Cengage Webinar: Teaching American Government to the digital generation


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Who are 'digital natives'? How do they learn? In this webinar, Dr. Robert Starken of the University of Texas explores these questions and more as they relate to getting students to engage with the study of American Government.

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Cengage Webinar: Teaching American Government to the digital generation

  1. 1. TeachingAmericanGovernmentto the DigitalGeneration Dr. Robert Sterken The University of Texas at Tyler Cengage Learning Webinar November 28, 2012
  2. 2. "The man who doesnt readgood books has no advantageover the man who cant readthem." ~ Mark Twain
  3. 3. Our Agenda1. part 1: Who are these people in the Digital Generation?2. part 2: How do they learn?3. part 3: How can we reach them with our American Government content?
  4. 4. Part One  Who are these people in the Digital Generation?
  5. 5. The Net Generation is a distinct generation. It is made up of the children of the post-World War II generation, the baby boomers. They are spending 60+ hours a week online. Students reported that media – especially their mobile phones – have literally become an extension of themselves. Mobile phones function both as this generation’s Swiss Army knife AND its security blanket.
  6. 6. For context: Digital Gen’s in Time Television defined the baby boomers (1946-1964). Generation Xers (1965-1980) didn’t grow up with computers The Digital Generation or Millennials (1981-2000) have been around computers since before they could speak. For them, ―technology is like air,‖ necessary but invisible. They can’t imagine living without it.
  7. 7. applause for the digital generation numerous concerns and accusations are commonly voiced about this digital generation. You may have heard that members of the digital generation are  selfishly addicted to their computers,  have rotted their brains,  destroyed their social skills, and left them violent and immature. Generally, the insults are without merit. This generation is definitely different from earlier generations, but how could it not be? It’s the first generation to grow up taking digital technology for granted.
  8. 8. Distracted by EverythingStudents today are among the worlds most engaged and most wired.They constantly multitask with their tech tools.They do not remember a time when they were not able to be online – almost anywhere they went.
  9. 9. Digital Gen characteristics
  10. 10. Special  Have always been treated as special and important  Every milestone was marked with celebrations and praise.  They may carry a sense of entitlement about them and have an expectation of frequent positive feedback.  It’s been instilled in them that they are vital to the nation and to their parents’ sense of purpose.  They feel they are here to solve world problems that older generations have failed to solve.
  11. 11. Confident They are motivated, goal- oriented, and confident in themselves and the future. They expect college to help launch them to greatness. They may brag about their generation’s power and potential. They have high levels of optimism and they feel connected to their parents. In Canada the Millennial generation is called the ―Sunshine‖ generation.
  12. 12. Team-Oriented  They are group oriented rather than being individualists.  They prefer to learn and work collaboratively  They prefer egalitarian leadership, not hierarchies.  They do not want to stand out among their peers, they want to be seen as part of the group.  They dislike selfishness and are oriented toward service learning and volunteerism.
  13. 13. Achieving The focus on getting good grades, hard work, involvement in extracurricular activities, etc. is resulting in higher achievement levels. They see college as the key to a high paying job and success, and may miss the bigger picture of what a college education is all about. They are pressured to decide early on a career – and have been put on a career track orientation since grade school. Their focus is more on the world of achievement rather than personal development. The Boomer generation made their mark in the humanities and arts, whereas the Millennials prefer technology, math, and science fields.
  14. 14.  Tightly scheduled as childrenPressured and used to having every hour of their day filled with structured activity.  They may struggle with handling free time and time management in general.  They feel pressured to succeed. They’ve been pushed hard to achieve, to avoid risks, and to take advantage of opportunities.  They may take on too much, and then think others should be flexible with them when they want to negotiate scheduling conflicts.  They think multi-tasking saves time and is a smart thing to do, but aren’t usually aware of the poorer quality of results.
  15. 15. They expect fast,frequentcommunication Source: Millennials Go To College by Neil Howe and William Strauss.
  16. 16. The Digital Gen has been ―bathed in bits‖ Since they have been immersed in computer technology their whole lives – they are far more adept than earlier generations to embrace this brave new world. This has produced a ―generational lap‖ in which we boomers and Xers are struggling to catch up with and educate the younger generation.
  17. 17. part 2  How do digital learner really learn?  Where and how are they getting information?
  18. 18. Where do they get news?• American college students today show no significant loyalty to a news program, news personality or even news platform.• Students have only a casual relationship to the originators of news, and in fact don’t make fine distinctions between news and more personal information.• Said one student, ―Although I will admit I do not actively keep up with breaking news every day I do get a lot of information on a daily basis through social networking, text messaging, and websites such as Gmail, where it does have headlines on the homepage. It is very important to me to have some sense of what is going on in the world on a daily basis, but I also focus in on issues that I do care about, and I keep up with that particular issues progress. For example, the Equal Rights campaign, or local and global environmental organizations, whose progress I follow via Twitter, Facebook or their websites.‖
  19. 19. ‘We no longer search for news, the news finds us.’• No matter where the students were from, the amount of information coming to them via their mobile phones or the Internet – via text message, on Facebook, Twitter, chat, Skype IM, QQ, email, etc. – is overwhelming; students are inundated 24/7.• ’140 characters of news is all I need.’• Source: a global study of university students by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA).
