George Lucas Educational Foundation

Going Online or Living Online

Going Online or Living Online

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Do you think that our students still think about going online, or do they just live online? Is there an important difference? Take a look at Front Line's new video Digital Nation and let us know what you think.

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Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Andrew,
I think a lot of students exist in the two places - the real world and the online world. Equally, I don't think there is any conflict between the two. Students seem to move seamlessly between the two. However, something that I think is very interesting is the idea of digital natives. There's been a lot of talk about this in the media, but I don't think it's fair to classify students as 'natives.' Personally, from my own observations, their skills are quite limited: they can find information - sometimes - on the net, they can copy and paste it into a document, they can make some kind of film, but their critical literacy is pretty poor, as is the depth of the knowledge about particular media. I think this could be a real issue in the future - as well as direction for further education.

Andrew Pass's picture


I think you make some excellent points. There's a difference between knowing how to "go online" and knowing how to navigate proficiently to fulfill important objectives online. It's not very hard to walk around the streets of the United States or Australia. But, it takes some intelligence to accomplish meaningful objectives within either of these countries, I'm sure. I don't even know what the Australian currency is called. I'm pretty sure that in Australia you drive on the left side of the road. But, if I was to move there, even if I was eligible to work I know nothing about your tax system. I'm not an Australian native. There would be many things that I would have to learn. I wonder if the same is true of students "online". They know how to walk around but they don't know how to accomplish important objectives. Which leads me to wonder, what should students be able to accomplish online, what should they know how to do with the resources available online, in order to truly be digital natives?

Benjamin E. Nason's picture
Benjamin E. Nason
Technology Integrator

First time I've heard of Jason Levy and the IS 339 turnaround. People like him excite me; a new-found hero. For someone to have that much passion and drive to turn not only the outlook of the students, but the faculty as well is something amazing. It drives me to be the best I can be where I am. But back to the topic. What separates the "sheep" from the "goats" in students is the type of student themselves. With or without a digital world, if they struggle with getting distracted it's going to be an issue throughout their life until they decide to take control of it. I was the student that was always distracted; unfocused. This is a character-development skill that has to be learned by the student that they will either learn in school or (as in my case) the harder way in the "real world" work environment. Whether, at young age, they have the ability to make critical-thinking choices about their success as a student or not they will eventually will have to if they want success anywhere else. So the question then I'm sure is, should we continue to foster distractions in the classroom? The 'real world' is already in their world. They will have to learn by a mosaic means, because that's was the real world is now requiring of modern society, unless they want to work in the bush of Africa.

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