While responding to a recent blog post on Digital Natives (I call them 'screenagers') I had a realization. Technology is supposed to be the native tongue of screenagers. With this, we also expect screenagers to be able to google search. Know where to type in a web address. Appropriately respond to texts/blogs/wikis with substance.
We expect children to enter our classrooms with an ability to speak well. We expect the words to flow out of their mouths fluently. We expect them to share their thoughts clearly. We expect them to be able to choose words carefully & precisely. We expect their pronunciation to be crisp.
We expect children to be able to understand the subtle social cues their bodies send. A turned back telling a classmate that they are being excluded. A roll of an eye showing disgust. Crossed arms that say I'm not listening/interested.
We expect children to be able to write well. Write in complete sentences that include a subject & predicate. Use a variety of simple & complex sentences. Begin each of their sentences with capitals & end them with appropriate punctuation. We expect them to be able to choose words to create vibrant mental images for the readers.
When my students 1st enter my classroom, I don't assume what they know. I provide opportunities for them to demonstrate what they are capable of doing independently. I structure activities that allow me to see what academic, social, & technological skills they are coming to me with. This also lets me see with what they need assistance, & in which areas they need to grow. The fact is, like anything else, they need us adults to show them how. We need to model for them what it looks like, sounds like, feels like to communicate on-line. With our careful guidance they can & will be successful digital communicators.