Raising a Digital Native in Argentina (by Jennifer Verschoor)

Deciding where to send your child to school is arguably one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. My  4 year old daughter attends a regular school in Buenos Aires,  Argentina. The school is not bilingual and offers English as a compulsory subject.

I have been speaking in English to my daughter since she was born. She understands the language and feels very confident. Children at school even thought she came from “Disneyland” because she was fluent in English.

As a Web 2.0 fan I felt that something was missing in my daughter’s education. Language learning through videos and games is not a new concept in education, so I thought that being able to play in English was an excellent alternative. Therefore I created her first blog called Vicky’s Learning English when she was only 4 years old.  It was just unbelievable to see how she naturally incorporated the mouse and learned very quickly how to go to favourites and open the link to her blog.

Amazingly she taught me that she was able to navigate when she was only 4 years old because she knew all the YouTube videos linked to the one I uploaded on her blog.

How did I add the content to the blog? This was really very easy because I followed her teacher’s syllabus and uploaded the same content with images, sound and videos for her to play at home. Her blog became a finalist earlier this year in III Espiral Edublogs 09. You can read about it here.

You must be asking yourself how was she able to use her blog if she couldn’t  read or write. She knew there was a clickable orange link that took her to a web page. I compiled an extensive list of some helpful web pages for her to continue learning English after school. Reading is a highly individualized skill and each child´s  performance will vary. She didn´t have to learn how to read because she was able to play with several Chinese websites. She was definitely using a different skill I never learned at school.

She was learning and having fun at the same time. This experience allowed me to start one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have ever had. Nowadays in a very small school in the Northern Area of Buenos Aires I am in charge of uploading content offering extra activities for students using a private wiki as an online platform.

Digital natives take technology for granted. Do you know of any other story on how teachers are engaging this new tech-savvy generation?

Note: This article by Jennifer Verschoor originally appeared as a guest post on Teaching Village and is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial, No Derivatives 3.0 License. If you wish to share it you must re-publish it “as is”, and retain any credits, acknowledgements, and hyperlinks within it.

Jennifer Verschoor

About Jennifer Verschoor

Jennifer Verschoor holds degrees as English University Professor, Bachelor in Educational Management, English Public Translator and ICT in the Classroom validated by Trinity College London. At the moment she is studying for her Master´s degree in Virtual Environments. She is a member of The Round and is going to publish her first ebook in January 2012. Her emphasis in training teachers to integrate technology into the classroom started several years ago. Since then has given numerous workshops on the integration of New Technologies in Education in Argentina, Japan, Paraguay and Costa Rica. She delivered online presentations for Tesol France, Besig in Germany, Tesol Uruguay, ETAS in Switzerland and IATEFL LT SIG. Currently she is working as the Coordinator of New Technologies for the Teaching of English at a Bilingual School. She is a teacher trainer for SBS Argentina, ITESL and St.Matthew's college and a course coordinator at ESSARP, specialised in Technology Integration in the classroom. Jennifer is a proud WEBHEAD and President of ARCALL Argentine Computer Assisted Language Learning. She participated in several online international projects as Global Partners Junior provided by IEARN. She has been an online moderator in various TESOL Electronic Village Online sessions since 2006.  She was hired by  The Consultants-E to create a Science Webquest.

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3 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    Jennifer, thanks so much for sharing your experiences raising your daughter bilingually. I wish blogs had been available when my daughter was growing up–they would have been so helpful!

    One of our strategies when we moved to the US was that we only had Disney videos in Japanese. That worked until she became old enough to visit friends’ homes, and came home amazed that “Cinderella was bilingual, too!” (The friends obviously had the same movies in English)

    I love your daughter’s blog, and all the effort both of you have put into raising a bilingual digital native–two wonderful abilities to grow up with!

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