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January 14, 2013

They’re Here! They’re Here! Finally

We’ve been talking about the so called Digital Natives and the Millennials being the tech generation for years. But I just haven’t seen them in my classes. My students have not only not shown an interest in technology, but often struggled with the technology I used in my classes. But not this semester. In the first class of the Spring 2013 semester, the Digital Natives showed up! Yippee!

First, while Cindy (Co-Teacher) was talking about critical thinking with the class, she asked what a word meant. I wasn’t paying attention (Ha!), so I missed the word, but the student sitting in front of me grabbed her phone and started “messing around” with it. I didn’t pay her any mind either until Cindy called on her. She took one last look at the phone and then apologetically said “I was looking it up,” and then recited her answer to the class. She thought she was doing something wrong, but I was secretly praising her. It wasn’t like it was a vocab word she was supposed to have learned before coming to class. It was a spur of the moment, what does that mean type of question, and she gave the answer. Nice work young lady.


Our Learning Community Circle on Google+

During my part of the learning community class, I was teaching students how to get their Google+ accounts set up, and a student asked if she could get G+ on her phone, and if I knew how to get her school email to forward to her regular Gmail account on her phone. I think if I’d let her, she would have asked me how to do a bunch of other stuff too. We didn’t have time, but I was thrilled that she wanted to know, and thrilled that she is already thinking about managing her tech life.

Several students whipped out their phones to pull up their class schedules after we took roll and they were not on it. “Aren’t you Nielson?” one asks while reading her phone. I grabbed it to see that she was indeed not in the right place. I then overheard one student telling the student next to him that she should use the Firefox browser instead that one (IE) because it works better. He didn’t elaborate further, but enough was said to impress me. I hope she listened to him.

But it gets better. Later I announced to students to be sure to check their emails daily, as I would be sending the weekly podcast out tomorrow. After class a nice young man approached me and asked if he would be able to get those podcasts on his iPhone. Why certainly! Let me show you how. So I showed him how to grab the RSS feed from the announcements in Canvas and add it to his iTunes. Later I plan to find a podcatcher app for the iPhone to share with him as well.

All in all it was a great technology day in the classroom. I’ve been so beat down, I was expecting to have more push back about having to use Canvas and Google+, but they all loved it. It’s going to be a great semester (fingers crossed).

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