Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Digital brains

The world is changing, and education has to change too.

Marc Prensky, in his often-cited paper Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (2001), tells us that "today's learners are different", and "... unless we want to just forget about educating Digital Natives until they grow up and do it themselves, we had better confront this issue. And in so doing we need to reconsider both our methodology and our content." Prensky says that the brains of our Gen Y learners have physically changed as a result of their use of technology, and that they now "think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors."

A more recent report by Gary Small, neuroscientist from UCLA, has confirmed that the use of technology is changing the way that young brains function and develop. He describes the growing "brain gap" between older and younger generations, and the problems that each will face.

So, "e" is here to stay. Student-centered teachers are immigrants in our learner's world, and we don't have the right to say "no" to technology in teaching and learning. Let's work out how to best use it.

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