The subject of teens & the digital world has received a great deal of media hype recently. This blog from Wesley Fryer entitled, "Teens Online - It's OK! " is a breadth of fresh air in the midst of the discussion. Most of what is written is from the perspective of digital immigrants who have a difficult time understanding the world of our current students. (What do our students have to say?)
Not surprisingly, there is a great deal that is positive about digital connectivity that impacts all aspects of life. From my perspective, one of the most exciting things is the ability to create content for an audience (and it can be an international audience at that!) Is that possible without the Internet? Is that possible in an unconnected classroom? The ability to retrieve content immediately has been possible for a longer time, but the ability to create online content is a more recent phenomenon and has far-reaching classroom implications.
One of the points Fryer made, "Interaction + Meaning = Engagement" reminds me of one universal design for learning principle - provide multiple means of engagement. At all times, provide opportunities for connecting, sharing, researching in a meaningful context. When engagement occurs real learning results. And isn't that the business we are in - to promote learning? It's time to capture the benefits of unlimited wired access and utilize it as the engaging instructional tool that it is.
So how do we take that message to the masses of teachers?