Virtual is the New Reality

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BlogPostGraphic_VirtualistheNewRealityBy Terra Tarango, President, SDE

True story: One night we are sitting in the living room and my 10-year-old says, “Look, it’s snowing!” My husband and I naturally look out the window to confirm. What does my 13-year-old do? She pulls out her iPhone and checks the weather app to confirm. Really? Since when did the virtual world supplant the real world? Well, who am I kidding…probably since about 2009.

I resisted the urge to throw her iPhone out in the snow, forcing her to interact with the real world. Instead, we joked about it, and proceeded to compare what her weather app was saying with what we were really seeing. Turns out, weather.com was spot on, but it was a worthy and fun exercise.

Teachers face this digital divide every day. We teach real-world concepts in real-world settings to students who operate digitally and virtually. This isn’t something to rebel against, nor is it something to chastise the students for. Rather, we can embrace it. Let’s meet them half way and help one another balance the virtual and real worlds.

If your students are like my 13-year-old and need virtual proof that you exist, try using this headline generator site: http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp. Quickly type in a headline and it will generate it as a newspaper front page that you can email to your students to verify you actually exist. You’ll no doubt find better uses for such a tool, but the point is, don’t be afraid that the world’s gone digital. Learning is still learning. Teaching is still teaching. And you don’t need an app to tell you that.

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