Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Pay attention to the natives

Great video posted to YouTube and the Jordan T4 district website similar to Karl Fisch’s “Did You Know” preso focused on the importance of engaging digital natives, utilizing available technologies like cell phones, etc:

I really liked the way the authors cited sources at the bottom of the screen for various statements that were made. GREAT work, and certainly a wonderful video to share with other teachers, administrators and parents.

Via Kiwi educator Lynn Etai.

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9 responses to “Pay attention to the natives”

  1. Rob Sipes Avatar
    Rob Sipes


    Thank you for pulling this video into my world. I too really felt like the citations were very helpful in building the credibility of the information. I think that the idea of engaging the digital natives is a very important one and one that many, many more people need to attempt to do, BUT I have to bring up the pesty issue of access. That limitation that does exist in many peoples workspaces. This is especially apparent to me with the texting example. I know that a large percentage of students have unlimited text messaging already because they use it, but at what school can you encourage students to make phone calls or text messages to other countries. Who is really going to pay for this. Bonus points for the students, but bonus bills for the parents.

    Again, I think that creative ideas need to be explored and shared, but they must be feasible for more than the best of the best districts and this was a very extreme example of that.

  2. Peter Rock Avatar

    I got the file 3/4 downladed and then it halted. Now the URL –

    is reporting to be 404 not found. I got to watch the first 3/4 I managed to catch through Hopefully the link will work again soon so I can watch the end. Rather interesting, thanks for the post.

  3. Peter Rock Avatar

    Looks like the teachertube posting is working though the file about doubled in size…

  4. Kelly Christopherson Avatar


    thanks for the video link. I’m hoping it’s on TeacherTube. One thing, can we get away from the digital native/immigrant thing? Not only do I think it really misinforms people about the issue, it gives people a copout for not getting involved or learning. So, please, let’s come up with a new way of identifying people who use technology intuitively and people who don’t.

  5. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Kelly: I actually share your view that the digital natives / immigrants lens or dichotomy is often used as an excuse and becomes another rationalization not to innovate. I wrote about this in October 2006 in posts titled “They’re not digital natives or immigrants” and “They’re not digital natives or immigrants.” This video focuses quite a bit on stats and statements from Prensky’s work, however, so I thought a reference to “the natives” was appropriate for the post about it. Thanks for the reminder and correction, though.

    I prefer referring to both teachers and students as LEARNERS, since that is what we all have potential to both do and “be.” 🙂

  6. Robert Avatar

    I don’t mean to be overly negative here, but that video had just about the lowest signal-to-noise ratio I’ve ever seen. Seven minutes and 40 seconds of video basically telling me that :

    (1) A lot of kids these days use technology;
    (2) That makes them digital learners; and
    (3) We need to teach using cell phones and iPods.

    Most of the “References” boiled down to things that don’t prove anything about the way students learn — slogans on t-shirts; personal opinions from single students, the context of which is unknown (were they having a bad day? were they actually trying to work on their assignments?); and so on.

    I’ve got students in my college precalculus class right now who have gone through 12 years of high school and a semester of remedial algebra and still can’t add fractions or multiply signed numbers together, and for that matter have no idea how to use half the technology that things like this video claim they can use. Using an iPod or a cell phone is not the answer. I’d be greatly in favor of shelving all the jargon that videos like this propagate and turning instead to making sure students have the basic content mastery necessary to actually do creative work.

  7. […] The video below, via Wes Fryer, gives a pretty good synopsis of the entire notion of “digital natives” and how they should be taught — if you drink the kool-aid believe the arguments of people who believe in digital natives. It’s 7:40 long, so take a deep breath and make some popcorn: […]

  8. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Robert: Thanks for adding your thoughts, it is good to have some different thinking about this in the conversation. My response reflects some ideas I heard Chris Dede share in a podcast interview from FETC 2006 this morning. Psychology of the early 20th century was heavily influenced by behaviorism, and it predicted that students could not learn complex things until they mastered all the basics. Psychology in the latter half of the 20th century revealed that indeed students CAN learn basic things when they are engaged in more complex work and learning. The traditional, rote learning models fail with a lot of kids because they fail to engage them. I don’t interpret videos like this as saying we just need to substitute iPods for chalkboards and overhead projectors. Sadly that is what many school districts are doing with electronic whiteboards: Still asking the kids to read pages 1-20 and answer questions 1-10 at the end of the chapter, but doing it with more bells and whistles. (This idea was shared by Marco Torres at MACE 2007.) What we need to do instead is innovate and find ways to engage students in authentic work, for which they have at least some intrinsic motivation. That is much harder to do than delivering a scripted curriculum. Differentiation for the learning needs of each student should be our goal, and technology with digital curriculum can go a long way toward reaching that goal if it is employed well.

  9. […] Still waiting for pics to upload, I scrolled down to find a link to Chris Harbeck, who is doing many interesting things, among which referring to Lesley Fryer, who is moving at the speed of creativity warning educators to pay attention to the natives . […]