These are my notes from Milton Chen’s presentation, “The Digital Generation: Up Close and Personal” at the 21st Century Learning @ the West Lake Expo held Oct 31 – Nov 3, 2009 at Xi Hu, China, also known as West Lake. West Lake is in the center of Hangzhou, China, which is about an hour by bus southwest of Shanghai. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Milton started his presentation with a great introduction and welcome in Mandarin Chinese. The audience was very impressed!

Milton Chen is the executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Because we were founded by a filmmaker, we make films about 21st century learning

Today I will show you some films of youth
– 10 multimedia portraits of digital youth, ages 9-18
– digital learning and lifestyles
– film segments, interviews, articles
– youth, parents, teachers

These are all available on our website, Edutopia.org
The Digital Generation Project

Three themes in these stories
1- students are now able to create content on their own, they are creators
2- they are using digital media to communicate in new ways
3- they are using digital media to teach

This is a fundamental shift for students to become teachers themselves
– in the traditional classroom, the teacher teaches and the students are expected to learn
– you will see in these stories the students are teaching themselves, their friends, and sometimes their teachers and parents

This is a BIG shift for 21st century learning

Now we are going to see some sections from 3 different students

First one is Dana, age 9, from Maryland in the USA

Kidsteam

Next will be Virginia who is 14 from Georgia, lives in a more rural area

THIS IS A STUDENT OF VICKI DAVIS! WOO HOO! GO VICKI! (AS A RELATED ASIDE, ALL BLOGGER.COM WEBSITES ARE BLOCKED HERE IN CHINA, SO VICKI’S COOL CAT TEACHER BLOG IS BLOCKED UNLESS YOU USE A PROXY SERVICE LIKE PROXIFY.)

Digital Youth Portrait: Virginia

In this study we thought the oldest students would be the most interesting to watch
– we learned the age 11-13 students are the most interesting, they are the ones who have always used digital media
– sometimes the 13 year olds are doing things we thought just 16 year olds were doing

3rd student is Luis from Oregon, 18 years old
– he is a video producer and a teacher
4H Techwizards after school program (PDF)

In America many kids have more access to technology OUTSIDE their school than they do inside

Our insights:
1- new youth roles: creating, collaborating, teaching
2- importance of adults and family context: parents, educators
3- new learning environments: online, after-school, redesigned schools
4- new “learning day, “anytime, anywhere, 24/7

sometimes we hear about these “digital natives” and get the idea that they are all doing these digital things completely on their own

digital natives are actually supported by their parents and other adults who provide these opportunities for them

this is leading us to think about a new learning day, where learning can happen at any time, and with anyone

In the future we are hoping to do some international portraits of students

We are very interested in how American students are using the Internet to connect with others internationally to support their own learning, language learning, etc.

Some of these videos are being used for teaching within colleges of education

I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT TO INTEGRATE THESE VIDEOS INTO THE PRE-SERVICE CLASSES I’M TEACHING IN THE SPRING FOR UCO IN EDMOND. HAT TIP TO CHRIS WALSH, WHO I THINK LED THIS VIDEO PRODUCTION EFFORT FOR GLEF.

Question from the audience: How did you choose which students to feature?

Answer: GLEF setup a contest and asked students to submit 2 minutes
criteria: are these students doing interesting things with digital media?
– wanted diversity: 5 boys, 5 girls, different regions of the US, both urban and rural areas

Milton will leave some copies of the DVD with the Chinese universities represented here

GOOD NEWS IS THE EDUTOPIA WEBSITE AND VIDEOS ARE ACCESSIBLE AND NOT BLOCKED HERE IN CHINA!

Samantha (Sam) is another person featured, she is 13, she likes to play videogames like World of Warcraft

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