I am going to pass on to you a good article by Albert Mohler.
On multiple occasions I have cringed upon hearing frustrated faculty exclaim, "I am going to ban laptops from my classroom!"
Then I read this article by Mark Edmundson: Dwelling in Possibilities. I'm rethinking things. There might be a place for the laptop ban.
If you are an educator you owe it to yourself to read this article. This is the most insightful piece on today's college student that I have read to date.
No, I don't think it would be wise for all college teachers to ban laptops in class. And for those who do, it would be a mistake to "cop out" of an educator's responsibility to keep current with 21st century life, including the technologies that shape the young people we teach.
If you are a parent, teacher, or adult (that would account for most of us) I would say this is a must-see video. Actually, it is seven 8-minute videos that you can watch individually. If you're like me, once you get started you'll end up watching all seven.
It highlights some extreme examples that will disturb you. Whether or not your children or mine would be among those sucked into these extreme behaviors, every child alive is growing up in a connected digital world that we as adults have a hard time relating to.
The way today's young people think and function is dramatically different than you and me. (I began to realize this back in 1999 when my 16-year-old told me he couldn't survive without his cell-phone, even though it was costing him $50/month that he couldn't afford.)
Can we just turn the Internet off? Obviously not ... the Internet is embedded into 21st century life. It is here to stay. The challenge we face is how to navigate it with our children -- to minimize the risks and maximize its benefits.
I'm preparing for a one-hour presentation to give on Wednesday to the TU office staff (about 40 of them) on the topic of Web 2.0. This is part of the annual one-day professional development program the university schedules for the staff.
I've created an informal, easy-to-understand (hopefully), one-page overview of the web-based tools that have exploded over the past five years into what is now being called "Web 2.0".
Click here to see the handout. It gives a layman's overview of blog, wiki, podcast, social networking sites, virtual reality sites, media sharing sites, and aggregators.
I feel I'm losing the battle to become a Millennial. Yes, I can play around with the slick gizmos and post some stuff on Facebook ... but my MP3 player is gathering dust on my desk and it's been weeks since I've visited iTunes.
I'm probably moving faster in the direction of Tom Rush's Remember Song. If you're over 50 you've got to listen to this.
I'm still going to give it my best effort. Emerging out of the web world are too many wonderful capabilities to ignore. And as an educator I must keep making the effort to understand the digital world of our young people, and to leverage these technologies on their behalf.
Sharon Jayson, in USA Today writes, "Ask young people about their generation's top life goals and the answer is clear and resounding: They want to be rich and famous."
"The findings that this generation's top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous (51%) contrast with a 1967 study of college freshmen in which 85.8% said it was essential to develop "a meaningful philosophy of life," while 41.9% thought it essential to be "very well off financially."
"Generation Y is invading corporate America and bringing with it personal technology that will create a revolution in corporate technology departments, Gartner analysts told attendees at the annual Symposium ... Consumer technologies, including podcasting, blogging, VOIP (voice over IP) and video on demand will penetrate the enterprise workplace by the year 2012, spearheaded by 20-somethings raised on the technologies-- who Gartner analysts are calling "digital natives".
-- eWeek, October 16, 2006
How well are our educational institutions preparing students for this marketplace? This is the question that motivates me in our efforts to move forward with our academic technology. Our young people are immersed with these technologies before they enter college. They will be immersed with them in the marketplace after they graduate. It makes sense that they be immersed during their 4-year academic program.
I'm at the Educause conference in Dallas with about 6,500 other educators and tech people. I just attended a panel session, "Future of Course Management Systems", in which an NC State student shared the values of her Net Generation classmates. I have re-phrased her 10 commandments, as I wasn't quick enough to write down her catchy descriptions:
I was surprised by #7. Apparently younger folk also prefer to study from hard-copy that they can mark up, rather than reading everything off a computer screen.
Two out of my own three children would heartily concur with #2 and #3. They are not motivated to do course work for which they don't see a purpose.
I just read a thought-provoking article, The Next Step in Brain Evolution, from the July 9, 2006 issue of the U.K. Times Online. I'll share some exerpts:
"Technology is dividing us into digital natives and digital immigrants."
"Technology is an essential part of my everyday social and academic life. I don’t know where I’d be without it. In fact, I’ve never really been without it."
