Many concerns have surfaced in regards to technological usage and more recently mobile devices. Does multitasking and instant access to once unimaginable information result in increased distraction and decreased literary skills? This is elaborated further in the article Digital Research Technoligies Offer More Information, More Distraction for High School Students, According to Pew Report  by Sara Bayliss and published in the School Library Journal’s November 2012 Extra Helping eNewsletter. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser offer more to the counterargument that technology’s affects on attention spans or literacy skills are not as concerning in this technologically advanced society but rather as engaging and educational as it was previously before the 1980’s. They address this when Palfrey and Gasser state that “just because Digital Natives don’t learn things in the same way that their grandparents did does not mean that the way that their learning is not as effective” and “Digital Natives are doing the same things their parents did with information, just in different ways”. We need to start thinking outside of the traditional box of educational tools and expand to what is desired and needed of our youth/digital natives. Digital natives are those born having  24/7 access to the internet whether by a computer, tablet, smart phone, etc. This is why Palfrey and Gassar stated that “schools of the future will need faculty of the future” which I believe should be expanded to all educators, libraries included.

Libraries may incorporate iPad vending machines such as the one by Mediasurfer allowing the patrons of any age to have access to, borrow, become familiar with and hopefully inspire them to create using some of the latest and popular technologies. Engaging students can include using online tools such to earn badges similarly seen with the app Foursquare that even incorporates a weekly point competition among friends, but also badges for event or places such as, voting in an election, so many flyer miles (airport check-ins), etc. Educators may want to use a similar online design with classbadges or include something as intriguing and of high interest as video gaming into class structure and lesson plans like ClassRealm that’s currently raising funds at Kickstarter (can view advertisement video) to enhance its features and increase its usage. The ALA supported International Games Day, Saturday, November 2, 2012 in which libraries registered and combined traditional and electronic gameplay  And, this year, with the presidential election and Superstorm Sandy attendance was lower than usual, but gaming was highly welcomed especially for children that were devastated by the Superstorm as a healthy outlet. Even the idea of the Teen Technology Project that’s goal is get “teenagers using the latest technology to help non-profit organizations expand the reach and impact of their work” (promotional video for additional fundraising with Kickstarter) is a wonderful way to engage students to become more active with technology and community service. A win-win idea! Children/tweens/YA all need healthy outlets as educators and librarians have the opportunity to offer them, incorporating technology in interactive, creative, and enjoyable ways to help aid them with schoolwork, finding resources, access to healthy outlets, as well as increasing their value as a community member.

  1. Hello Nicole!

    I think I first realized how different teens are learning these days back when I was still teaching in the classroom. I was teaching a fairly complex math lesson and saw one of my students texting on their phone.

    I assumed that if they were texting they were not paying attention to me and asked them for an answer. The student looked up, nailed the answer to my question (showing they had heard everything I had said) then returned to being “distracted”

    I realized at this point I had to reframe my views on how my students used techology and how I incorporate it into my classes.

    Now two years later as I start the Teen Technology Project that you reference above (thanks for the link!) my goal is to integrate education and learning with technology and real life experiences. My belief is that the more we can take the learning out of the classroom, and integrate it with what these kids love to do, the more they will learn and the more success we will all have.

    Thank you so much for the article!


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