Recently, I had the pleasure of working closely with our Kindergarten teacher and her students. The students are currently learning all about bar graphs. As part of their learning, their teacher helped them create a two-question online survey: 1) What is your favorite ice cream flavor? and 2) Where do you live? The kids created a survey in Google Forms. My job was to introduce the students to Twitter and help them formulate a Tweet asking fellow Tweeters around the globe to participate in the survey.
I have been thinking about the students’ response to my question: What are some ways we communicate? Their answers included Facetime, texting, and Skype (in that order). Not only was I was struck by their answers, but even more so by what they did not say: The students did not mention email as a means of communication and when asked how they would get a picture they had drawn to their grandparents, they did not mention snail mail. But, on the other hand, when I pointed to that little blue bird, a couple of students could tell me that it represented Twitter.
My 14-year old son and his friends recently told me that they don’t really use Facebook–because it is for “older people” (i.e., us). Instead, you can find them on Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine (neither are my social media turf).
Like you, I am a digital immigrant not a native, and I’m trying to keep up. Our kids are growing up with forms of communication that were unimaginable when we were children. And the pace of technology change is increasing. When our Kindergarten students know Twitter but not regular mail, times have changed. But of course, they know nothing different (for now). Emphasizing the rudiments of all communication regardless of format, however, remains the key to early learning and literacy: community, respect, and the ability to listen. It is so enjoyable to hear from our youngest students all the new ways they communicate with the world.