"They find sitting down and reading, even watching TV, too slow and boring."
"The sheer mass of visual, auditory and verbal information in the modern world is forcing digital natives to make choices that those who grew up with only books and television did not."
"Younger people sift more and filter more."
"People surfing the web for health information often spend less than two seconds on a website before moving on. But this seems to be more a sign of incisive analysis than limited concentration."
"The reason why some children today do not pay attention in school is that they find traditional teaching methods dull compared with their digital experiences."
"One of the markers between the natives and the immigrants is the intuitive acceptance of rapid digital change."
"Our thinking no longer goes on purely inside our heads, it is intimately bound up with the tools we use."
"Will this lead to greater intelligence? Some might argue that is already happening."
"No doubt that digital technology is influencing our mental processes."
"Something as massive as daily interaction with computers and video players is bound to have a significant effect."
Will Richardson in his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms writes: "In and of itself the ‘old’ read-only web was a transformative technology. It has changed the way we work, the way we learn, and the way we communicate. I would argue that historians may look back on these past 10 years the same way we look back on the early days of the printing press, the steam engine, or the automobile. The Web has changed our lives.”
Janet and I are at the tail end of a 10-day trip through Canada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Every motel we have stayed in has had internet access, either in the room or at least wireless in the lobby. In fact, right now Janet is catching a few extra winks and I’m lounging in bed with my ETC laptop writing this blog entry.
The fact that the web has changed our lives is not news to you. What might be news to you is Will Richardson’s next statement: "This 'new' Read/Write Web will change it even more." Yes, what's new is that people can now write to the web using tools that are as easy to use as email. For years it has been possible to publish on the web, but you had to be a techie. You had to be able to navigate Frontpage or some such web editor to create your web site. But with blogs, wikis, and social networking software one can literally sign up and within minutes begin sharing ideas with the world.
Richardson writes, “The bad news is the Read/Write Web threatens to make the differences between teachers and learners even more acute. Whereas students are open to the ways of new technologies, schools by and large are not.”
What if our writing teachers would encourage their students to write their essays on a blog where they could easily be read by the rest of the class … or their parents, friends … or the world at large? Would their motivation be greater knowing they are really publishing as opposed to generating what they perceive to be busy work that gets graded and thrown away?
We have a success story. This spring I spent a couple days in English Methods (as I have done for the past 4-5 years) teaching these education majors how to use Publisher to make a website to which they would post their group semester projects – lesson plans, course units, links to resources, etc. For the first time we announced that the site would be posted on an external server, linked to the English Dept web site, and kept live for the world to see (including participants at a conference the professor was going to present at later on in the summer). It was amazing to see the difference in motivation as the students attacked a project that was genuine and not just an “assignment”.
I'm in Toronto at my 35th high school class reunion. My 50 classmates from Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) are scattered all around the world. Nearly 20 of us are here for the weekend. Ruth flew in from Germany, Ken from Southern California, Mary from New York, Jennifer from Texas, ... Many brought their spouses. Tonight we feast on sushi at a downtown Japanese restaurant!
One of my best friends, Paul Reasoner (pictured), is the chair of the Philosophy Department at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. Paul and I grew up together in Japan. He was our point guard who got me the ball :)
We were talking last night about the current generation of students. Are they different from the students Paul had in his philosophy classes 20-some years ago? How has technology helped or hindered what happens in his classroom?
Paul talked about the amazing search capabilities of internet technology, and the potential to find things quickly. The downside is that students often grab the easy stuff and don't go the next mile to find those sources that would be the "mother lode".
Philosophy is difficult. It takes time to read an argument and think through its implications. Many students today have difficulty focusing for any length of time. Yes, they can multitask. But is it possible to develop a difficult philosophical argument while you're watching TV and loading pictures into Facebook? Is it possible to hammer out a difficult proof in Abstract Algebra (bringing it into what used to be my world) while IMing a couple friends and checking your email? I don't think so.
And what about class time? Paul appreciates technology and is a competent user. Does he have to accommodate today's Millennial and change what he does in class every 10 minutes to keep their attention? Isn't there still a place for spending an hour wrestling with a difficult intellectual concept -- with no multimedia?
We as educators are in challenging times ...
