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"The students are better with the technology than the teachers."
It's a common phrase in education. We assume the students growing up today are Digital Natives. They grew up with the technology, so they must be better with it.
Digital Native does not mean the student understands all technology. It doesn't even mean they know most the technology. Yet that is the assumption we often make.
Digital Natives have grown up or are growing up in a world where technology is always present. They are comfortable being around and using technology. That doesn't make them experts at it.
Previous generations grew up in an era of pen and paper, but not everyone is a master of calligraphy (most people aren't). Same goes for technology. Your students have better familiarity and willingness to use the technology, but not a better mastery.
Don't assume students "just know" how to use the technology. They have preferences and skills, just as everyone else with anything else. A Digital Native may be comfortable with Apple technology, or Google, or Microsoft, or Amazon. They have a platform they are most comfortable with. They are a native in MacOS, but as bad with Windows as someone using it for the first time.
The same goes for many of the teachers and administrators. People have their preferences and likes. Let them lean into that. Use the tools that most comfortable for you to complete the task.
You can write a paper on any device. It will be the same thing if you type it in Pages on iOS, Google Docs on Chrome OS, or LibreOffice on Ubuntu. Let people use the technology they are most comfortable with.
Providing a peak behind the curtain of the thought and writing process.
Digital Natives is a term I’ve heard way too often in school districts. It seemed to be use as a catch all term when someone didn’t understand something or wanted to force a technology on a district.
It became one of those annoying buzz works in EdTech (at least in my world).
Thankfully, in the past year I’ve heard it used less and less, but the sentiment seemed to remain and needs to be addressed.
Do you consider yourself a Digital Native? Is this a term used in your school district often?