“Grazing the Net: Raising a Generation of Free Range Students” detailed Jamie McKenzie’s vision, over 10 years ago, of raising a generation of “free range students — young people capable of navigating through a complex, often disorganized information landscape while making up their own minds about the important issues of their lives and their times.”
McKenzie describes student “infotectives;” critical thinkers capable of asking great questions, analyzing the data they find by researching a topic and solving puzzles with a combination of inference skills and new technologies (1998). McKenzie predicted that many schools would struggle with technology integration, not taking full advantage of the electronic tools available to them. Successful schools will find ways to teach students how to use technology and electronic networks in creative ways and also use technology to help students achieve better results on challenging standardized tests.
“Free range” students are self-directed learners who know how to “graze the Internet.” They must be taught thinking and problem-solving skills so they can effectively manage all of the information in their lives, from pictures, to documents, to contacts and cell phone favorites. In the figure below, McKenzie illustrates the skills students need to master in order to “graze the Internet.” What is most evident to me, as someone knowledgeable about instructional technology, is that this is ten years old. The World Wide Web has already evolved from version 1.0 to 2.0 and many young people have still not mastered these skills, which have been deemed critical for success in the world today.
Click here to read “Grazing the Net:Raising a Generation of Free Range Students.”