Figuring it out

I grew up in the you-need-a-cell-in-case-of-an-emergency mindset. Texting was around, but the online social community was still based in instant messaging on computers (side note: this is how I learned to type, not by looking under the cardboard screen in typing class!)

I was in college at the perfect time for the Facebook outbreak (which is why most of my friends still depend on Facebook and don’t understand what Twitter has to offer). Suddenly, the online social community shifted.

In fact, if you were digitally literate, you could Facebook stalk your crush without his ever knowing and just happen to end up in the places that his status update indicated he was. Brilliant!

Now as I reflect on my digital literacy journey, I realize that I never had any skills-based class on how to instant message or how to Facebook. I never had a lecture on acceptable use or signed a policy.

How did I learn to be digitally literate? It wasn’t at school. I figured it out the same way our students are figuring it out: By trying. By asking my peers.

In teacher terms, we would call this problem-based learning or collaboration. We know students are engaging in both of these methods outside of the classroom and are learning at a rate that we can’t keep up with; and yet, we still fight off these two research-based methodologies in favor of outdated, disconnected teaching.

I was a part of the digital revolution. I developed as technology developed, one step at a time.

Our students are living in the digital age. The technology is already at their fingertips. They have instant access to the world’s information and no fear to try new things.

Students already know how to learn on their own. If teachers don’t tap into our students’ process of learning by doing and learning by asking, we are going to make ourselves obsolete.