and more “copy cut and paste” going on with regards to Googling and research. Students are told to do research, but not taught how to research. Students are asked to use technology, but not taught how to be digital citizens. There are rules that they must learn and abide by in classrooms before using those tools. Likewise, educators are forced to use technology in their classroom, either as a new tool or justification for having it. Teachers need to learn to be digital citizens as well. AND, parents need to be educated on what their student should be doing when it comes to all of the above. They assume they are “working on a paper” without knowing what they are doing. I often use this site http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html for information to share with students and parents, as well as educators.

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