Learn How to Leverage the Digital Generation's Technology Skills in the Classroom




Nowdays you can't observe students and not notice how naturally they gravitate towards new Web 2.0 communication technologies.


Utilize Boot Camp to understand how digital tools are changing the classroom.


The Digital Generation uses the Internet, computers, cell phones, as well as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and the iPod.


Given their adeptness with digital tools, today's learners can become mentors for younger and older children.

They maintain Web sites and can share favorite resources, lead online workshops, and develop multimedia products designed

to share their knowledge with others.


"One of the coolest things that one of my high school teachers did was give us three months to work on a 20-minute video project on a specific topic in the class. The class was on chemistry, and our topic was the chemistry of global warming. To this day, I could tell you just about anything about global-warming chemistry. A video project was so much more fun than a boring research paper!"


Techno Tools


Presentation tools (Microsoft's Power Point, Apple's Keynote, Techsmith's Jing)

Online video tutorials (You Tube, Teacher Tube)

Blogs (Blogger, Word Press)

Online course systems (Moodle, Blackboard)

Webinars and online meetings (WebEx, Elluminate)

Virtual worlds (Teen Second Life, Open Simulator)

Voice Thread (Use this site for collaborative storytelling)




Today's youth can actively cooperate and interact in the digital, virtual world.





"Our parents ask us, 'Why don't you just hang out with the same five friends you've always had?'" But Mennie says she connects regularly with some 600 Facebook friends, updating them on everything from her prom photos to political-action campaigns. 'It's so useful,' she adds."



Techno Tools



Students are dynamic creators who use a wide assortment of digital tools to express themselves. Their products include animation, video, original music, stories, graphics, presentations, and Web sites.


You can teach geography with Xtranormal videos by having your character define geography words or describe what they are. If you want the character to say something, all you have to do is type the script in the script box. When you press Action, he or she will say everything you wrote."


"Xtranormal is a movie-creating Web site that allows users to pick a scene, type a script, add sounds and actions, and publish their work. In Lisa Parisi and Christine Southard's class, students have made Xtranormal videos as a part of the Time Zone Experiences Wiki and other class projects -- and they've been a resounding success. Says Parisi, "One student, who was typically an unmotivated writer, spent hours writing and rewriting her script so it would work well in the video."



Techno Tools


Music composition/editing (Apple's Garage Band, Audacity)

Digital video editing (Apple's iMovie and Final Cut Pro, Microsoft's Movie Maker, Adobe's Premiere Pro)

Graphic design (Adobe's Photoshopand Illustrator, Plasq's Comic Life)

Multimedia production (Adobe's Flash Player, animoto)





Digital-media literacy: The process of accessing, analyzing, evaluating, and creating messages in a wide variety of digital media.

Digital storytelling: Using new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own real-life stories.

Quest Atlantis: An international learning and teaching project that uses a three-dimensional multiuser environment to immerse children in educational tasks.

Teen Second Life: An Internet-based three-dimensional virtual world where people ages 13-17 can meet, create, and socialize using voice and text chat.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, Teen.SecondLife.com

Digital native: A person raised in a technological environment who accepts that environment as the norm, and who often has grown up surrounded by digital devices, such as mp3 players and cell phones, and regularly uses these devices to interact with other people and the outside world.

Digital immigrant: A person who has adopted the Internet and related technologies later in life, typically after adolescence and young adulthood. Like a geographical immigrant, this person may adopt some aspects of a digital native while still retaining old habits.

Remixing: The process of taking samples from preexisting materials to combine them into new forms.

Augmented-reality games: Simulation games that combine real-world experiences with additional information supplied by handheld computers.

Sources: DigitalNative.org, Education.MIT.edu

Web 2.0: The second generation of the World Wide Web, expecially the movement away from static Web pages to dynamic and shareable content and social networking.

Lego Robotics: A line of Lego kits used to explore robotics, mechanical systems, electronics, and programming.

Geographic information system (GIS): A system that integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

Sources: Wiktionary.com, GIS.com

Machinima: A term derived from machine and cinema that refers to filmmaking created through the real-time recording of computer games, virtual worlds, or any already existing three-dimensional digital environment or virtual world.

Podcast: One of a series of digital media files, usually audio or video, made available for download via Web syndication.

Sources: Twinity.com, Wikipedia.org

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics): The four academic disciplines considered the core technological underpinnings of an advanced society, according to the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation.

Game Maker: A software application that allows its users to easily develop computer games without having to learn a complex programming language.

Sources: Wikipedia.org

Guild: A group of players in World of Warcraft who join together for companionship, adventure, economic gain, and more.

Fan fiction: Stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work in which these elements were created.

Wikipedia: A free multilingual encyclopedia with millions of articles written collaboratively by volunteers around the world.

Sources: WorldofWarcraft.com, Wikipedia.org

Remixing: The process of taking samples from preexisting materials to combine them into new forms.

Mashup: A derivative work consisting of two or more pieces of media conjoined together, such as a video clip with an unrelated soundtrack.

Sources: RemixTheory.net, Wiktionary.org

The Town Crier



Both in the classroom and in after-school pods, students learn to become critical creators in Chicago's Digital Youth Network. On Remix World, the program's social-networking site, participants share, critique, and discuss their work.


Students ages 9-19 from around the globe work in teams and communicate via Web 2.0 technologies to build educational Web sites for the ThinkQuest contest.


At the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab, Kidsteam pairs students with researchers, who then work together to design new technologies for children


In Be The Game, high school students mentor peers and use game design as a tool for teaching science, technology, engineering, and math, and the program's high tech bus travels to locations where tech facilities are not available.


Global Kids uses media and technology to foster civic participation and global awareness. In its Online Leadership Program, students make games, create animated movies, and produce videos that explore global issues.



"Technology seems to be second nature for them. I am amazed daily at the ease with which they navigate through the systems of technology, humbly and gratefully accepting my role as student as well as teacher. They have taught me to be more fluid and adventuresome in the vast world of computers, to better understand and investigate the myriad sources of the Internet, and to trust that sometimes wisdom comes in small packages."

-Sherrye Jackson




Not Ideal. But Real

The Fifteen Most Influential Games of the Decade


1. The Sims (2000)

2. Grand Theft Auto III (2001)

3. Guitar Hero (2005)

4. World of Warcraft (2004)

5. Brain Age (2005)

6. Halo (2001)

7. Bejeweled (2001)

8. Wii Sports (2006)

9. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (2005)

10. Metroid Prime (2002)

11. Silent Hill 2 (2001)

12. Half-Life 2 (2004)

13. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)

14. Happy Farm (2008)

15. Portal (2007)

By Chris Kohler, in Wired's GameLife blog.



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