Digital Passports for both Natives and Immigrants

Now that I’ve been with Discovery for a year, it looks like I finally merit my own blog!

Well, maybe that’s not it exactly.  As we restructure things a little for the new year, we’re shifting the focus around a little.  I’ll still be posting on the National blog, but mostly it will be about DEN specific events and opportunities. I’m pretty lucky though, in that part of my job is to keep an eye out for new tools and technologies and figure out how they fit into the world of education.  Posts related to that part of the job are going to be placed here, on the Digital Passports blog.

Onwards to the obvious question.  Why Digital Passports?  There’s a few reasons.  The first is that I thought I’d get sued if I used "Chicken Soup for the Digital Immigrant’s Soul".  So that name was out.  While trying to figure out a decent name, I talked quite a bit with Hall Davidson (who’s now posting on his own blog, Media Matters).  As we brainstormed, we kept keying in on the idea that whether you’re a so called Native or Immigrant is really irrelevant at this point.  What matters is how willing you are to travel.

I know plenty of DEN members that did not grow up with the internet.  They didn’t have a cell phone during their teenage years because they hadn’t been invented yet!  High tech at the time may have been a computer that was the size of a house.  In short, they’re the typical Digital Immigrant.

However, that hasn’t stopped them.  They go to every conference they can.  They read blogs and listen to podcasts.  They boldly go where no teacher in their district has ever gone before (to places like MySpace and Facebook).  In short, despite the fact that it’s a brave new world, they make the effort to immerse themselves in a culture that’s radically different than the one they experienced growing up.  They have issued themselves a Digital Passport and are filling it with stamps that say things like ‘Flickr’, ‘Blogger’, and ‘’. 

The people they encounter in these places act differently (they share EVERYTHING), they talk differently (g2g PRW.  LOL.  ttyl ), they  spell differently (goodbye silent ‘e’), and they even look different (browse MySpace for endless examples).  However, that hasn’t stopped many teachers from diving right in to DSL (Digital as a Second Language).

So this blog is going to be for teachers who already have a Digital Passport or are interested in applying for one.  I’ll be sharing new technologies and websites, along with some old favorites with new twists.  I hope that you share things that you find as you journey along the Information Superhighway (I still love that phrase), so that we can all learn together as a community.

Make sure you’ve got some comfortable shoes on, because there’s quite a bit of climbing to do.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget your towel.  Let’s explore!


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  1. Debbie Bohanan said:

    Congratulations on the new blog. I look forward to all the new stamps you will be providing for my passport.

    Any sign of baby Dembo yet?

  2. Karen C. Seddon said:

    Hey Steve – I found you by way of Hall’s blog. Very nice. I love the name. It’s just like my favorite quote from Douglas Rushkoff pithy statement: Children are the natives of cyberspace, we are the immigrants. I look forward to your findings and being able to pass them on.

  3. Marie Belt said:

    I am definitely a digital immigrant! And I must say that I never even heard of Flicker, etc., until becoming involved in the DEN and participating in events with you and other trainers. Thanks for helping and encouraging me to navigate this new world!

  4. Mayuko Nakamura said:

    Thanks for creating this blog. I like the name and concept. I used to teach Educational Technology classes to pre-service teachers almost 5 years ago, but it’s amazing how quickly you will lose your “second language skills” if you’re not using it. With the help of this blog and others like yours, I look forward to becoming fluent again as DSL.

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