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Handheld Learning 2007 - Marc Prensky, Keynote

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I referenced this video in my PG Cert action reserch project: I thick parts of this talk relate well to the concept of digital technology, communication and cultural capital....Prensky, M.2007. Keynote Address at Handheld Learning Conference, London. [online]> [Accessed 22 July 2011]. (Forward to 18:10)

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'If we were to look at the notion of teachers as digital immigrants, who are learning to live with technology and students as digital natives, living with technology since birth. (Prensky, 2001) we begin to see a huge gap that divides learners and teachers. In my experience of teaching digital media over the past 7 years it is not true to say all students are digital natives or all teachers are digital immigrants, this is reflected in the feedback questionnaire (Appendix 1 & 2) and (Diagram 1) below, four out of five students positioned themselves in the -‘Very Poor’ to ‘Average’ categories and four out of five staff positioned themselves in the Good to Average categories, so quite the reverse scenario to what Prensky (2007, forward to 18:10) suggests, although he does acknowledge this, he explains there is an increasing sway towards this being a problem in the future. As the pace of technology development increases emphasis should be placed on ‘progressive practice’ and addressing the problems of digital literacy and web 2.0 use in learning and teaching.

If web 2.0 projects are to be implemented into learning and teaching its good practice to target and identify your user group before hand. Compulsory participation is not advised as Brookfield, S. (1995) points out in the description of the circle of chairs, this situation does not allow LPP. There is also the issue of quality, students and staff should not be forced into a new educational spaces if they have not had the time and space to practice in it first. We should be giving students the same time and space to explore open practice as staff. An example of this can be seen from the student feedback question 6 (appendix 1) this students is considering their own practice and how they operate in this arena, other users are also being considered: “Most of my posts were created at the last minute. I ran out of time and would have love to have uploaded more reflections, clips and research on other artists. It is easy to write loads of text but I forget how hard it is for people to actually sit down and read something long nowadays. So probably could have been more imaginative with the ways i communicated to people.” Just asking students to use a blog in their practice is not necessarily going to succeed by itself, although students are good independent workers they still require guidance and support. Web 2.0 learning environments may require key staff members to be actively involved in facilitating the community’s development, Wenger (2009) calls these members ‘digital stewards’ the community may struggle to exist without them. If an open online educational community is formed without any one individual teacher or steward to offer guidance and support, there could be potential confusion and misunderstanding. The teacher who chooses to sit and observes as Brookfield, S. (1995) quotes Kreisberg,(1992) who describes the ‘fly on the wall teacher’, confusion can occur, the student sees no learning reference point in this context, she’s uncertain if or how the teacher is going to use the blog, what the teacher thinks about her posts, is she doing the right thing, are they even looking at all? The flexible participation approach to open practice and blog integration in learning and teaching seems to work, we can use this as a good starting point in order to encourage the LLP participants into the community and grow from their. Its may be good practice to have clear guidelines of what to expect from the exercise, project aims and objectives for example. Everyone should have a clear understanding of each other’s role in the project and know ‘what is expected of them’ in this new domain.

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