In the text, the childhood that students are experiencing now a days is referred to the "digital childhood." This means, that children are surrounded by technology, from watching TV to playing the latest game on a tablet since their toddler years. The youth growing up now, knows more about technology then their parents or any generation before them. This can be a good thing for education, but also a negative thing for their social behaviors.
There are tons of apps on tablets/smartphones and software for computers that were developed for educating the young with vital information that will help them in school and in the real world. These days, a teacher can teach a whole class virtually and can connect with the parents via email or even a conference via Skype. Therefore, learning new things can be as convenient and as fun as playing on the computer. This encourages students to learn more, because it is at their level of understanding.
The Internet and social media has shown to be a productive learning tool and communication tool. As mentioned above, there are several sites that have free learning interactive educational games which are fun, but a great learning experience for the student. Social media is the easiest way for students, parents, and teachers to communicate with one another in the fastest way. This keeps all parties informed and involved regardless of scheduling.
Outside of school, students may experience the same enriched behavior. However, in the last past decade there has been negative impacts on the Internet and social media. One major impact students face and have faced with new technologies such as social networking sites (Facebook & Twitter), is cyber bullying. We all know how much of an impact cyber bulling has a child and what the consequences are. Also, the Internet is not really censored. As much as a parent or a school board blocks certain sites there are thousands of sites that pop-up daily that are disguised as one thing but are actually something that maybe very harmful to a child who sees it.
Being a student on an online course really poses a bias on this topic. Thankful for Canvas, I am able to access my assignments and professors' feedbacks from the app on my phone. If I want my grade at 3am, I don't have to wait for a professor to pass out that quiz I took last week, it's all right there.
The way these smartphones work now a days, I believe that they are pretty much computers. Take a look at the new Samsung Note, the question lies: what CAN'T you do with that phone? These smartphones are so smart that you can speak to them and the tell you the response you want. What computer can do that?
I believe that a desktop computer, laptop, and a mobile phone are all essential parts of education. I think that a combination of all three will enrich the learning experience and will not keep any student in the dark with their courses. Having your classroom at the tip of your fingers is the way education should be.