In looking at the impact of technology on education specifically in relation to the technological proficiency of today’s students, there is little doubt that the students of today's classrooms are much more tech saavy than than the students of earlier generations. This week I continued my exploration of technology and set about creating a podcast detailing an overview of the technological proficiency of a few students attending my school in the UAE. Based upon collected student interview information generalizations can be made regarding trends in the skills and technical dispositions of our students.
In giving a little background information on the origins of my podcast, currently I am the Head of faculty for a k-5 boy’s school within the United Arab Emirates, and work with a diverse student population of roughly 550 boys from The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and Sudan. Our school is located in a small rural town, and the population is largely a mix of middle class nationals and expatriates. The students at our school are 100% English as a second language. As part of newly introduced education reforms they are now currently receiving dual language instruction in both Arabic and English in mathematics, science, and English language Arts. Our students do have access to a computer lab and are scheduled in for weekly lessons, our classrooms have internet access as well as computers and digital projectors.In attempting to provide an overview as to the technological proficiency and dispositions of our students I went about interviewing a selection of students from grade 5. These student interviews will of course in no way be a full representation of the actual tech levels of our entire school and its students but will give us a sample indication as to the ‘mindsets’ and abilities present and the degree to which our students are representative of Marc Prensky’s digital native definition. In discussing the topic of digital natives and digital immigrants, Prensky described today’s generation of learners as being digital natives in that they have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cameras, mobile phones, and various other toys and technological gadgetry inherent to this digital age. In working through my interviews with my students and questioning them about their interactions with technology, that would indeed appear to be an accurate reflection of their lives.
To listen to the full podcast and student interviews check out the listed link.