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Digital Immigrants Helping the Natives

Over on the Teaching Now blog, our colleague Anthony Rebora examines a Scientific American article in which two teachers argue that, although children may appear naturally comfortable using Web technology, that doesn't automatically mean they know how to best use that technology for educational purposes.

Teachers Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters say students can become impatient and disinterested when using the Web to accomplish something more complicated and educational than making a purchase or playing a video game. And it's teachers' responsibility to guide students through the thought process of using technology for education, even if students are more familiar with the nuts-and-bolts of the technology than are the teachers.

The analysis furthers the public stance of government agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and nonprofit organizations such as Common Sense Media, which consistently assert the need for digital literacy training as one of the most important educational issues facing both children and adults. Both groups are among a cadre of public and private players in the industry throwing leadership, leverage, and investment behind this issue. But perhaps that message is more relevant and realistic coming from teachers who see students' struggles with executing a simple Web search or examining the content of the search results they find.

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