The Tech Savvy Generation

18 Apr

I recently did a lesson on research projects with my Junior AP English class, Language and Composition.  With AP, the school perception that these are the cream of the crop intelligent students who know all their is to know about reading, writing or anything else.  At the end of the presentation, I had up a QR image (Quick Read) which the kids could scan with their phone and it would take them to a website at Cornell University that has video and link on how to conduct research.  I remember thinking, as I planned this project, how hip am I to use this technology where kids can use their phones to access additional information by scanning my whiteboard.  As the moment approached, my giddyness almost uncontrollable, I had one student out of twenty-nine who took out her phone and knew what I was doing.  Next class, zero.  So, out of sixty students, with my brilliant interactive scheme, pretty much all of my students had no idea about the technology i was using.  Conclusion, I need to teach kids the tech skills they will need to compete, learn, share and collaborate in this world.

With studies by Nielsen that show seventy-two percent of teens spend their time on social networking sites like Facebook,  another eighty percent have cell phones, and over thirty percent have smart phones – we have one of the most connected groups of young people in the history of the world.  How far we have come since Pong and the Commodore 64, and what do kids know how to use? Facebook and texting.  Out of great technological advances comes the evolution of socialization.

As the school year advances I will continue to teach my kids some of the cooler aspects of tech.  Even as juniors I’m amazed at how many of my students still do not know how to use Microsoft Word – and they do work on that all the time for their classes.  I have spoken on Evernote, Google Docs, Blogger … all foreign.

My favorite moment, last summer the kids had to write on a blog about To Kill a Mockingbird.  After noticing some common mistakes, I created a post to help guide them in the right direction.  I went back the next week, a new set of sixty posts, all with the same mistakes.  What I did not anticipate was that the kids were writing the blogs, but they were not reading them.  Again, they will use the technology if I tell them to or if it’s attached to a grade, but they don’t know how to use it.  It was only after some changes to the curriculum and my grading policy that I was able to get kids to read and comment on other blogs, with authentic feedback (link here on how I did this), and started to get some good discussions.

Teach your students how to use technology to enhance their learning and development because, as I mentioned above, they do not know how to use it.  The teenage brain is geared towards conversation and communication on a heightened level, but not so much towards methods of learning.  Show your students what great things can be done on the web and see what they can do to create learning opportunities.

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One Response to “The Tech Savvy Generation”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Oversimplifying Tech « Leadership isn’t funny – but oh so Fun! - August 12, 2012

    […] little over a year ago I did a lesson with my students – focusing on my AP students. Embedded in the lesson was a QR code that would pop up at […]

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