Welcome to the 21st Century

Most of us have met them. If we teach in independent schools, higher decile schools or teach in more privilaged areas they are becoming increasingly common. Even the more short sighted of teachers can see them increasing as our future becomes increasingly electronic. Whether we call them Digital Natives (Marc Prensky), Digital Children (Ian Jukes), Neo-Millennials (Dieterle-Dede-Schrier) or 21st Century Learners (Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach ) they are increasingly becoming the future of teaching.

So what are they?

They are students who are shaped by their environment. The environment they are exposed to is media rich, immediate, fast, engaging, dynamic and instant. Its electronic and digital, Its a communication medium with instant gratification. Marc Prensky, described the array of media the students are exposed to in his papers on Digital Natives (See Readings) . This is not all of youth today, many still struggle to gain education, to have a classroom to be taught in or to have seen a computer, let alone used one. Nor is it limited to just students, Adults too, can be "Digital Natives" as there brains like the brains of our students will adapt to exposure to technology.
but for those who by good fortune have had exposure for the entire of their lives to technology the effect is huge. Digital Natives, those people who, through consistent exposure to these factors and access to a variety of digital media, whose brains are adapted to using tehse tools; are engaged and motivated by the use of digital technologies. They are adept in the use of digital medium, and as Dieterle-Dede-Schrier, Ian Jukes, Gary Small (MD) and Marc Prensky insist, they are wired to use these tools.

So what is a Digital Native, a Digital Child, A Neo-Millennial or 21st Century Learner?

It helps perhaps to look at a digital native in reference to someone we are familiar with: A teacher, who is more often than not, as Marc would describe them, a Digital Immigrant. (source: Educational Origami )
dn vs DI
dn vs DI

These changes in preferred method and mode of learning are changing and shaping the way we teach (21st Century Teachers), how we design and build our classrooms (21st Century Learning Spaces) and how we are resourced (facilitating 21st Century Learning or taking a measure of ICT integration). For teachers to engage and educate, to facilitate and motivate, our methods of teaching must match their methods of learning; our teaching spaces must reflect their learning spaces; our teaching tools and resources must support their learning strategies. There must be, in short, a paradigm shift in education. Teachers must become 21st Century learners and more.

Teens and the internet

PEW Internet is an American organization researching the effect of the Internet on American life. The data below is extracted from one of their presentations at CES 2009. The paper is called Teens and the Internet . These are some of the key points for me that make interesting reading. Key to this is that this is an American Life project.
  • email - 22 years old - today 87% of teens use email
  • PCs - 15 years old - today 60% of teens have desktop or laptop
  • Pong is 18 years old - today 97% of teens play computer games
  • Commercial cell phones - 12 years old -today >75% of teens have a cell phone
  • 1990 Tim Berners-Lee creates internet -today 93% of teens use the internet & >90% of online teens use their browsers for cloud computing activities
  • ICQ - 1996 - today ~ 68% of online teens use instant messaging
  • First PDA - palm pilot 1996 - today ~20% of teens have pda/blackberry
  • 1997 First blogs - today ~30% of online teens keep blogs and regularly post & 54% read blogs
  • Napster - 1999 - today ~35% of online teens find out about new songs by free downloads ~ 33% of online teens swap files on peer-to-peer
  • Wikipedia - 2001 - today ~ 55% of online teens use Wikipedia
  • iPod - 2002 - today 74% of teens have an MP3 player
  • MySpace - 2003 - today >70% of online teens use social network sites
  • Del.icio.us - 2003 - today 40%-50% of online teens tag content
  • Flickr - 2003 - today ~60%-70% of teens have digital cameras & ~50%- 60% of online teens post photos online
  • Podcasts – 2004 - today >25% of online teens have downloaded podcasts
  • YouTube – 2005 - today ~40% of teens have video cameras, ~25% have uploaded videos & >75% view videos on video-sharing sites
These statistics and the rest of the presentation are worth pondering. The impact of technology on teens and their uptake and adoption of these tools and technologies is formidable. Here are some of the other key points about online teens:
  • Close to 75% have created content for the internet
  • 39% have shared their own creations online
  • 37% have rated a person, product, or service online
  • 26% report keeping their own personal webpage
  • ~25% have created or worked on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups or school assignments
  • 20% remix content they find online into their own artistic creations

(The posts referred to above have been incorporated into this wiki. If you would like to contribute to these please become a member of the space and add to them .)


Educational Origami - [[|http://edorigami.wikispaces.com]]
external image classroomw.jpg
Have our classrooms really changed that much?