Reaching and teaching the hyperlinked student
by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist
I recently had a conversation with one of the teachers I work with about a course she is teaching this year. The content is intriguing, relevant and full of rigor. It has to do with social media, networking, media bias, and how we humans are adapting to these rapid changes. It is a course I would have been dying to get into in high school or college.
I left the conversation excited for, and slightly envious of, the students who would be part of this class experience. Over the subsequent weeks I have thought a lot about the course and read some of the materials the teacher shared with me. It’s easy to see the relevance to the world we’re living in.
Phones are an issue for virtually every school. There are policies in place, but students can always maneuver around policies. It’s what teenagers do best. Schools block sites and have secret passwords for Wi-Fi, but kids always manage to outflank the defense.
As the adult in the room who needs students to pay attention, I struggle with the reality that everyone is connected all the time. The question now seems to be: how do we, as educators, capitalize on the connectedness that students live in?
I am of the generation that is still awestruck at the amount of power we have in our pockets. I marvel that I can access a calculator, look up a math formula, find articles on Darwin’s theory of evolution, read or listen to a book, and even talk to someone– all on the same small hand-held device.
I know it’s old news. Having this technology in our pocket is commonplace and has been for years. But we are still in the early stages of learning how to navigate and manage all that information, teaching people how to navigate it well, and understanding how it alters the way we interface with the world and process information.
It’s a new school year. New classes are meeting and there’s excitement in the air. I am eager to learn about and see firsthand the innovations our teachers will produce. Teaching is not a flat transmission of information. It’s the creation of a physical and mental space where curiosity can flourish, and discovery can unfold.
School is in session.
Related ‘3rd party’ content worth sharing
U.S. Teachers See Digital Devices as Net Plus for Education
Gallup Panel web study published 4/2018
The Advantages of Using Electronic Gadgets in Teaching in School
Debating the Use of Digital Devices in the Classroom
Concordia University-Portland, updated 7/2018