Who are the “Digital Natives?” Digital Natives are individuals born during or after the general introduction of digital technology, and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, have a greater understanding of its concepts. In most cases the term focuses on people who grew up with the technology that became prevalent in the latter part of the 20th century, and continues to evolve today. Our students are the “Digital Natives.”
“Education is the single largest problem facing the digital world, as our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language,” according to writer Marc Prensky. Immigrants suffer complications in teaching natives how to understand an environment which is "native" to them and foreign to Immigrants.
How do we empower and teach our “Digital Natives?” We must create an environment in which they are comfortable and can use the tools/technology that they are accustomed to. The solution Prensky proposes is for today's teachers to learn the language of the natives, to speed up instruction, and to provide "random access." Prensky argues for a new way of looking at educational content as well. Traditional subjects such as reading, writing, and logical thinking; "future content" is "digital and technological," including such subjects as "software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology and genomics" as well as the "ethics, politics, sociology, languages, and other things that go with them."
The School District of Indian River County is motivated and committed to providing instruction that is relevant to our “Digital Natives,” which includes, but is not limited to anytime, anywhere mobile device learning. Anytime, anywhere mobile device learning allows students and teachers to access instructional material from a mobile device anytime, anywhere with internet accessibility. Most of our students carry some type of mobile device, whether it is a smart phone, iPad, Tablet or Laptop. Wouldn’t it be great if they could use these devices as a part of the instructional process?
Our district has funded a number of Pilot Projects including a 1:1 iPod initiative as well as a 1:1 laptop initiative, where each student has access to their own device. The pilots have been successful but we are unable to expand such innovative technology to a larger number of students in our current network environment. We do not have the ability to manage and monitor student/teacher owned mobile devices or certain mobile technology that could be provided through the district across our network. This inability causes a number of security issues.
In order to move forward and develop a 21st century school district that will adapt to the learning styles of our “Digital Natives,” we must first lay the ground work. The implementation of the ForeScout solution is necessary for providing 21st century learning. ForeScout CounterACT is an automated security control platform that lets you see and control everything on your network – all devices, all operating systems, all applications and all users. BYOD – Bring Your Own Device programs are possible with ForeScout CounterACT because the security vulnerability holes are monitored and managed. It is imperative that we implement this solution for the safety and security of our students/teachers and to create the instructional environment that is necessary to meet the needs of our “Digital Natives.”