Last year at our professional conference at CW Post, Dr. Andrea Mosenson – THE GURU of FACS- introduced the phrase: Digital Natives. Digital Natives are those that have grown up in the information & technology age and have a vast understanding of the concepts. They are our new generation of students. These kids are whizzes on computers, cellphones, ipods, ipads and many other devices. Many can teach their parents how to use these things as well. When I was in high school, classrooms were considered ‘high-tech’ if they had a computer, tv and/or DVD player. Nowadays, schools are equipped with smartboards, computers, blackboard, Notebook10, E-Grading Systems and even parent websites to communicate with teachers. Some school districts are even giving their administrators Ipads to keep in touch instead of the normal blackberry. During a Sew-n-Swap workshop, I visited the new Roosevelt Middle School and learned that they could Skype with classrooms in China! That’s awesome.
In addition, technology helps students with special needs communicate in ways that they never could before. IPhones & Ipads have applications such as ArtikPik that help children with developmental delays and speech problems communicate better as well as help to develop motor skills. For Autistic students, the Ipad is a critical tool for children to use the special applications to help them to communicate. Proloco2go and Autism Express can help them simulate conversation and to improve attention span. Its amazing. Furthermore, Assistive Technology allows hearing and sight imparied students to participate in lessons and activities along with other students.
As teachers, it is part of our duty to be well versed on these new technologies. We should consistently take professional developmental courses to become familiar with new programs and software. By learning these new technologies, we can better keep our students engaged and ready to learn.