I woke up this morning mid-dream and had a small “a-ha” moment. My dream was toggling back and forth with thoughts and images like a multiple tabs open on a computer. I’ve had dreams about work where this has happened, but I don’t recall non-work images ‘formatted’ in this way before. I realized, the way I think and process information is truly being changed and shaped by the digital world I am living in.
Perhaps that’s not a great revelation to many, but it got me wondering more about how the brain works for those digital natives we are teaching each day. Can I appreciate how they process concepts, organize schema, and recall information? Does my teaching support that way of thinking?
Now I will never abandon actual books, paper, and pencils to become a digital teacher, but I certainly need to learn more about how our kids brains work if I want to use the best practices to tap into that.
I’ll share a few of the places I’m starting. This is a series of videos from The Open University called “Childhood In the Digital Age that explore technology, socializing, thinking, and learning. Each are only a few minutes long.
I also want to explore a new book by Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke called Amplify. Their goals in this Heinemann offering are :
- explicitly teaching kids how to be effective digital readers and thinkers
- giving students practice with closely reading images, infographics, and video
- emphasizing student ownership and creativity
I know many teachers are reluctant to embrace digital learning, it can feel like a repudiation of the way they learned and the way they’ve been teaching for so long. But our job is to meet our students where they are in their learning and lead them forward. We can’t adequately do this if we don’t have a good understanding of where they are! So I suggest we take it one step at a time and begin to explore. Let’s look for ways to support one another and be nonjudgmental.
Our world is changing. Our brains are changing. Our teaching is changing. “Be the change!”
What’s on My Book Radar?
I have been waiting so long for this book! When I met Kate DiCamillo last fall at NCTE I was captivated by her. I’ve always loved her writing, and you can see how naturally it springs from her ability to talk and tell a story.
This story will break your heart and then heal it with warmth. Raymie’s father has run away with a dental hygienist and she devises a plan to get his attention and win him back. While working on her plan she meets Beverly Tapinski -whose tough exterior masks some incredible pain, and Louisiana Elefante who needs their help to get back her cat and stay out of the county home. Together they are the three Rancheros-and together their friendship might just rescue them all. These characters will stick with you the way India Opal Buloni did in Because of Winn Dixie, you’ll want to wrap your arms around them and give them the love they need and deserve.
You DON’T want to miss this one! Thanks, Kate. I’m in love with this book.