Blog Week 5: Net Geners are Changing the Way We Do Business

Initial Thoughts

 
The first thing that resonated with me as I read through the content for week five was actually Lee’s discussion about “paying your dues”. Our family moves often due to my husband’s position so I constantly feel as though I have to “pay my dues”. On the one hand, this becomes very frustrating for me because I know I work extremely hard at being an outstanding educator and yet I constantly have to demonstrate my skills as a teacher. Still, each time I do this I find that I learn a great deal about myself and my beliefs as a teacher. When we move I revise and tweak my resume, cover letter, and even my philosophy of education. Sometimes I think it is good to reflect on our own teaching; it allows us to see where we have room for improvement. “Reflection is a key ingredient to move knowledge from short term to long term memory,” (Clements, Mark).

Lee also pointed out that, “The digital footprint is the best resume that a Net Gener can develop. This rang true for me as I work on revising my resume. I have spent a great deal of time working on my professional portfolio both for my master’s degree and my career.

Thoughts on Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott

 
In Grown Up Digital, Tapscott discusses the need for businesses to change the way they hire and employee their employees. Some businesses are hesitant to do this while others make a daily effort to meet the needs of Net Geners. Tapscott spoke about Best Buy creating the website http://www.BlueShirtNation.com in order to tap into Net Geners creativity to solve today’s business problems. According to Tapscott the website has been a huge success for Best Buy (Tapscott, 2008). This example reminded me of a recent project I came across while I was on a family trip to The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. While we were there, we visited the planetarium to see a show about the Moon. The show was narrated by the voice of Tim Allen and discussed the Google Lunar XPrize. Please view the short video clip below to learn more about this.


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=O9FMi3RY8kc

If businesses continue to create projects like this that allow Net Geners and others to collaborate and be creative, then we are giving people the opportunity to “solve today’s problems”. Personally, I would love to attend one of the universities or work for one of the businesses that have embraced this project.

 
While many businesses are working diligently to incorporate new technology, other businesses are still lagging behind. In my classroom last fall we were certainly lagging behind many schools in the lower 48 in terms of technology available in the classroom. My classroom was equipped with 3 classroom computers, a Smart Board (1 for the school), and a separate lab that we could visit once a week. I incorporated technology whenever I could ensuring that my students had time to use different software programs such as Lexia, Google Sketch-Up 8, and Microsoft Office. Additionally, when my students were in the computer lab we tried to work on long term projects that I could tie into the curriculum rather than simply working on typing skills or math review. Still, many of my students were spending more time with technology at home than they were in my classroom. So, I created a classroom website for my students and parents to visit. The parents could receive support with mathematics homework and reading skills, while the students could visit my Symbaloo page to access websites for practice in math and reading. Even though I am trying to implement things inside and outside of my classroom to help students keep up in today’s digital society, I still feel there is more I can do as an educator to be sure that my students have the skills necessary to be successful in today’s digital world.

 

Thoughts on Born Digital by Palfrey and Gasser:

 
In Born Digital, Palfrey and Gasser seem to shed more light on how Net Geners are impacting the business world. “The shift is on: In a few short years, businesses have gone from ignoring informal groups of Digital Natives getting together online to obsessing about ways to monetize their enthusiasm,” (Palfrey and Gasser, 2010). They discussed the many ways digital natives are influencing today’s society through online platforms like Facebook. Palfrey and Gasser go on to discuss how digital natives excel at creating services and products that can appeal to digital natives. This is similar to how Best Buy is using digital natives to keep their employees active in the company (Tapscott, 2008).

 

Educators, can use sites like Teachers Pay Teachers to create, share, and even sell lessons/activities they have created for the classroom. Sites like these, often created by digital natives, offer opportunities for educators to reflect on their teaching and improve their skills as a teacher.

 

In the classroom we can encourage our students to build their digital skills by giving our students time to develop their creativity and explore different digital tools available to them. One important thing to remember is to use technology effectively. Sometimes I think we simply try to give our students time on the computer using programs for instance, while this is valuable we also need to give our students time to explore and create online.

