In my
past 8 years of teaching a variety of levels of technology fluent students in
the classroom I have become exposed to the variety of different ways that
students supplement their knowledge acquisition of technology skills while away
from the traditional classroom. I always find it very interesting when speaking
with students to discover how they found this tool or that web resource and see
how they have built upon their skills completely independent of school
curriculum. I am also curious how they then share and collaborate with these
skills. 
Technology
knowledge driven students spend hours of their time learning how to learn
develop a variety of skills such as programming, research skills, web
fluency and development. In this process they define goals, find resources and
match those goals to projects with meaning. These students become the leaders
and show superior knowledge acquisition in most classrooms. We hopefully have all met these
trailblazers at some point in our educational careers, they take acquiring
skills in which to create projects and develop knowledge to a new level. I love
working with these students because I learn from them and I grow with them. By
encouraging them I am allowed to envision what their projects goals are and how
their research will impact their learning.
In my web
design and mobile app development courses I often had students who had more advanced programming knowledge
prior to taking my introductory course. Some of these students acquired their
skills in a summer camp or other venue but many of them had found the
resources themselves on the web and become familiar with the skills necessary
to be complete tasks independently.We operate in a time in education in which most students have many resources to direct their own independent learning. 
I think
it is important to ask students: “What skills and knowledges do they use to compensate for
the knowledge’s they don’t find in the traditional curriculum?” It is with
their answers that educators can find the opportunity to provide students with
a range of new and interesting skills. It is time to investigate what students
research, and how they use their time to better understand what the world of
education is for students who are doing much of their learning online. This
will provide a real opportunity for educators to see what they’re missing. It
may lead to better formulated lessons, more comprehensive curriculum and skill
based learning. 
Having a
classroom open to collaboration and connecting to the real world by introducing
business owners, entrepreneurship opportunities and connection to employability
based soft skills can help keep your classroom vibrant and infused with
learning which is relevant to world applied knowledges. The modern student is
looking for the knowledge and examples to apply skills to complete projects
with self defined goals which are relevant in the real world. I really believe this is at the heart of education,
helping students learn and guiding them towards resources. Let’s allow them to
develop their own thoughts and create their own projects which can really help
change the world.
Students
are engaged with games like Minecraft, which enables students to create their own
worlds and are able to develop their knowledge of the Java programming language
to create modifications (Mods) to their games and worlds. Our current
technology education system has not caught up with these trends and provided
opportunities for students to develop the skills in the real world classroom.
In this process we are losing out on a critical opportunity to connect with
students and better understand what drives their acquisition of knowledge. We
are also not able to frame their skills and build realistic connections to
apply their skills in the real world. Students are deciphering the web and
finding their own curriculum in order to learn how to acquire deeply engaging
technology embedded skills.
Students
are also learning new programming languages that their current classroom
teacher has not caught onto yet. Their young active minds are moving beyond
just being tech savvy and helpful when a teacher is in trouble, they have
developed their own system of knowledge acquisition which plans projects and
needs to be valued and encouraged in and out of the traditional classroom.
Educators
are missing not only a valuable opportunity to connect but also but also a
valuable opportunity to continue their personal growth with the integration of
technology. Embracing the independent technology learner enables teachers to
draw from student experience and knowledge and can help create more engaging
lessons and strategies to connect with students. The web the way students view
it.

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