digital native: What does ELMO stand for?

I’m wrapping up my actual coursework this week for my MSEd in Instructional Technology.  Wow, has it been a roller-coaster of a spring semester.  I’m proud of the work I’ve put together, and I’ve got some final projects that have particular meaning to me (more on those later).

There was a moment tonight, however, where I was called out on how quickly I can leverage my access points.  During a presentation, one of the speakers was about to present a professional development plan on using ELMOs in the classroom.  He admitted to having spent a good deal of time on the company website to never find an answer to what the acronym actually stood for (if it is an acronym).  At that point, my partner leaned over and challenged, “I bet you can find it.”  I looked back at her and nodded, accepting the challenge.  Tab.   Tab.  Tab.  And off I went in a slew of searches, each of which ending about the same time.  It took me less than two minutes to find the answer, at which point my partner and I fist-bumped.  Electronic Light-Modulated Overhead = ELMO, at least according to footnotes in Wikipedia.  Of course, the accuracy and validity of that information is up for interpretation.  But hey, it’s a better guess than most of us could come up with during the attention-getting phase of that presentation.  “I knew you could do it.”  And while I didn’t doubt I could, I wonder if that curiosity was really relevant to my understanding.  (Certainly, now I see it wasn’t a very effective attention-getting device at least…)

I realize I tread a fine line about talking in this way.  The Internet has certainly bred a braggart culture where authors quickly become the center of the universe.  That’s not my purpose for continuing this reflection on what it means to me to be a digital native.  But I am still seeking a personal definition or values statement from these quick anecdotals.  Know that I have very little interest in bragging about the adeptness with which I can navigate for an answer or search out information.  In this case, I’m simply happy just to find an end to a thread of curiosity that made a handful of my classmates scratch their heads.

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