Laptops are in short supply around school. It’s the end of the year and everyone is in project mode trying to finish end of the year research and such. Our final read-aloud for the year is “You’ll Like it Here, Everybody Does” by Ruth White and it’s a mish mash of aliens, adventure, and utopian societies. What fun!
We are about 2 chapters in, so today I asked students to send me a short essay explaining why they do or do not believe in aliens. They were to use Google docs and share the essay with me. The problem was that students had to share computers, so a few asked if they could use their own tech. Of course! My mind thought tablets, but that wasn’t what one of my digital natives had in mind. We all got busy and about 10 minutes later I looked over to see him hunched over his phone texting away, and a lightbulb went off. The conversation went something like this:
ME: Are you…texting your essay?
STUDENT: Yep. (without looking up or pausing)
ME: Wouldn’t it be easier to wait to type on the computer after you’ve written it out?
STUDENT: Nope. I’m much faster with texting than typing.
ME: Ok. Good luck! Let me know if you change your mind. Maybe look over it later before submitting?
STUDENT: (text, text, text,…)
And that’s it. I’m in my early 30s and consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but I didn’t grow up as one of these digital natives. It would have driven me crazy to text-type my essay! For this student, it was natural. He didn’t miss a beat. By the time he got a computer, he had already typed the essay and just had to do a few format fixes. The essay was pretty good, too!
What have YOU spotted your digital natives doing lately?
–The Pensive Sloth