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Communications of the ACM

Letters to the Editor

Free the Digital Natives

Letters to the Editor


James Geller raised important questions in his letter to the editor "Beware BYOD" (Sept. 2013) but mixed learning and assessment with the practicalities of supporting multiple devices. He highlighted possible outcomes—"distraction, cheating, more cheating, still more cheating"—along with the possibility that incompatibility between devices could result in poor grades, but failed to propose ways to address them.

In today's digital environment, where the simplest online search can turn up more information than will ever be found in a physical classroom, educators must confront the always-present interconnected nature of these devices by changing the way they teach. The traditional model of didactic lecturing from a podium before a classroom of students should complement collaborative activities, where students learn to research, filter, judge, and create their own learning. Educators must provide an "on-ramp" for them to acquire these skills in the context of the subject being covered and ensure assessment practices are an opportunity to demonstrate individual achievement.


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