It Doesn't Have to be a Battle
Chapter 2 of iBrain lays out a comparison of digital natives and digital immigrants and then talks about how the two groups might come together. Let's start with digital natives.
Respond faster, but encode differently
Shorter attention spans
1/3 watch TV while using other media
Multi-Task almost constantly
Technology makes the world shrink for them
Too little face to face communications can cause circuits to atrophy and too much can overwhelm the circuits
They use screens 8 hours and 35 minutes a day - meeting the clinical criteria for pathological internet use thereby lowering their academic achievement and interfering with their social lives (not to mention their physical health)
Adolescent specific information:
Adolescents are/should be learning how to be empathetic and moving from concrete to abstract.
Wired to be selfish
As they age they develop the ability to delay gratification, consider others' feelings, put things in perspective and realize danger in a situation. Technology stunts this development.
They crave new technology
Playing video games 2-7 hours a day tuns off the frontal lobes - even when not playing. Makes them devoid of social skills, aggressive and desensitized to violence. (Limited amount of video gaming may enrich minds and improve cognitive performance, pattern recognition, systematic thinking and executive skills)
Learn methodically - one thing at a time
Fearful of new technology
22% of Americans have never use the internet or email (WHOA!)
Difficulty to hold information in their mind
Can't process information quickly
More effective in seeing the big picture (place information into a context)
Midlife brain goes from dial-up to DSL
2 sides of brain come together - personality mellows
Digital natives need to work on their interpersonal skills, immigrant needs to work on technology. Together they could be powerful.
I found this chapter to be one of the most interesting of the book. It explained a lot in terms of why kids and even adults that I know in their early 20's are so different from me. I am on the cusp of this movement. Since I was born in 1981 technically I am classified as a digital native, but in some ways I also feel like I can be an immigrant because it drives me crazy when kids are texting each other constantly or updating their Facebook status with their everyday minutia. Knowing that there is science that actually shows that the screen time is stunting their abilities to interact in socially appropriate ways makes so much sense, but it is also really scary because we are contributing to that 8.5 hours of screen time a day. The skills that are being stunted by this use are more important to me than others that we teach in our content classes. Who is going to make a better citizen - someone that can find the square root of a number or someone that can realize danger in a situation and make a decision accordingly? I can see and have seen how technology can assist in student learning and achievement but I think we all need to be wary of how we are using it and how much we are using it. If you think about the big picture and preparing students for the working world - I would argue that interpersonal skills are far more important than technological ones.