Micah Shippee, PhD

Speaker, Consultant, Instructional Designer, Trainer, & Teacher

How Kids Approach Tech. #edtech #mlearning

The way we approach technology has a great deal to do with how we perceive it. Today, I had students working collaboratively with spreadsheets calculating costs for a pen-and-paper simulation. Their task was to supply three ships with men, women, children, cows, horses, etc.. for life in the New World. To allow for effective and efficient use of time I allowed them to use calculators, (however I do expect that the 11-12 year olds in the room could do the math). Each class period I found at least one group without a calculator so I instantly set down my iPhone on one of their desks and opened the native calculator app. Once they got over the fact that I was allowing them access to my personal tech, they got straight to work. By the end of the day I realized how they were using my device different from how they were using the calculators. The iPhone users would do the computations with two thumbs as if they were texting, while the calculator users, using the same size device for the same purpose, would punch away with their index finger. While I’m not sure about speed, thumbs vs finger, it was fascinating to see how they approached the technology where size, shape, and function were not observable variables, it was all about how the student (digital natives) perceived the technology’s proper use.

All day long the nearest thing to misusing my tech was one student who visited my other apps and fascinate over the portrait-landscape flipping. Other than that one student received a birth announcement text with a pic of new baby boy: Asher (welcome to the world kiddo).

Today was a good day.

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