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"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” E. L. Doctorow

Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant?


Learning is a never ending story. There is always something new, something needed, something required. Some learners seem very comfortable using information technology and web 2.0tools -blogs, wikis, podcasts, Google Docs and even Second Life (is Second Life web 2.0 or perhaps even web 3.0?). Not all of these learners are young enough to be digital natives , though, they probably have had to adapt to new ways technology is being used nowadays, but are just that, newcomers to foreign territory.
This will be our main topic this week where we will also start looking at the stages in the writing process, will complete grammar exercises on verb tenses, will brainstorm and maybe record our presentation about Venezuela as part of our collaboration with the sisterclasses and will finally get a chance to do peer revision.

Online materials

  • Videos about the vision of students today
  • Articles about Digital Natives and Immigrants
  • The writing process
  • Grammar exercises on verb tenses
  • Checklist to review peer writing

Activities

1) It has been quite hard to select a video to illustrate this week´s topic since there are too many interesting ones. I have decided to embed one entitled The machine is Us/ing Us (4:33 min. long) that will give you the basics and leave two others as optional material (A vision of students today, 4:44 min. about university students and Are Kids different today, 2:34 min.) You may or may not choose to watch them. How does that sound?
Be patient as sometimes videos take a while to stream (what I usually do is to let them go on in mute while I am working on something else. Once it has played through, it is easier to watch it a second time without interruptions). Take notes -if you want- to keep a record of your reactions to the video to later on write a couple of paragraphs on the topic.



2) Again, there are several articles that are quite relevant. I will just include one from Harvard Magazine which is about two pages long. I can´t stop mentioning Marc Prensky, the guy who came up with the idea of digital natives and digital immigrants. His original 6-page article is in pdf here , in case you are interested or for later reference. You can always come back later to check on materials you could not read or watch during this course. This wiki will be here for you.

Here is an excerpt from one of Prensky´s writings where he discusses the benefits of video gaming: "The evidence is quickly mounting that our ´Digital Native´ brains are changing to accommodate these new technologies -especially games- with which they spend so much time. Not only are they better at spreading their attention over a wide range of events, but they are better at parallel processing, taking in information more quickly (at “twitchspeed”), understanding multimedia, and collaborating over networks ... On the surface, kids learn to do things – to fly airplanes, to drive fast cars, to be theme park operators, war fighters, civilization builders and veterinarians. But on deeper levels they learn infinitely more: to take in information from many sources and make decisions quickly; to deduce a game’s rules from playing rather than by being told; to create strategies for overcoming obstacles; to understand complex systems through experimentation. And, increasingly, they learn to collaborate with others."

3) Write a couple of paragraphs on your experience as a computer and Web user (Microsoft office programs, Internet, video games, messenger, blogs, etc.), how often you log in and how many hours, approximately, you are glued to a computer keyboard and screen. Some of you have already mentioned some of your skills and know-how, but you may include more details or even argue how it all has changed the way you think, behave ... in sum, the way you are. So, are you a digital native or a digital immigrant? Include your text in your wiki page. Do not forget to create a table of contents (check the "Tips and tricks" page in the sidebar).

4) Visit this site where you will find the steps of the writing process. Were you aware of these steps? Have you followed some of them as you had written the assignments in this course? Which do you find most difficult (pre-writing, drafting/writing, revising, editing)? Do you follow a similar process when you are writing in Spanish? Do you ever write formally in Spanish? in English? What recommendations were useful to you and you will probably take into account? Write a brief reflection about this in our class blog.

5) Complete the following grammar test which has the explanation of the answers in its next page window. Just do the first page because the context becomes too Hong Kongian later on. Try this exercise on verb tenses too.

6) Write your ideas for the presentation about Venezuela, if you have not already done so.

7) Here is a rubric for peer revision. I hope you find it helpful. Most of you, except Zyrus(Antonio) and Sergio, have already revised at least one (1) of the texts your peers wrote. We will start revising our "learner profile" soon. I will advise Sergio and Zyrus to start checking those based on what we did with the texts on Plagiarism. Should you have any question, do not hesitate to email me.

Benchmarks

I have:
  • watched the video "The machine is Us/ing Us"
  • read information about digital natives
  • written a couple of paragraphs on my experience as a digital native or a digital immigrant
  • read about the steps in the writing process and briefly reflected on it in our class blog
  • completed two grammar exercises
  • posted my ideas about the Venezuela presentation in our class blog
  • revised at least one (1) of my peers´ writings using Googledocs
  • edited my plagiarism and writer profile texts according to the suggestions of my peers and course facilitator.