Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Digital kids - Analog Teacher

Filmed DNA
Filmed DNA,
originally uploaded by Stitch
My wife the English teacher was doing a poem called War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy. She was talking about imagery and metaphor and other Englishy stuff and had just got to the "Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh." bit and was pointing out that they were in order - like the "spools of suffering" that were in "ordered rows" when a pupil interrupted to ask, "What's a dark room?" Sudden mental gear change!

Darkroom? Photographic film? Not a clue! So much of the poem relies on an understanding of how film photography works and was completely lost on the digital generation.

It was not that long ago that I used to explain the difference between random access and sequential access by comparing it to playing an LP rather than a cassette tape. "An L what?" :-) Technology is moving ever faster and I wonder how many of our analogies and explanations are hindering rather than helping?

Has anyone else been caught out like this by a digital divide that has got in the way of learning? What favourite analogies are you having to let go?


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3 comments:

Chris said...

Not a technical analogy - at least, not in the sense you mean here - but any metaphor or imagery relying on religious or biblical background tends to be lost on most kids now. I even volunteered to teach RE when I returned to teaching English in the 80s because I was amazed at this lack of knowledge! ( I escaped, eventually)

ICT Maverick said...

I use video tapes vs DVDs for the sequential vs random access explanation. This still works, but I do wonder for how long.

David said...

Hello Chris

Yes, I know what you mean. For example, I am always stunned at how much students on University Challenge know - both the breadth and depth of their knowledge... and yet, they can be stumped by a question I think my Sunday School class could answer!

Hello Mr Maverick

I suspect therefore that you're right. It is getting harder to find places that sell video tapes! Cheap DVD recorders can be bought for £80 or less and the prices will plummet further (I suspect) as more Hard Disk based recorders come onto the market. The days of video recorders are numbered. :-)