I am a proud Aunt to the children of my brothers and closest friends. They are thoughtful, creative, intuitive and constantly engaging in a vital life. They are online. They are digital. They are attached to their smartphone/iPad/etc. It is natural to them. The “online” engagement (Skype/FB/texting…) that I hold with them is very much real.
About a week ago, I retweeted a fantastic blog post written by a grandfather (Frank B. Withrow) after spending the holidays with his grandchildren. He poses this thought:
Are preschool teachers and schools ready for iPad five year old experts? The digital world belongs to them. It is their second nature.
Written with a blend of humor and bafflement, he hits it on the nail. Read here: Are Schools Ready for Today’s Five Year Olds?
There is much argument in education in regards to students being online, using social media and taking classes online. If you listen to the different arguments, you will find that it usually comes down to the belief that one is better than the other. Thus one should not be used and the other is the ‘only’ way.
I call it balarkey!
The reality is that we can and do engage in meaningful ways, both online and offline.
In talking to teachers, Dean Shareki shared:
My struggle remains in helping people understand that our world now includes digital connections not simply as supplements to relationships but embedded and at times equal to or at least different from traditional non-mediated relationships.
Another thoughtful article, written by Nathan Jurgensen, The IRL Fetish written this past summer, articulates the superior attitude of many in being “offline”, but he proposes that it is a new view – this separation of on/off, and that instead we should see them as “emeshed” .
In great part, the reason is that we have been taught to mistakenly view online as meaning not offline. The notion of the offline as real and authentic is a recent invention, corresponding with the rise of the online. If we can fix this false separation and view the digital and physical as enmeshed, we will understand that what we do while connected is inseparable from what we do when disconnected.
When I think of my nieces and nephews, I challenge education to get over it’s dualism.
Because there is no digital dualism in their eyes.
For them, this IS the real life.
Are you ready?