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The Digital Classroom and the Net Generation Using Web 2.0 Technology in the Classroom
Are Teachers Prepared for the Digital Classroom? Important findings from the ASCD Critical Transformation Show & Conference “Six out of ten (65 percent) teachers and administrators from across the country attending the conference believe the printed textbook will soon be completely replaced by interactive and e-learning tools, according to a survey sponsored by Compass Learning during the three day conference ending today, March 8th” (TechLearning.com, 2010, p.1).
Digital Classroom In the article, “Digital Classroom,” teachers and administrators are seeing a trend of technology being needed in the classroom. Since technology continues to advance, teachers have to keep up by adapting their classroom to become more technology friendly. Many teachers and administrators are concerned that traditional teaching methods (such as the textbook) are being replaced with more methods that utilize new technology. “Most 68 percent say that by 2015 at least 60 percent of instruction time in the classroom will involve interactive e-learning methods”(TechLearning.com, 2010, p.1). In order to keep up with these digital trends, teachers and administrators are trying to prepare their own classrooms. Part of this preparation includes learning about the many different types of technology and how they can be used in an educational setting. Besides the importance of having digital classroom activities available for their students, teachers need to know the advantages and disadvantages of using types of technology. Teachers also see that these new technological tools can be good for students inside and outside of the classroom. Not all teachers believe that the traditional methods will go away completely; instead they see integration with the old methods and the new technology are the best fit for today’s students.
Personal Reflection I was surprised about the high number of teachers and administrators that believed the textbook is going to be replaced by e-learning. Although I have noticed more books being converted to electronic ones so they can be read on electronic devices such as Kindle. I still prefer actual books though and feel like there will still be a need to have actual textbooks even if they try to convert them to electronic devices. I did use an online health textbook before and it was actually harder for me than using an actual book I could keep referring to and holding physically. However, I do agree that teachers should be prepared and learn about technology because it affects our students and can enhance their learning and educational experience. I also found it interesting that teachers in Southern states were shown to be the least digitally prepared. I think this might be because the Southern states have more traditional and conservative values and maybe they want to keep their teaching methods traditional. I also found it interesting that there is now federal money that is going to be put towards making technology more accessible in the classroom. I think this is important because technology is expensive and maybe some schools can’t afford these types of tools so it would be a good thing for the government to help them out since the government wants children to have the best education.
Learning Styles of the Net Generation “Glen (2000) notes that Net Geners need self directed learning opportunities, interactive environments, multiple forms of feedback, and assignment choices that use different resources to create personally meaningful learning experiences, while Hay (2000) finds that Net Geners want more hands-on, inquiry-based approaches to learning and are less willing simply to absorb what is put before them”(Barnes, 2000, p.2).
Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation In the article, “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation” it describes a new generation of students that have grown up with technology and how this affects teaching methods and education. The new generation of students that have grown up using technology are known as the Net Generation. The main difference among this generation compared to others are characteristics and learning styles. Net Gen students are known for wanting to learn, multitasking, and seeking information and answers quickly. Even though these students have a technological background and advantage there are some downsides when it comes to education. “Other educators however, object to the pressure to reshape higher education to meet Net Generation expectations”(Barnes, 2000, p.1 ). Some teachers are concerned because they feel that the traits that make this generation unique are also traits that could derail the traditional methods of education. Technology in the classroom can lead to students being distracted and not paying attention to lectures, poor quality in work because they rush through assignments, and also not fully understanding assignments because they are doing many other things at the same time. “While they are frequent users of electronic tools, Net Geners typically lack information literary skills, and their critical thinking skills are often weak”(Barnes, 2000, p.1 ). Despite the negative backlash to using more technology in the classroom, there are some digital tools that can be used in education. “The good news is that over the past decade, educators have begun to move toward the development of such pedagogies, often adapting traditional teaching strategies take advantage of the benefits of technology to engage Net Geners”(Barnes, 2000, p.1). Some examples of technological educational tools being used in the classroom are blogs, social networking sites, YouTube and E-portfolios. Blogs can be used to keep up with assignments and classroom activities. Wiki’s are a collaborative tool that allows multiple users to edit and submit documents and also share their work with others. YouTube is being used for teachers to share lectures and podcasts with students. Social networking sites can be used to explore the connections between groups of people and also connect students to other parts of the world. E-portfolios can be used to show off student work to each other and to keep track of special projects. Twitter is also being used in the classroom.
Net Generation Data-Average hours spent doing activities since age 21 Data taken from “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation by Kassandra Barnes, Raymond C. Marateo, and S. Pixy Feris.
