Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Autonomous Discovery of Google Kids

In his recently published book, From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom, Marc Prensky wrote, "It is critical, though, to understand that because the locus of “knowledge” has, in the 21st century, moved to a great extent from the teacher to the Internet, and because the personal passions of our 21st century students have become the kids’ best (and often their only) motivation to learn, our teachers’ job—in fact their very raison’d’√™tre—is going through enormous change." I recently saw this play out first-hand in my nine-year-old son.

It started with this:

And then this (which is a tutorial produced by another elementary school kid far from Wisconsin):

And before I knew it, he was proudly standing over this:

Aside from being a great example of how different types of media work harmoniously, it also illustrates a couple of stronger points: Google kids autonomously learn. They know that they have immediate access to resources that can amplify and extend their learning. They are more independent and self-paced as they learn.

Here, my son was not coerced, lectured, drilled, or measured. We was excited and interest-driven, while utilizing global resources to complete a hands-on, technology amplified project-all without a single word of encouragement or persuasion from an adult. He's a Google kid.

Post blog reflection:
How can we capture this? How can kids thrive in a different environment? How can we translate the attributes of this scenario into powerful student understanding of complex concepts? How can we embrace, funnel, and leverage self-guided discovery in a technology-amplified classroom?

1 comment:

  1. I see the same thing with my son. He knows that the answers to all his questions are just a few clicks/swipes away. Gavin loves Tomagotchi toys and is constantly on YouTube looking up cheat codes and hacks for them. Most of the Toma videos are posted by other young kids who look a lot like him. Different than you and I, he's had this immediate ability to find answers his whole life (just like your son). There never was a time in his life when he couldn't quickly research (with some adult keyboarding help) whatever question or need was on his mind. An example of this played out recently during a trip to the hardware store. We walked by the battery display shelf and he remembers that he needs new batteries for his beloved Tomagotchis and asks me to purchase some for him. I couldn't remember which type they need so I told him to just wait until we got home so I could get an old battery to ensure that I purchase the right ones. I didn't want to buy incorrect batteries and then go through the hassle of returning them at a later date. Not wanting to wait, he grabs my phone, does a quick Google of "Tomagotchi v3 battery" and he had his answer and we purchased his batteries. (That reminds me that he owes me $9!)

    I've done similar searches while shopping, but that quick research reflex doesn't immediately come to mind like it does for him and for a majority of kids. In their lives, the answer to their questions has always been a few clicks away and they are so adept at being able to find those answers.