Sunday, December 6, 2009

Profiling the Students of Today

Students of today use technology in varying degrees around the globe. This was evident when I recently interviewed two students and one colleague in my rural Northeastern Ohio elementary school. My interviewees quickly proved to me that they use technology in life-changing ways for entertainment, school and work related tasks.

Demographically, this is the information I gathered concerning the types of students that attend the school in which I teach visual arts:
White 92%
Black 5%
Multi-racial 2%
Asian 1%

Economically disadvantaged (determined by free/reduced lunch status)
27% of the students receive free breakfast and lunch
8% of the students receive reduced price for lunch

Despite these statistics, the students that I interviewed seemed to align with the students described in Portrait of a Digital Learner, by author Tom McHale. “The Kaiser report , which surveyed more than 2,000 3rd through 12th grade students, found that almost ‘one third of young people say they either talk on the phone, instant message, watch TV, listen to music, or surf the Web for fun most of the time they’re doing their homework” (McHale 2005). This means that technology is very evident in today’s homes, affecting ways in which students learn.

Today’s digital learners are falling into two categories. One like that of my students known as digital natives. My students are multi-tasking, highly stimulated learners, who have grown up influenced by various forms of technology. And also that of a second category, a digital immigrant, like the colleague that I interviewed for this podcast.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. Millennial Learning Styles. [Motion Picture]. Understanding the Impact of Technology, Work, and Society. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Produces). 2008. Debate: Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.[Motion Picture] Understanding the Impact of Technology, Work, and Society. Baltimore: Author.

McHale, T. (2005). Portrait of a digital native. Technology & Learning. Retrieved from
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