I am a Primary Teacher in Christchurch, NZ, who is passionate about developing e-learning in school. Here is my blog to record my findings and thoughts.

My 4 year old and an ipod - I just find out how to use it

Found a new app for my daughter to play with, it is a glow in the dark drawing thing that she would like. I downloaded it and told her all about it, she went to grab the iPod when I said "oh hang on, this is new, I'm not sure how to use it yet.." to which she calmly and with a touch of the condescending stated "I just find out how to use it". I smiled and gave her the device, she went to work, exploring, testing, making errors, trying new ways, solving problems... And within seconds, had drawn her smiley face and looked pleased as punch. No bother.

I then had a moment of realization that I am older than other people on the planet, that I have ways and methods based on my age, generation and habit. I am not a four year old who can use an iPod, and also I am in no way one of my students, I am well and truly different. So how can I connect with my students' experience of IT?

Conversations I have with adults about 'the shift' often include comments about how things should be done, that organizing things in a book is a good way of doing things and this helps us to mark work. That using different apps to form a project is too confusing so just a word document with everything on is a better way. The way that 'we' have had success is surely the way for our students.

I had a moment last year when I spent time explaining how to organise files in folders (collections) on google docs, one student put their hand up and said why don't we just use the search feature on google to find our doc. I paused and then just said, oh...yes...that would also work.

My thoughts were valid, a way of organizing things just like I used to do at Uni, just like many of my colleagues do, my student had a different way, which still relied upon a naming convention (which still needed to be taught) but the student's system was based on the tool they were using not their last twenty + years of IT experience, they are different from me and they have another method.

My daughter is the same, in terms of time/age, she has an equal experience to me on the ipod, her two year old sister has now developed the ability to touch the screen as opposed to whacking it to get it to work, so I guess by the time she starts school she will have mastered navigation on touch devices. In an apple store that had desktops with children's games on at her height level with a mouse and keyboard, she rushed up to the screen to tap the icon for her favourite game only to be disappointed at the lack of response. Her older sister explained how to use the mouse, but this, I could see from the facial expression was a poor second option.

The challenge of facilitating students so they can develop their 21st Century skills of collaboration, creativity, communicatoon and critical thinking will rest on our ability to put aside the 'baggage of our own expereince', however well meaning and 'right on' we may feel we are.

I will try!

Update - check out Darcy Moore'sBlog on the ipad

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