Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Generation Students VS. The Rest of Us (Born Before the Digital Era)

I think the main difference between the New Generation students and those of us who were born before the digital era is that kids now are used to and expect instant gratification. I don't want to say that they get bored easier but they do continuously expect more and quickly, and this is translated or seen as students having a short span of attention. To counteract this, some schools have developed faster paced curriculum that constantly changes from one subject topic to another within minutes. For example in english, kids will get at most ten to fifteen minutes of Grammar and then switch to Vocabulary for five minutes and then to spelling for another five minutes, then to reading for another ten or fifteen minutes, thus progressing little on each topic everyday but having a dynamic curriculum. I don’t remember my classes being like that when I was in elementary. I remember us devoting one class period to each topic, so that we would have maybe grammar two days a week, for the whole period, spelling and vocabulary another day, and literature on another day, and so on.

I believe that even thought this fast-short-passed system of instruction may address the short attention span that kids have nowadays, it does not address their avid-ness for technology and the desire of learning it. Classrooms, more often than not, have no computers at all, and if they do, they either have only two to four computers that students have to share and use for very limited times, or have only one computer in a cart that only the teacher gets to use and which has to share with other classrooms. This bluntly says about the low importance we are giving to technology in education. The bad part, is that most of us, born previous to the new generation, being recent immigrants into technology, if it were not for this technology classes at UTEP, wouldn’t even know how to critically and purposefully integrate computer technology into our classrooms. In that respect, those teachers who are not even continuing their studies, or that are continuing them on other areas, have little hope to know how to effectively use technology with their students. Will we have to wait until this new generation of students grow up and become teachers themselves so that they will be capable of fully implementing technology in their classrooms? How can we reach out to other teachers to make them aware of the changes technology could bring into their classrooms now, so that we don’t have to wait until those born native to technology become teachers?

Marco Cesar Saenz
Using Web Tools in the Classroom

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