  20. 20. Millennials are shaping us… Technology is influencing the way the Millennials think, behave, and learn… but it’s a two-way street the way these kids think, behave, and learn is influencing and shaping the way we must teach and share information! We’ve got to change.
  21. 21. The Sage on the Stage
  22. 22. The book. Written replaced oral at one point in human history.
  23. 23. Three Observations about teaching the Introto American Courses to the Digital Gen Information is no longer just kept in specific places – like people’s brains or encyclopedias – it is everywhere and anywhere. It’s not about a trendy new tool or cool application - rather it is about changing the way we do approach learning in and out of the classroom. The classroom now has no limits.
  24. 24. Lesson 1: information is EVERYWHERE.Information that was once scarce is not.We once had to line up in Ford assembly-line-like rows to orderly obtain knowledge and information from a teacher - he/she had the information in her mobile storage unit – her brain!Those days are long gone…and your students
  25. 25. Lesson 1: information is EVERYWHERE(continued) Professors and books were once kept in one place -- students had to come to these sources for knowledge and information. Today - if you want to know ANY piece of information it is readily available.
  26. 26. Lesson 1: our job is to help connect the dots! Students (really all of us) have an information surplus. One of our most important jobs to ENGAGE our students and help students connect the dots. We must orchestrate information – help students see what is important, and help them make sense of and learn to use all the information at their fingertips.
  27. 27. Lesson 2: learning by doing Students learn by doing. As I observed students…  search, uncover, see, discuss and create  engage in real learning. Real experiential learning is incredibly powerful. Experiential learning empowered these students with not only with knowledge but with the the skills and excitement to learn beyond the walls of the classroom and scope of the course.
  28. 28. Lesson 3: no limits!  The digital devices, software, and the net have changed the classroom from a closed box with a teacher to a world without limits.  Teachers must responsibly guide, help, and model critical use of this wide open wild world of images and information.
  29. 29. Learning with Technology Technology allows The professor to… 1. bring to classroom to life 2. engage students in the classroom 3. ease the burden of some of the more difficult parts of teaching (grading and assessment). Students to… 1. Learn at their individual pace 2. Search, See, and Do 3. Create, Learn, and Present!
  30. 30. part 3  How can we reach them with our American Government content?
  31. 31. Flipping theClassroom1. Khan Academy2. http://youtu.be/oTbvYGH_Hi w3. Assign the lecture for homework and homework is now done in the classroom.4. We remove the one-size-fits all lecture from the classroom and humanize the classroom.5. The classroom is used to engage the students in actively apply the concepts.
  32. 32. Rather than focus on technology… Teach with it – not against it Technology—video, hypermedia, the Internet, etc.—is an excellent tool to learn with. The emphasis is on learning to solve problems. By concentrating on problem solving with several specific media, technology can be used to engage students in meaningful learning. Digital devices must be used to foster learning.
  33. 33. Use the devices…• Embrace the devices • Use video: students naturally take to being behind the camera. • Use multimedia as a new form of interactive literacy. • Allow students to create a personal or group page for cyber- mentoring.
  34. 34. Blogging & Twitter• Have students blog – write on specific assigned topics.• Have students tweet the blog posts or other information to the class twitter page
  35. 35. Facebook• How many visits each hour• Create a professional ―like‖ page• Video• Eliminates the privacy concerns?• Allows you to remain in contact• You do not have to see their posts• Most college students (81 percent) and younger employees (73 percent) check their Facebook at least once a day and a third of those check at least five times a day (Cisco Connected World Technology Report 2011).
  36. 36. The digital classroom meeting Mix it up Each presentation has a central goal or outcome. Start class with a blog or Facebook entry Ask a big question – let the students grapple with that question together The show a short video that complicates or further informs the issue Ask for responses – in clicker or in writing
  37. 37. Virtual visitGo to the places…listen to the http://youtu.be/SUZGkNAUSvY speeches…Bring in the voices and images…
  38. 38. The Years Ahead…The world that we are preparing our students for requires them to  Students need to be taught find, analyze, and use about the role of media in their information. lives – how to distinguish between fact and fiction, credible Does any life and non-credible sources, important and unimportant occupation or job information, and how to mindfully require kids to stay in navigate multiple platforms for their seats and quietly multiple personal and professional purposes without listen to a professor? becoming toxically overwhelmed and distracted.
  39. 39. Take a Breath…• Close devices - All eyes forward – on me• Deep breath – a multitasking learning environment does not work!
  40. 40. A Few Students were Uncomfortable A few students have remarked that my classes make them uncomfortable. One student said in written evaluation: ―Your class did not just give us information and expect us to regurgitate it back on an exam…and that made it harder.‖ Some students are not all comfortable with the in class engagement, open ended problems, search, and lots of times they do not want to make a presentation to the class. In the end, all reported that they were glad that they had.
  41. 41. Helping Students Find PassionHelping students see the big pictureHelping them understand the tools
  42. 42. Where to go next…Please email me at rsterken@uttyler.edu with questionsor comments.The links to the right are some of the most compellingarguments for changing your classroom.  RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms (http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U)  digital_nation (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/fro ntline/digitalnation/)  Ken Robinson Schools Kill Creativity (http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robin son_says_schools_kill_creativity.ht ml)  Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/)