Who, What, Where You Are Teaching– Day 1

I enjoy reading every learning story a lot.  All of you are great writers and get the idea of photo blogging.  The pictures you chose really enhance what you describes.  I love the varieties of your learning stories.  Thanks for all your good job for the first assignment.


I sent out invitations to all of you last weekend to create a Dropbox account in order for me to share the reading materials with you.  However, I found a way to share the materials with all of you without asking you to create an account.  Therefore, for those who accepted my invitation, I want to say sorry and also thank you for helping me.  Dropbox is really a very convenient tool.  If you still want to create an account for future use, you are still welcome to do it.

Now, take 30 seconds to make sure that you can see the shared folder here.


When you were writing your learning story, I believe that you experienced how a learner feels about the unknown and how a learner can overcome the difficulties either by him/ herself or seeking for others’ help.  Now let’s think about learners from a more broad and generic perspective.  Remember that I told you the reason why I came to the States for my advanced study.  I was sick of using the same textbooks I used in high school to teach my students.  They are in a different generation.  As a teacher, I really want to explore the world with them by using a foreign language.  Today’s learners are very different from us.  The technology is changing in a very speedy way.  Let’s make a list about the differences between today’s learners and ourselves.

Is technology a big idea and the main theme emerging from our list?  How do you define technology?  In Larry Cuban’s book “Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technology since 1920″, he proposed that technology is the tool.  Therefore, a pen can be a technology.  Technology does not need to be a machine.  Technology can be multiple.  That is why you will see this term “ICTs” nowadays.  ICTs stands for “Information and Communication Technologies”.  However, some people believe that these tools are good for communication.  Communications are multiple.  Hence, you will see ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sometimes.  But, no matter which term you use, the main purpose is to help our learners to learn.  It is very SIGNIFICANT for you, as an educator, to know your learners.

But Who are the 21st century learners?  Let’s watch the first video and talk about the ideas embedded in this video.

How Will You Teach Me in the 21st Century?

Now, let’s see how educators and researchers think about the 21st century learners.

The 21st Century Learners

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the big idea you get from this video clip?
  • Any similarity or difference form the previous video clip?
  • How important is the content?
  • How important is the skill?
  • How do you think about informal learning and formal learning?
  • Did you hear the term “digital native”?  Do you think you are one?
  • What is the role of teacher in the 21st century then?

Marc Prensky coined the terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant” to differentiate different generations.  People who were born after 1982 are “digital natives” who will be your future students.  People like me, who were born before 1982, are old generations and thus termed “digital immigrants”.  Do you agree with him?  Maybe not.

Here are two articles talking about digital natives and digital immigrants.  Hope this will help you to think more deeply about the debate of digital natives and digital immigrants.

The Myth of the Digital Native

Digital Natives: Fact or Fiction?

This article talks more about how teachers face the challenge of teaching the digital natives.

Read about Class of 2016.


  1. Finish reading “Meaningful Learning” Chapter 1 in our Dropbox shared folder.  Then start to work on your reflection to this reading on your photo blog.  Remember, it’s a PHOTO blog.  Therefore, use at least 1 image to support your ideas or reflection.  This assignment is due next Friday (Aug. 31).
  2. There are 3 important documents talking about technology use in classroom.  Select one document to review from our Dropbox Shared Folder. This might mean reading it from cover to cover or just becoming very familiar with the contents. You’ll be the “spokesperson” for the document you choose. So choose wisely (and shorter does not necessarily mean easier!). Everyone should be able to access all 3 documents – but you need only choose one to “know”: 2010 National Education Technology Plan (NETP), The 2012 Horizon Report, or the Educational Technology Roadmap.  Let me know your choice next Monday and then you can start to read the document.  It takes a little bit more time, so I really want you to start early.

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