To be a student centered school educators must first know and understand how our students learn. Educators must be aware of where students come from and the learning tools they are most familiar with. Educators must also have an understanding on how to motivate students to learn and what challenges they will face when entering the work force of tomorrow. Research has shown that too many students are disengaged and alienated from school, seeing little or no purpose for their education. Business leaders say there is a widening gap between the skills of the workforce and the needs of businesses seeking competitive advantage. Additionally, technology and the networked era threaten to further stretch the already-wide equity gap in education unless there is decisive intervention and a strong public agenda.
In 2001, Marc Prensky began to bring ideas to the forefront about a new generation of students. In a landmark article entitled "On the Horizon" Prensky popularized the terms “digital native" and "digital immigrant". What he portrayed in these terms was the idea that there is a gap between generations as they experience and learn from the evolution of technology. What can also be suggested from these terms is that technology may be creating an ever widening gap between each generation.
For those who are in the business of education, becoming aware of these gaps may be the starting point. A starting point that immerses the educator in the learning tools of the millennial student. In other words, bridging the gap may mean to learn as our students learn. To say the least, If we are to be missionaries of learning then we must get among the natives. Learn as the natives learn means building your campfires with the tools the natives use. Visit the watering holes where collaboration is ongoing. Hangout in the caves of posted hieroglyphs of creative thought. Nothing about what we say is primordial as the natives become restless they show us a new way to become engaged.