Personal Reflection I found this article to be very interesting because it covered positive and negative characteristics of the net generation. I was concerned that adding more technology was actually cause more distractions in the classroom and interfere with the learning process. However, after reading this article I can see why it is good to have and use technology in classrooms. I also thought it was interesting that most of these students multitask. I used to think that multitasking was just part of life and that you have to do it in order to get everything done but now I know that when I do more than one thing at a time sometimes my work will suffer. I think it is important to teach students that they need to slow down and do their assignments carefully so they can put the best effort forth and have quality work to turn in. I would encourage them to do one assignment or project at a time especially for large ones, and then go back and check their work. I also thought it was interesting to learn about all the technology that could be used with your students. I was surprised by using social networking sites like Facebook in an educational setting. A professor named MichealKeborns actually used Facebook to teach his class to think more critically about social networking and had them examine the connections between people. I thought this was a very neat idea and would be relevant to students because everyone uses at least one social networking site nowadays.
Potential Educational Uses of Twitter “Twitter can be like a virtual staffroom where teachers can access in seconds a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from a hand picked selection of global professionals”(Grosseck, 2008, p.1).
Can We Use Twitter for Educational Activities? “Twitter linked to a course/class blog can offer our students opportunities to discuss different kinds of asynchronous online discourse, considering voice, purpose, audience to organize ideas, reflect, send notes, manage meet ups, promote serendipitous discovery etc.”(Grosseck, 2008, p.6).
Can We Use Twitter for Educational Activities? In the article, “Can We Use Twitter for Educational Activities”, the author describes the positives and negatives for using Twitter as a teaching tool. Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging site that many people use to stay connected to friends, celebrities, and stay informed of important events. They can also make their own “tweets” to other twitter users. Besides the social aspect of Twitter, it can be also be used in the classroom. But there are positive and negative sides to using this technology. Some of the positive uses of Twitter in an educational setting are collaboration projects, reader response, and developing writing skills. Twitter can be used to “explore the potential of micro blogging in formal and informal settings.”(Grosseck, 2008, p.6 ). Students can talk to other students and their teacher about assignments and projects. Students can also be connected to and share their work with other classrooms all around the world. Twitter can also be used to answer questions and post assignments. Even though there are positive reason to use Twitter in the classroom, there are also negative parts to using it. The first negative finding of using Twitter, is that it can be a big distraction for students that have trouble paying attention in class. “Twitter is not to enrich and support rich learning for students, the disadvantages for teachers twittering is that they are being on call virtually 24/7”(Grosseck, 2008, p.6) While this is good for students to be able to communicate to their teachers it also enables students to interrupt their private lives. Another bad thing about Twitter is that they can use it to talk to each other instead of doing school work. Also twitter can become addicting for both students and teachers and this has negative consequences and can interfere with important school work not getting done. Since there are both positive and negative aspects to using Twitter, its important that teachers take all of these into consideration and only add Twitter if they feel like their students can use it in a positive way that will enhance their learning and educational experience. Even though many teachers like using Twitter, if the class is disruptive and there are problems chances are that adding Twitter will only make things more complicated for students and teachers.
Personal Reflection-Using Twitter as a Educational Tool in the classroom I found this article very interesting because I would never have thought about Twitter being an educational tool. I don’t even use Twitter at all because I feel like it is a waste of time and invades people’s privacy. I thought it was interesting though that students would be able to talk to their teacher about assignments. Its always good to have good communication between teacher and student but teacher’s need to have private time at home as well. I think you could just have students email you on the classroom blog or web page and that way you can still answer their questions. I also think that since Twitter can be distracting, you would not want to use it with younger students since they have trouble paying attention to lessons at times. Another interesting point that the article brought up was the fact that Twitter can be used to spread gossip and cause problems. I think since we are in this age of cyber bullying , if you did use Twitter I think there should be a way that teachers can see everything the students are sending back and forth and monitor for any malicious behavior that could be happening. Even though the article pointed out the positive ways Twitter can be used I still don’t feel very comfortable using it in my own classroom. I think many of the ways that Twitter is being used can be accomplished using a class website or web page or class blog. If the whole class was using Twitter I think it definitely would lead to more students becoming disruptive or just not paying attention. I also think that cell phones which is what most people use to Twitter should not be in the classroom because they are way too distracting.
Conclusion In conclusion, technology definitely has an impact on education. Many teachers are seeing the need to integrate their teaching methods with new technology in order to engage the net generation. The net generation are the students that have been raised with technology and have technological knowledge and advantages. Since there are both positive and negative aspects to adapting Web 2.0 Technology into the classroom, teachers must stay informed and learn how to use these tools with their students. Studies have shown that certain technology is useful in the classroom such as blogs, Twitter, Wiki’s, social networking sites, E-portfolios, and YouTube. Before implementing more technology in the classroom, students should understand and know what is expected of them so that these tools will benefit their classroom experience.