Digital natives -- those students who were born between 1980 and 2000 -- arguably view the world differently than previous generations, primarily because the internet has always been a major part of their lives. They don't use phone books to find contact information, they have texting buddies instead of pen pals and researching new information no longer requires a trip to the library. Most importantly, they didn't have to adapt to become comfortable with digital technology; it is simply the way the world has always been for them. These differences also extend to the classroom.
Digital natives are accustomed to a faster pace and more dynamic experiences than a textbook alone is able to offer. They also express themselves differently, often preferring video to writing. So what does this mean for the modern education system? Educators debate the importance of digital natives and their impact on the system. While one group believes that reform is necessary, the other argues that making generalizations about an entire generation is not the best path forward.
Regardless of which side you support in this debate, there is no doubt that technology in the classroom can have a positive impact on the way students learn:
- Multimedia presentation tools allow students to express themselves in multiple ways
- Electronic textbooks provide engaging and interactive lessons
- Digital communication technology allows students and teachers (and parents) to interact outside the classroom
- Innovative software programs allow teachers to expand lesson plans
Implementing these types of programs into the classroom requires the necessary hardware, software and classroom furniture. After all, not all digital natives have a smartphone or tablet in their backpack. Whether your school installs computers at every desk, or simply has a computer lectern for the teacher, having the right setup is just as important as the technology resources you use.
Digital natives are here to stay and some modification to the education system is required. Textbooks may not yet be as obsolete as inkwells and slates, but students need and expect a different type of engagement in the Digital Age. Classroom furniture from Nova Solutions supports this paradigm shift.