For much of the past two decades, educators have commonly referred to millennials as “digital natives.” Given that they are the first generation to grow up with access to personal computers, the descriptor seemed apt at the time. But today’s students–the emerging Generation Z–are demonstrating what it really means to be a true digital native.
Not only are these students growing up with widespread access to computers and the internet, they are surrounded by smartphones and other mobile devices with impressive computing power.
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Digital education in the smartphone era
As a history teacher for nearly three decades, I have seen this transformation firsthand. As an AVID staff developer who provides professional learning to other teachers, I have learned that the way we teach students must change with their evolving expectations. Teachers must be prepared to embrace technology in the classroom, not as a shortcut, but as a way of fostering deeper learning among their students through methods that better reflect the world they live in today.