 

Resources:

 
Clements, Mark. The Importance of Reflection in Education. Retrieved online from http://www.edunators.com/index.php/becoming-the-edunator/step-5-reflecting-for- learning/the-importance-of-reflection-in-education

“Doing Impossible Things: Google Lunar XPrize Team Summit”. (2013) Retrieved online from
http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/media/videos/doing-impossible-things-google-lunar-xprize- team-summit-2013

Palfrey, John and Gasser, Urs. (2008). Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives.
[On-line] Retrieved June 16, 2014 from: http://site.ebrary.com/id/10392430?ppg=8

Tapscott, Donn. (2008). Growing Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World.
McGraw Hill Professional Publishing: New York, New York.

Teachers Pay Teachers. Retrieved online from http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/

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8 thoughts on “Blog Week 5: Net Geners are Changing the Way We Do Business

  1. Sara,

    Great post this week! I can sympathize with your frustration about paying your dues, again, and again! I have a friend from work who is in a similar situation and they move often. Just when you receive tenure or are no longer a probationary teacher, you have to start all over. Although my situation is completely unrelated to yours, I know I will be paying my dues in the near future as we are getting ready to make some life changes. Although my family is so looking forward to the changes, I have been dreading the idea of starting all over again. Similar to what you mentioned, I have learned so much about myself too as well as what my capabilities are and feel prepared for the next step.

    Reflection is such an important piece to making improvements and keeping things moving in a forward direction. Too often, I think teachers get caught up in a busy work schedule and forget to sit down to reflect on their practices, philosophies, values and/or beliefs about current education. Things seem to be changing so fast in the digital age and I think reflection is so much more important now than it ever was before. Keep up the hard work!

    • Nicole,

      Thanks for the great comment. It has been very challenging emotionally and mentally to move so often. This move has been the most difficult because the state requires veteran teachers to take all of their assessments regardless of how long you have taught. Two more tests to go.

      I will be thinking of you and praying things go smoothly as you make “some life changes”. I think it is important to get started early if you know where you are moving to. Unfortunately we thought we were moving somewhere else so I was unable to prepare in advance. There is still some time until school starts, though. Best wishes!

  2. I like how you broke down your posting this week into sections. Your last section when you talk about using technology effectively, reminded me of a picture I saw on Pinterest titled “What do you want Kids to do with Technology?” We are not just consumers of technology anymore we are becoming producers, like your example of Teachers Pay Teachers website. If you follow the link you can see the image I’m referring to, I’m not sure how to embed it into my reply.

    http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/07/8-things-kids-should-be-able-to-do-with.html

    • Alison,

      I checked out the link you shared. Thanks. I love the part that mentions letting them find answer to their own questions. Too often I think we don’t allow our students to be creative and think critically. I enjoy watching my own children explore the world around them using technology. My youngest will make comments like, “Yay, I just used Google to figure out how to do it.” Mind you, she is using a pretend computer, but she has the right idea. It is strange that our young children are making comments like that. I can’t imagine saying things like that when I was little.

  3. jcrocker2 says:

    I appreciated the emphasis on using internet tools to explore, collaborate, and create. So many teachers use computer labs to put students on self-contained programs which are little more than extra practice or tutorials. I guess those programs don’t hurt, but they definitely shouldn’t make up the majority of a student’s computer time (at least not once the student is beyond the lower elementary years). If the computer program doesn’t do anything that can’t be accomplished in an unconnected classroom, we should spend our valuable computer time focusing on things that can’t be done in a connected classroom, especially if we have students populations that are not well-connected outside of school.

    • Jon,

      In the past I have found that teachers use computer time as a time to complete mandatory testing. I have certainly done this in the past, but as I learn more and more about the significance of technology in today’s society, I realize the importance of using our time with technology wisely. Rather than simply putting students on tasks that are extra practice or remediation, I try to have my students working on long term projects or activities that require them to explore things like using Google Sketch Up for Geometry or researching animals for their animal reports on National Geographic. (The kids really love listening to the noises the animals make). Also, I have found that having a parent helper during computer time allows me the freedom to complete tests if I need to, but still be able to support the students while they do more engaging tasks.

    • Great article, Brian. One of the final comments suggested trying KidBlog as a platform for blogging. Sounds like it might be good. Another comment mentioned creating a website not just a webpage. In other words, a site where students can navigate, post to blogs, interact/collaborate with peers, have links to sites with extra practice on skills, etc rather than just having a page with information. I think this is a great point.

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