Teaching english to digital generations based on a connectivist view
TEACHING ENGLISH TO DIGITAL GENERATIONS BASED ON A CONNECTIVIST VIEW Gisele Costa de Matos Adviser: Ms. Miriam Novak Jardim
INTRODUCTIONThis paper aims to present how technology has beeninfluencing the way individuals think, communicate and learn,especially those from the Generations Y and Z, also calledDigital Generations.In order to help English teachers to answer Digital Natives’needs and expectations, a new methodological idea isproposed through the principles of Connectivism, aninnovative learning theory.
OBJECTIVEWith the objective of knowing English teachers’ opinions andbeliefs concerning Digital Natives’ relation with technology, theinfluences it represents in terms of students behaviors in theclassroom, and the experiences of using technology in theclassroom, a survey was applied to English teachers fromprivate and public schools and language centers.
DIGITAL NATIVESAlthough individuals from generations Y and Z are bothconsidered Digital Natives, Generation Z, which is formed bychildren, adolescents and young adults born after 1990, is theone who has never known a world without technology.
DIGITAL NATIVESAccording to Rosen (2010), the great advance of technologyoccurred on the last two decades, have been influenced ZGeners’behaviors, giving them particular features. They:- are multitasking;- need to constant communication and interaction;- expect instant results.
DIGITAL NATIVESThese features have been influencing students` behavior in theclassroom and, as consequence, have been representing achallenge for teachers in terms of controlling the class andkeeping students’ attention and motivation.
CONNECTIVISMConnectivism is a learning theory created by Canadianresearchers George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Siemensdefines Connectivism as “a learning theory for the digital age”, asit considers the influences of the continuous advance oftechnology in the distribution of knowledge and in the learningprocess.
CONNECTIVISMThe speed to which information and knowledge are distributedand updated, and their large availability, has been enablingindividuals to be more autonomous, what has been turning thelearning process into a much more complex, ample and chaoticone. From the Connectivist view, knowledge is distributed acrossa network of connections and, therefore, learning consists of theability to construct and traverse those networks (DOWNES,2007).
CONNECTIVISMConnectivism proposes a pedagogy in which contents andteachers are decentralized, and in which teaching is not based onfixed outcomes or in assessments. It recognizes the fluid natureof knowledge and connections based on the context, focusing onpeople’s interactions with each other and on the context in whichthese connections take place, instead of focusing on pre-made orpre-defined knowledge. The role of the teacher in Connectivism isbased on modeling, demonstrating and providing learners withopportunities to practice and reflect.
RESEARCH – DATA FINDINGSA questionaire was applied to English teachers currently workingin public schools, private schools and language centers ofdifferent cities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Thirty-twoteachers answered the survey. Fourteen of them are currentlyworking in public schools.
SURVEY – GENERAL INFORMATION 23 Women Men 9 0 5 10 15 20 25
SURVEY – DATA FINDINGS100% of the teachers believe that technology influences totally orpartially Zgeners` behaviors. 0 No 20 Partially 12 Yes 0 5 10 15 20 25
SURVEY – DATA FINDINGSAll the respondents declared making use of some technologicaldevices, websites or software in the classroom. When askedabout their feelings concerning these experiences, the anwerswere prominently positive. Satisfied 19 Insecure 1 12 Motivated 0 I do not use technology 0 Frustrated 0 5 10 15 20
SURVEY – DATA FINDINGSWhen using technology in the classroom, students feel moremotivated. Show motivation 26 Show indifference 0 I do not use technology 0 6 Show interest in using the tool, not in the activity itself 0 Other(s): 0 5 10 15 20 25 30
SURVEY – DATA FINDINGSTechnological sources most frequently used by teachers in theclassroom are videos, Power Point and Researches on theInternet (options “always” and “frequently” were selected). Videos 21 Power Point Presentations 16 Cell Phones 1 Chats 3 8 Blogs 4 Social Networks 16 Researches on the Internet 0 5 10 15 20 25
SURVEY – DATA FINDINGSTechnological sources less frequently used by teachers in theclassroom are Social Networks, Blogs, Chats and Cell Phones(options “rarely” and “never” were selected). 1 Videos 5 Power Point Presentations 27 Cell Phones 23 Chats 17 Blogs 20 Social Networks 7 Researches on the Internet 0 5 10 15 20 25 30
SURVEY – DATA FINDINGSThe respondent teachers believe that a variety of changes areneeded to turn technology into a routine in schools. More computers 16 More computer per student 13 More involvement of schools 14 principals 21 Teachers self development for dealing with technology 21 Government stimulus 28 New educational politics contemplating technology and teachers support 0 5 10 15 20 25 30
CONCLUSIONUnderstanding the new generations of students and the way theylearn is the key for starting changes required in education.Connectivism presents new concepts related to knowledge andlearning, bringing new ideas to help teachers to reach digitalgenerations of students needs and expectations. Through thesurvey’s data findings, it was possible to notice that Englishteachers are aware of the influences technology has been havingon the new generations of students, and that these changes areneeded. It also becomes clear that teachers have been makingefforts to use technology in the classroom, but to be moresuccessful and effective, preparation and support are needed.
REFERENCESDOWNES, Stephen. What Connectivism is. Available at:< http://halfanhour.blogspot.com.br/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html >.Access on September 07, 2012.LOVELY, Suzette; BUFFUM, Austin G. Generations at School: Building anage-friendly learning community. United States of America: Corwin, 2007.ROSEN, Larry D.D. Rewired – Understanding the iGeneration and TheWay They Learn. First Edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.SIEMENS, George. Connectivism: A learning theory for the Digital Age.Available at: < http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm >.Access on September 07, 2012.______. Knowing Knowledge. Available at:<http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf >. Access onOctober 06, 2012.