Our World Is Shifting
Are our students "Powering Down" in school?
With our world shifting before our eyes and technology being infused in every aspect of how we live, are our kids powering down when they get to school? In most schools students must power down cell phones, computers, ipods, and any other technological system they may bring with them. This however is not the powering down I am speaking of... Our students may be slowing their brains down in order to "catch up" with the slow drag of school and what is being taught there. They are allowed text books, pens, pencils, and notebooks (with paper in them). They are expected to gather information at the speed of the class, work together in groups or individually to find answers in a given amount of time, and are expected to take what the teacher is teaching as eye opening experience! This is a picture that I find to be VERY similar to the classrooms twenty to thirty years ago. Twenty to thirty years ago students came to school and were enlightened by what was being taught. School was the only way they were able to learn about the outside world and all the opportunities therein! In today's world kids are growing up differently and are constantly finding information at the speed of light and have no need for a slower format. They have the chance now to gather any information they need on the internet and school, for many students, is just too slow and not offering information that they see as valid for the future. We as teachers must embrace the shift in learning and find a way to teach our students skills in such a way that they feel it is relevant to their lives and their futures.
Where are students learning?
Students are learning in school, however this is not the only place where learning is happening. We, as teachers, need to understand that it is our job to provide our students with the skills they will need in a future that does not yet exist. It is our job to bring, into the classroom, material that will be relevant to our students and their future. If what we teach is important to them, they will learn and strive to succeed. If all we try to do is instill facts or teach in a way "that has always worked" than we are not teaching them much at all. We must realize that students today are searching for what they will need to be successful in years to come. We cannot be afraid to prepare them for the unknown future that is ahead of them... if we are than we are doing them a major disservice. It is vital for us as teachers to learn how to embrace this shift and how to incorporate the technology and "new literacies" into our classrooms so that our students will have an "eye opening" experience each time they enter our schools.