It was very early in the morning and most of the neighborhood seemed to be still asleep. Hoping to get an early start on things, I jumped in my car and headed towards the interstate. Suddenly, my tranquil thoughts came to a quick halt as the car ahead of me suddenly stopped. Unsure as to the reason for the abrupt halt, I curiously peered through the windscreen to see the cause of the distraction. It was a mother goose crossing the street with her three goslings.
After a while, I looked at the cars in the opposing lane of traffic, and noticed that an anxious and visibly annoyed driver was clenching her cell phone in one hand while leaning over her steering wheel to see what was happening. Then without any hesitation, she pressed the accelerator of her car and zoomed forward almost hitting the mother goose.
Strange as it may seem, mother goose did not seem worried or concerned about the driver’s inconsiderate behavior. Instead, she remained fixed, and focused, slowly waddling her way across the street, ‘one foot today, the other foot tomorrow’, while behind her, the three goslings did the same.
We continued to sit in our cars and waited for what seemed an eternity. I took note that each of us adult drivers had no choice but to patiently look at the birds, hoping that their procession would soon end. It did. Mother goose stepped stately up onto the sidewalk with her young goslings close behind. She then passed close to a tall metal pole bearing a yellow sign with the emblem of geese.
That was when I snapped out of my dream world and thought that I should whisk out my camera to record the event. But, of course, I was too late. The pageant was over. As I put my car in first gear and moved slowly forward I thought, “Truly, I am a ‘digital immigrant’ and most likely, so too was every other ‘mature’ driver around me that had observed the procession.” Furthermore, I had no doubt that few if any of my ‘digitally native’ students would have sat idly as we had done on this, or on any other repetitious and potentially boring occasion. Instead, many would have whipped out their cameras, smart phones, tablets, ipads or any other recording device, recorded the scene, posted it to Facebook, Instagram and any other social networking site, ‘colorfully’ tweeted about it on Twitter, texted some disparaging remarks about mother goose choosing the wrong time to cross the street, or, they might have taken the time to send e-mails to friends.
For those of you who think that you are a ‘digital native’, take note of how you respond or think of responding when the next suitable event comes your way. Maybe you are already in the middle of the digital divide where you can successfully maneuver between choosing what kinds of technology to apply and how to use them in your projects. Probably, the digital divide has come home to roost, and it would be advisable to seek out workshops and professional development courses to assist you with navigating around the intertwining strands of webs of technologies.
So, jump in to the swing of things and learn how to navigate your way through the weight of 21st century classroom challenges. Learning how to integrate technology into our classrooms might be the life support that will help save a potential drop-out from quitting school, or inspire an already high achieving student to greater success. Maybe only then will you and I know if we are truly ‘digital natives,’ ‘digital immigrants’ or simply digital.