Wednesday, October 1

Answering Questions: Are Teachers Too Old To Know?

Q: What does a digital native, born close to 1990, need to learn from a digital immigrant who graduated before the IBM PC was launched in the UK, and who wrote magazine articles back in the 1980s about how businesses were adopting a new communications device, the fax machine. — Valrossie

A:The capacity for a person to learn, dream, and achieve is not defined or limited by his or her history but rather enhanced by it, provided he or she does not have the propensity to limit themselves by history, regardless of age, birthright, or any other measure.

That understood, the digital immigrant has become experienced by living with rapidly increasing changes in their environment, and is hopefully wiser in understanding which tenets of something like strategic communication might survive under such remarkable pressures. Whereas the digital native may never have the benefit of knowing those tenets nor are they assured to demonstrate their own wherewithal to continuously adopt to the numerous changes ahead of them.

I was part of a strategic communication think tank a few years back. The discussion revolved around the need to address communication issues related to the Blackberry. The solution, some said, was to devise an entire working study around Blackberry text messaging. Net, net, I said, by the time you are finished with your study, the entire world will have changed and the Blackberry as we know it today will be on the verge of extinction under the weight of another emerging technology.

I didn't know it then, but that would be the iPhone.

Better to devise a study on adapting to rapid technological advancements in communication, I offered.

By the way, I know you weren't talking about me specifically in the question left on the previous post, but I would like to point something out anyway. I'm not so old ... just old enough to remember gumballs. ;)



Rich on 10/1/08, 5:53 PM said...

More words:

Equally suitable ... learn from them how to think, but never what to think.


Chaffee Street Cafe` on 10/2/08, 1:17 PM said...

Things such as this, for example:

How R U Do N? I.L.B.C.N.U. Learning the shortened speech patterns isn't difficult. I have been keeping shorthand notes for years. Readily I can see that it make texting faster and less expensive per se.

As an adult woman I find that my eyes tend to glaze over when the technical talk gets going. How I survived getting my web log rolling, along with adding cute widgets, is remarkable, yet there is so much more I want to learn.

I have heard about Blackberry's but have never held one. Nor have I purchased the iPod or an iPhone, etc., and I am a Mac user. Plus I am not very sure about MP3 players either ... I still have my boom box. :D

In effect, were someone knowledgeable to take ahold of my hand, to walk me through the ins-and-outs of the performance features and capabilities, then I am certain I would be well equipped to pass that information along to students ... were I a teacher of that subject.

The catalyst for teachers, instructors and those willing to learn is that they should be taught properly. Only then will they will be on top of their game and will become a much bigger help to the young people in their charge.

I vote yes. Teach the teachers.

Rich on 10/2/08, 2:35 PM said...


I think you are not alone in the world of tech talk, which I why I so often shy away from it. (Or more robust sentence structures like a few in this post, unless meant for fun.)

You know, one of the greatest of all joys I get from teaching? It's learning from my students.

Thanks for the great comment. I vote yes too. :D



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