The Net Generation at School: Balancing Student and Faculty Expectations


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A presentation about the Net Generation and how faculty can balance their expectations with the expectations of their students when it comes to working and learning with digital technologies, including the Internet.

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  • Bridge between student and professor, informality invokes a sense of friendship, personality that might not be gotten through use of more formal language all the time
  • Definition and boundaries are essential because the students will not necessarily honor your privacy- we don’t really live in an age where privacy is valued so much anymore, as evidenced by YouTube and MySpace and Twitter… some things that have worked well is online instructors holding synchronous time during the week, say 1 or 2 hours on diffferent days to get students engaged Also, questioning and making it feel like there is always a free exchange of conversation makes you less likely to be considered the sage, and much more the guide or faciliator and in my experience students respond to this online, they like to be masters of their own ideas
  • Consider the context and be clear throughout the assignments what you want out of students when – you’ll always have some students who have a tough time with rules but making yourself more human really helps and they will honor you more Variety is good and students seem to enjoy it when you have lots of options for them to get their information - multiple learning styles
  • The Net Generation at School: Balancing Student and Faculty Expectations

    1. 1. The Net Generation at School : Balancing Student and Faculty Expectations Lynn Zimmerman [email_address] Anastasia Trekles Milligan [email_address] Purdue University Calumet Hammond, Indiana
    2. 2. Background <ul><li>We are two instructors of undergraduates and graduates in education at Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN </li></ul><ul><li>Our students come from a mix of backgrounds, cultures, and age groups </li></ul><ul><li>We started talking about how students in our classes represented themselves online after reading an article (Glayter, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Main question: How do we define appropriate communication in our “twitch speed” world? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives <ul><li>Lynn considers herself a “digital immigrant” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Born before 1980 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did not grow up with computers, Internet, and current concepts of media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learned to integrate digital communication into her life as an adult </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives <ul><li>Anastasia considers herself a “digital native” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Born in 1978, but fortunate to have technology like computers, Internet, and gaming as early as age 4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Built websites, used bulletin boards and chat, and more when these technologies were first evolving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology has always been a natural, integral part of daily life </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Formal and Informal Communication <ul><li>Many of us have a concept of “academic” or formal language for use in the classroom setting </li></ul><ul><li>Digital communication seems to have become disconnected from this kind of formal communication </li></ul><ul><li>Many young people write very informally online, even when communicating with instructors or employers </li></ul><ul><li>As university professors and K-12 educators, how do we help students make distinctions between formal and informal language usage on the Internet? </li></ul><ul><li>Or, should we change our expectations? </li></ul>
    6. 6. Digital Immigrant Perspective <ul><li>Teaching is a profession with standards not just for curriculum design and practice </li></ul><ul><li>There are expectations for professional behavior and dispositions in the school setting - many other fields have similar expectations as well </li></ul><ul><li>All online assignments in Lynn’s courses require the use of professional language, Standard English grammar and spelling, and good organization of thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizing email, discussions, wikis, and blogs, though, is beneficial and educators should be using them to maintain links with their students </li></ul>
    7. 7. Digital Native Perspective <ul><li>Emails are not like letter-writing; they are quick forms of communication that imply immediate response </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions, IM, wikis, and blogs are also used by students, and allow for inclusion of hyperlinked resources and social learning opportunities; why wouldn’t we use them for teaching and learning? </li></ul><ul><li>Digital communication offers the ability for instant feedback and to build a bridge between student and professor </li></ul><ul><li>Informal language and non-standard grammar allows digital natives to express themselves more comfortably </li></ul>
    8. 8. Bringing the Two Worlds Together <ul><li>Students DO need to learn how to communicate professionally </li></ul><ul><li>Show students examples of communication in different settings to help them understand </li></ul><ul><li>Set rules for effective and respectful online communication in the syllabus </li></ul>
    9. 9. Bringing the Two Worlds Together <ul><li>Be sure to define how quickly students should expect to see a response from you, otherwise they may think you are online as much as they are! </li></ul><ul><li>Many online instructors also hold regular synchronous online chat hours during the week </li></ul><ul><li>Promote engagement - use questioning and promote free exchange of ideas wherever possible to become more of a facilitator, less “the sage” </li></ul>
    10. 10. Bringing the Two Worlds Together <ul><li>Consider the context when dealing with informal language, and set clear expectations for assignments in your rubrics </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to share personal anecdotes with students; making yourself more “human” helps you connect with them more </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate different media like podcasts, wikis, YouTube videos - anything that students may enjoy - into your classes and ask them whether it was a useful resource </li></ul>
    11. 11. Recommended Programs and Sites <ul><li>Adobe Breeze/Connect ( ): Fosters live interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life ( ): Limitless simulation potential </li></ul><ul><li>Wikispaces and Edublogs ( and ): Feature-rich, free of cost, geared toward education </li></ul><ul><li>Games for Learning Society ( ): Research and examples pertaining to gaming and simulation in education </li></ul>
    12. 12. Conclusion <ul><li>Adjustments in the way you teach and work are inevitable with technology changing all the time </li></ul><ul><li>Students will become more engaged and more likely to enjoy what they are learning when their instructors attempt to work with them on their level once in a while </li></ul><ul><li>Ground rules for your expectations and availability are always essential, no matter how “native” you want to go! </li></ul>
    13. 13. Resources <ul><li>Marc Prensky’s works: </li></ul><ul><li>EDUCAUSE Connect - Information Literacy: </li></ul><ul><li>EDUCAUSE Connect - Digital Natives: </li></ul><ul><li>Digital natives wiki and discussion: </li></ul><ul><li>Games for Learning Society: </li></ul><ul><li>Purdue Calumet’s School of Education: </li></ul>
    14. 14. References <ul><li>Cameron, D. 2005. The net generation goes to university? Paper presented at the Journalism Education Association Conference, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, December. </li></ul><ul><li>Glayter, J. 2006. To: Subject: Why it's all about me. New York Times. February 21. (accessed November 16, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Huffaker, D. A., and Calvert, S. L. 2005. Gender, identity, and language use in teenage blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10 (2). (accessed November 16, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Kornblum, J. 2005. Teens wear their hearts on their blog. USA Today online. October 31. (accessed November 16, 2006). </li></ul>
    15. 15. References <ul><li>McWhorter, J. 2003. Doing our own thing: The degradation of language and music and why we should, like, care. New York: Gotham Books. </li></ul><ul><li>Nalder, J. 2006. Passport to being a digital native. Primary & Middle Years Educator 4 (2): 19-21. </li></ul><ul><li>Prensky, M. 2001. Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5).,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf (accessed November 16, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Roberson, T.J. and Klotz, J. 2002. How can instructors and administrators fill the missing link in online instruction? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 5 (4). (accessed November 16, 2006). </li></ul>