Engaging the Digital Native

Presented at: PETE & C 2009
Hershey Pennsylvania, Feb. 10, 2009


A note to viewers.... I apologize as some of the links and resources below have been removed or changes as my kids projects and resources have evolved. I hope to revise this presentation in the future...

- Dave

Essential Questions

What is a Digital Native?

How do we connect digital learners with the teaching of traditional subjects?

As a teacher, what do you wish your kids did better /more of /could do?

How can technology help?

My Goal... is to get you thinking...

Digital Natives Defined -

"Today’s kids crave tools that facilitate networking. As nimble multi-taskers, kids use hyperlinks/text and instantaneous random access seamlessly, as they do their homework, talk on the phone, listen to music, download movies, surf the Web, while maintaining multiple simultaneous conversations on a chat line. Using technology transparently, without marveling at it, or wondering about how it works, today’s generation have grown up speaking digital - this is their native language - and they speak it fluently; they are digital natives."
(Prensky, 2001a, 2001b; Monitor Today 2004; Stepp 2004).

Source - The InfoSavvy Group - http://web.mac.com/iajukes/thecommittedsardine/Articles_files/ndl.pdf

The differences between digital native learners and digital immigrant teachers.
Source: www.apple.com/au/education/digitalkids/disconnect/landscape.html
Digital Native Learners
Digital Immigrant Teachers
Prefer receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources.
Prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources.
Prefer parallel processing and multitasking.
Prefer singular processing and single or limited tasking.
Prefer processing pictures, sounds and video before text.
Prefer to provide text before pictures, sounds and video.
Prefer random access to hyperlinked multimedia information.
Prefer to provide information linearly, logically and sequentially.
Prefer to interact/network simultaneously with many others.
Prefer students to work independently rather than network and interact.
Prefer to learn “just-in-time.”
Prefer to teach “just-in-case” (it’s on the exam).
Prefer instant gratification and instant rewards.
Prefer deferred gratification and deferred rewards.
Prefer learning that is relevant, instantly useful and fun.
Prefer to teach to the curriculum guide and standardized tests.

Content Area Ideas and Examples

I can't tell you how to teach, but hopefully my ideas will get you thinking...

How do you teach?

Language Arts


There are many ways to integrate technology into the writing process... These are just a few of the things we have done...

This is a grade-level project that we kick off with the Superbowl.

Students analyze commercials then create and edit their own using MovieMaker, Photostory, Blabberize or anything else they choose.

The link above will take you to my Cookie Campaign page where you can view student samples as well as some the commercials we analyzed.

Voicethread and the Presidential Inauguration

Powerpoint and Writing...

Photostory / Digital Storytelling -


In the Garden...
- This is the garden at our school. Our Writer's Notebook activity was focusing on details...

Philadelphia Museum of Art
- I take pictures during our fieldtrips then upload them into Photostory.
When we return, the kids can watch the video to help keep their memories fresh.


- We write a lot of poetry! The kids' wikis are a great place to publish and share their work!
Take a look at their pages and let their words do the talking.
Brendan L

- This is a fun way to have the kids record and publish their work! Below is a blabber of Michael's snowman poem...

Reading -

external image love-that-dog.jpg

Love That Dog -
This is one of my favorite books! A great lesson for engaging kids in reading and writing!

external image 51D2R217H9L._SL500_.jpg

The Big Wave-
Students can use their wikis as a Reading Journal. Recording and Answering questions, connections, etc...
- Jade's page

Reading ResponseThis is a weekly assignment for my students. In the past, I have used the Discussion Thread feature so kids can share their thoughts on their independent reading. This year, I will be doing this same assignment as a part of my student blog.

This is our version of a book report. Students are required to write a book review and complete a project.
I created a "template" page so the students can complete my form online. They then use this to write their review.

Owen's Book Share - This is Owen's work... In addition to completing the form, he also attached his Powerpoint.


Mr. Henshaw Journals-
- This was a great project which engaged all students with the book Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary.
- Follow the links and you'll note that we used a combination of class and student wikis for this project. This was a project from last year... we haven't read the book yet this year!

external image educational_logo.png
- This is a great kid-friendly site!
The Movie projects are intuitive and a good predecessor to teaching kids to work in Movie Maker or iMovie

- Check out my Kerpoof movie!

How do you teach?

Math and Science

BrainPOP -
This is my new favorite resource! I use it to teach many things, such as: Electric Circuits, Area and Perimeter, Diabetes, and more.

SMART Notebook
- The software is downloadable and can be used effectively even without a SMARTboard!

Here is a sample of how I use the SMARTboard in math: external image empty.png Engaging the Digital Native - Math Demo.notebook

and here are the slides that I use to teach Electric Circuits -

external image logo-108x108.gif Web Sudoku - Sudoku is a great math based activity!

How do you teach?

Social Studies

To collaborate on a study of Colonial Pennsylvania, students used webs created in bubbl (**www.bubbl.us**) then embedded them into our wikis.
Note - Use the controls in each embedded window to shrink the web so you can see the whole thing...

Chapter Concept Map Template using BUBBL.US
A Completed Concept Map

TIME FOR KIDS - TIme For Kids - Action Plan

Time for Kids is a great weekly publication. To get my kids more engaged, we worked together to develop an Action Plan.
We use the action plan to guide our learning from the publication. Rather than complete a worksheet, my kids choose an article of interest to focus and develop their own ideas
- Independent Study Activity- Student sample - http://wesxandy.wikispaces.com/TFK+Page

Student Wikis

Student Wiki Home Page - Enough of what I say... check out my kids wikis to see how they engage with technology!

My 4 Student Showcase Presenters -
- Xandy
- Caroline
- Isabel
- Zach

Messaging and Chatting -
My kids this year like to talk...to me... to each other... They make great use of Wikispace's Messaging feature located up at the top of the page!

Resources -


- **BrainPOP**
- **Jing**
- **Voicethread**
- **Bubbl**
- **Blabberize**

Daves Websites, Wikis and other Resources

Email - dmendell [at] wssd.org
Wiki www.mendell.wikispaces.com
Student Wiki – www.mendellstudentwikis.wikispaces.com
Class Blog http://davemendell.edublogs.org/
Reading Response Blog - http://srsteachers.org/blogs/dmendell/

Additional Resources
Bubbl – http://www.bubbl.us
Kerpoof – www.kerpoof.com
Wikispaces – http://www.wikispaces.com
Edublogs – http://www.edublogs.org
SMARTNotebook - http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/Products/SMART+Board+software/default.
Web Sudoku - http://www.websudoku.com
CBox - http://www.cbox.ws/

InfoSavvy Group - http://web.mac.com/iajukes/thecommittedsardine/Handouts.htm