Technology Shifts Equate with New Challenges: Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives, and Classroom Technology Use in Urban Schools

By Ramona R. Santa Maria.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many of today’s high school teachers experienced their education in a more “formal”, drill and skill type, setting. Today’s students experience is largely the same, but what is different is students expectations. Changes in technology have students seeking a more informal education where multitasking (cell phones, video games, instant/text messaging) is prevalent and information is easily obtained through the Internet and other digital (re)sources. Technology has changed today's schooling into something different, especially from what their teacher is able present in class. Specifically, because many teachers are “Digital Immigrants”, who many not have grown up with technology, and are now teaching students who are “Digital Natives” (Johnson, 2006).
This educational shift places tremendous challenges on all teachers, but also this is especially true for older, veteran teachers who have a larger learning curve to overcome. Compounding the problem in urban settings, teachers here have the least access to current technology in school, coupled with smaller salaries, that may leave them unable to purchase home technology for their own enjoyment or to use for classroom development. Both of these elements contribute to ways in which urban teachers are able to integrate technology into their classroom.
In this presentation narratives from urban teachers are shared in order to begin to better understand the gaps, obstacles, and successes that occur in the classroom as a result of technology.

Keywords: Urban Schools, Education Technology, Teachers, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.83-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.276MB).

Dr. Ramona R. Santa Maria

Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY, USA

Before coming to the University of New York College at Buffalo (Buffalo State College) in 1999, Ramona R. Santa Maria worked at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. She holds a master’s degree in educational computing from Buffalo State and is working on a PhD, concentrating in the area of Critical and Cultural Studies of Information Technology, within the discipline Sociology of Education at the University at Buffalo. Her dissertation topic looks at how high school students who attend under-resourced schools narrate their experiences with and observations of computer technology after intensive exposure in a computer classroom. Santa Maria other research interests include cultural influences effect young women when acquiring technology skills in school; She is also fascinated with th possibilities Web 2.0 technology presents to the K-16 classroom. SantaMaria has won several awards for excellence in teaching and presents her research at regional, national, and international conferences.

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