The clash




Molding tomorrow’s citizens into aware and empowered digital citizens should be an easy task. We’ve done it for centuries -raising children to become empowered in the society of tomorrow, that is. But there is a tiny problem though. In this very moment in the history of man, the velocity of technological development has been unprecedented. We’ve never seen anything like it. And we are a little bit stunned.

The point is that our everyday life is digital, so we need to be digital ourselves. The easiest thing I could do right now would be to blame the digital generational gap between children and their adults, point a big fat finger at the adults and say “Get used to it and educate!”It would be so easy. But of course I cannot do that.

In Denmark we do have a rather strong political focus on our role as participants in a globalized network society. Though, a recent survey evaluating ICTs in the Danish school made by the Danish evaluation institute EVA in corporation with the Danish Ministry of Education recently showed that teachers still need more training, that ICT is present in the school, but not functioning, that ICTs are not integrated well enough in the actual subjects, that knowledge sharing systems are primarily used for administrative purposes and that individual ICT initiatives were not supported sufficiently by the school management. These are some of the factors that influence the way in which we bring up kids to become functional empowered citizens of tomorrow.

But there are also the cultural and social factors. And what I see in the classrooms is a conflict between two sets of everyday meanings and practices (that is to say: two different cultures) that clash when students -that have grown up with digital media as natural elements of their everyday lives – and teachers -that have grown up in a completely different media environment – meet in the classroom.