Sunday, April 1, 2012

Teaching the IGeneration

For my computers course, I was to read yet another interesting article about teaching the techy generation.  The article requires a password in order to read which is unfortunately for you readers.

Anyway I will explain it a bit.  This article was explaining how the new generation of children are becoming more and more involved with technology.  How we (older generations) view technology as an aid in our daily lives, these young-ins see it as a constant, having never been without it.  While full of statistical information, the article moves on to say that teachers are using different forms of media in the classroom, but that they should be careful that by providing technology, it should not be solely for "technology's sake".   Older generation teachers, are not quite up to speed with the ever changing mediums and that although they want to relate to the kids, not having the skills nor time to play/search around for apps high in educational value will hinder them from offering useful apps/sites which could help teach the students.

One of the things that I found to be most surprising was that my generation (the net generation 1980-1989) are those who use media the most at 21 hours/day.  I think for the most part, because we were alive when internet just came out and we do know how to live life without constantly needing to be surrounded with media, we appreciate it more.  I also contribute this statistic to our employment and how our generation started the internet and so we know already so much about it and how to use it.  Most jobs use some form or another on an hourly basis and that contributes to our high usage.  I can only speak from experience by watching my mom with technology but the older generations are reluctant to get the grasp of technology because they know that in a couple of days, it will change and they will have to learn something new.  Seeing my mom with a blackberry is hilarious.  First of all, the font is way too small for her eyes.  She squints when she looks at it even after having changed to the largest sized font.  She gets frustrated when she doesn't know what to do next.  She sees all these buttons (on the desktop) and it intimidates her.  When someone writes her (and I admit, I do this to bug her), she can't figure out how to read the message if its not in an email.  Don't get me wrong, a lot of people do not fit into this mould but I would imagine that the vast majority of older generations are hesitant in moving on with the ever changing future.  The younger generations are online all the time but I would probably think that the lessor amount of usage is due to parental controls or extra curricular activities.  If these children had their choice, they would be online a lot more often.

The second thing which surprised me is the encouragement to send students home with homework to prepare for the next class rather than to practice their learning.  I like the idea of sending students home to watch a youtube video because each student will spend a different amount of time to understand the video.  The problem with this is: the parents and the language.  Parents these days sign their kids up in soo many extra curricular activities because they need to be concentrating of something at all times.  This creates a problem for teachers as parents start to call and say that their child didn't have enough time to do the work.  This child then comes in to class already behind and you need to make accommodations for him/her.  The language:  As you know, I teach French Immersion and as I would love to have online resources to send home with my students, they are extremely hard to find thus making my job all that more difficult (I have since made a delicious account to bookmark all the resources which I can find in French although some are in English for the students to use at home to complement their learning.)  The reason this part shocked me was that it seems as though we are moving into a more university way of running a class in that we giving the resources and expecting the students to learn on their own.  Good way if thinking, but are they ready for that yet? I'm not too sure.

Thats all for today!