A “digital immigrant” as described by Marc Prensky, is someone who grew up and went through school before the current “digital age” referred to by the NETS-T from ISTE (Prensky, 2006). He describes such immigrants as unable to fully grasp the concepts of living in a digital society, and may even have difficulty incorporating much technology into personal and professional life. I have rejected this label due to the degree to which I have been absorbed into today’s technologies. Instead, I have chosen to identify more closely with the label “digital convert” as someone who has embraced the possibilities inherent in the digital society.
Today’s students did not experience a time when computers were not commonplace in schools and a basic necessity in the workplace. Modern students have always had cell phones as part of their lives, and CDs have become secondary to flash drives for storing information. These students have grown up with so much technology that they are often astonished to find that there are low-tech (or even no tech!) methods for doing things.
This gives me an advantage as a digital convert. I have the benefit of all the modern technology, along with a vantage point that allows me some perspective. I have experience with non-technological solutions, yet can opt to use technology where appropriate. In fact, I actively choose classroom activities to provide one experience versus the other depending on the situation. While some would say that choosing the pencil-and-paper route is not in keeping with ISTE technology standards, I maintain that we must help students to be thinkers first, so that they can then use technology for their own uses. Without the ability to think independently, society becomes a slave to the technologies that we are encouraged to use.
For these reasons, I am selecting NETS-T standard 1a “promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness” to strengthen. For this standard, my G.A.M.E. plan is:
- Goal: Increase student innovation by providing choices in formative assessment situations.
- Action: Develop 3 rubrics for assessment of student mastery, to foster creative solutions while maintaining the integrity of department-wide assessments.
- Monitoring: Success will be marked by an increase in non-traditional student work on assessments. Such work may be different in format from the traditional paper tests that students may see in high school math, but the students will still demonstrate mastery of the same State of Michigan mathematics standards.
- Evaluation: Quantitative data can be collected from State MME/ACT scores from successive years to determine if State standards trend upwards, downwards, or remain unchanged.
Secondly, I have selected NETS-T standard 2b “develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to purse their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress” as an area to be strengthened. Due to the current emphasis and new State laws surrounding “merit pay,” the stakes are increasingly high for teachers. If teachers are to be paid based on measurements of student achievement, then we simply must give students more tools for improving their own education. I cannot push information into their heads, but I can work to inspire a greater love for learning and an enthusiasm for high performance.
The G.A.M.E. plan for standard 2b is:
- Goal: Increase students’ ability to drive their own learning experience through the use of technology.
- Action: Modify existing classroom methods for student self-reflection so as to include technological enhancements. Some modifications may simply be to go “paperless” with some forms. However, new activities such as developing a video log of learning, maintaining a wiki site for shared classroom knowledge, or other student-created options are more likely.
- Monitoring: Successful implementation will include an increase in the number of student-generated personal reflections on their learning.
- Evaluation: Much of the long-term impact of such reflection will not be fully realized until much later. In all likelihood, the true effects will not be seen except for those few anecdotes from students as they make their way in the world. Our global market has caused a great demand for students to be able to self-monitor, self-assess, and create new pathways based on their analysis.
Prensky, M. (2005/2006). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 8–13. Retrieved from: http://www.ascd.org/cms/objectlib/ascdframeset/index.cfm?publication=http://www.ascd.org/authors/ed_lead/el200512_prensky.html7, 345