You know you’re from Generation Y when Google is your encyclopedia.
With technology preferences changing like the flavor of the month and saturating classrooms across America, book-usage is drying up.
Technology undoubtedly is a significant part of communicating and learning in school settings, especially once a student enters college. I can remember second grade (1998), when my classmates took turns plucking at the keyboard of a clunky bubble monitor to manipulate a math game with poorly pixelated fish characters.
In 2012, I graduated from Stonehill College with a degree in Communications and Journalism; I admittedly mourned for decline of tangible newspapers, but curiously and happily gained experience in online news media. Now, I’m finishing a Masters of Fine Arts in fiction, and learning the ropes of book publishing, which is transitioning over to the realm of eBooks and Kindles rather than crisp paper pages.
I’ve accepted that classrooms are relying on technology to teach, and that one day, education will be completely digitalized. I think it’s intriguing and ultimately beneficial that this is where education is going – maybe some of our technologically trained students will cure cancer, or plant new civilizations on different planets.
However, I’m convinced that not everyone understands the beauty and power this technological takeover is lending the world.
Prior to joining TechDecisions, I worked as the recording secretary for the school committee of a town that’s struggling to implement the BYOD initiative in its district due to insufficient funding. At the last school committee meeting before Town Meeting (which was used to discuss an increased budget for the schools), there were a couple of parents who thought that the increased budget funds should not go to new technology. One dad said that he thought the money should go to hiring more teachers so that kids could “learn more respect” and buying new textbooks so kids could “get smarter;” he said he didn’t know how including new devices like iPads in the classroom were going to help his fourth grade daughter read better. This dad even gave the old “if it was good enough for me, it’s good enough for her” spiel.
Based on this guy’s comments, I don’t think he understands how advanced and fresh education has become because of technology. By the time his daughter reaches college, I wouldn’t be surprised if all teaching methods were projected from some kind of device, probably from some devices that aren’t even invented yet.
This prospect, in my opinion, will create new jobs for her generation, jobs that also do not yet exist. It institutes so much possibility, power and knowledge in our kids, and their skills, knowledge and capabilities are surpassing past my generation (and zooming past his).
Even though pre-80’s generations raise an eyebrow at technology in the classroom, I think it’s important that they keep an open mind. Technology is here to stay in the classroom- there’s no going back. What worked for students even 10 plus years ago is not good enough for students now, and won’t be for future students.
This is ok, though – education is supposed to evolve. It’s supposed to be more technologically inclined and is supposed to teach our kids better. And, with a little bit of acceptance and understanding from the older folks, it will.
Video: Let’s talk about technology: with Jess Kennedy