Sesame Street, the obsession with Super Mario Bros on Nintendo, and playing a computer game off a five and a quarter inch floppy disk definitely branded me a digital native. I cannot remember a time in my life when some form of entertainment did not consist of a new technological advancement. Now I have become quite dependent on all of these wonderful things I grew up thinking were just toys, and I’m extremely thankful for the fluency I have in the digital world.
The familiarity I possess with older technologies makes it much simpler to adapt to the updates occurring daily. However, I am also familiar with those labeled as digital immigrants. My interactions with those whose lives did not always involve anything else but a telephone and a color TV have been quite varied. I am very proud to say that all of my digital immigrant peers at Koa Elementary have done everything in their power to incorporate technology into various aspects of their days and adjust their teaching styles to fit the needs of the population we are working with. This has created a successful learning environment for many students, and although it was a struggle for several teachers, their technological development is commendable. Unfortunately, I have also met with teachers who still believe the most powerful educational tool available is the overhead projector. As a D-gen student, I had teachers who fit into that category at every level of my educational path. Although I still managed to succeed in their class, my desire for learning was severely squelched by the professors who did not care to modify their tried and true chalkboard outline for a simple upgrade into digitally engaging lessons.
These observations have prompted me to recurrently reflect on the lessons I bring to my students. My favorite question to ask myself is, “Would I want to sit there for an hour and participate in this lesson?” I currently teach four periods of science, and I have found this to be one of the greatest benefits to my ability to plan engaging lessons for my students. Not only am I just preparing for one subject, which gives me extra time to concentrate on the lesson preparation itself, but it motivates me to create the most groundbreaking lesson possible for my students. My theory is that if I can use technology so effectively that I am still enjoying my science lesson after my fourth period, then surely the children in my class were engaged for the one period they joined me for.