A side note about Paul. I can't imagine teaching philosophy in English -- the concepts can be so challenging and slippery. Paul spent several years at a university in Tokyo teaching philosophy in Japanese!
I just read in the August 2006 Business 2.0 magazine about Cyworld, the Korean version of Myspace. 90% of all Koreans in their 20's are registered users of Cyworld! That's 18 million users, out of a South Korean population of 48 million.
Cyworld is a social network including 3-D rooms and avatars. $300,000 a day is being made by the web site! Guess how? Users purchase virtual items to decorate their home-pages and mini-rooms. They can choose from tens of thousands of digital items such as furniture, appliances, stereo sets, household plants, and even background music -- each purchased for less than $1 apiece.
If you are feeling a bit left out, wondering why the Koreans get to have all the fun ... never fear, Cyworld has been recently marketed for a U.S. audience.
As you know, one of my projects this summer has been to play with (or should I say "research, analyze, and assess"?) the various digital tools young people are using today. Much of what I am learning will be presented in various workshops at our 4th annual "Technology for Teaching" Conference to be held the week before the start of school.
One session in particular is going to be a lot of fun. We advertised that the first 20 to sign up for the "Tools of the Millennials" workshop would receive a free Olympus WS-320M player. The session filled up fast!
The past two years we have had over 80 attend the conference, and this year it looks like we will have even more. Most of the participants will be our own Taylor faculty, but we have also invited colleagues from nearby institutions. Here are links to the schedule and session descriptions. If you are in the area and would be interested in attending let us know. We might still have a few spots available.
"What I find disturbing is the assumption that whatever new thing is happening is by virtue of being in existence perfectly fine, so fine in fact that I should somehow change what I do to be 'with it'..." -- posted last night by Joe.
This comment hits at the heart of the tension that many are feeling. If you have some thoughts please join the discussion and post your comments.
You've finally figured out how to open & send attachments, create distribution lists, file your messages, protect yourself (sort of) from spam, and now this ...
The Associated Press, July 19, 2006 --
"Email is so last-Millenium. Young people see it as a good way to reach an elder -- a parent, teacher or a boss -- or to receive an attached file. But increasingly, the former darling of high-tech communication is losing favor to instant and text messaging, and to the chatter generated on blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The shift is starting to creep into workplace communication, too. "In this world of instant gratification, e-mail has become the new snail mail," says 25-year-old Rachel Quizon from Norwalk, Calif. She became addicted to instant messaging in college, where many students are logged on 24/7..." -- Martha Irvine Read the entire story.
This view of email may be one of the reasons so much campus communication never gets read by students. I'm trying to come up with a reason for the faculty :) -- ouch! --
Last night Grandma Betty got into my blog. I had to show her a few things, but very quickly she was flying around reading all of my postings.
Her reaction? "yo ... this rocks ... me and chuck will have to make sure we check this every day. this millennial thing really works! i feel 10 yrs younger already ... b4n"
Actually, she didn't say any of the above, but I thougnt it made for a nice quote.
For two years I've been working with a young boy as part of the Kids Hope USA program. Yesterday both of us had a first-time experience. He had never been in an airplane. I've flown all over the world, but never in a small Cessna 4-seater.
This little guy's favorite activity is playing computer games -- Nintendo, Play Station. He is constantly talking about the new games he has been able to buy or those he rents from Blockbuster.
My own Millennials are 18, 21, and 23 years old. None of them have had much of an interest in gaming. I wonder about the impact of gaming on children who are immersed in it from the time they are small. How does it affect their learning styles? How do we as educators prepare to teach this generation?
Well, it was fun to give my mentee something other than a virtual experience. How did we pull this off? A colleague of mine is a pilot and he brought his little Kids Hope boy along as well. He flew the plane.
Reading a book sure is hard work! I'll just have to sleep it off ...
I gave myself a C- on my recent "Millennial" report card. My 18-year-old daughter, Carla, is a solid A.
I've been known to "set up" shots to make a point. However, this one is just as I saw it after lunch today.
Note the two remotes.
Note the cell phone on the table.
Note the *laptop computer.
Note the prone position -- I didn't bother to ask her where in her day's sleep cycle she was.
Note the book. This should probably knock her down to an A- or B+ because Millennials don't read. It's a habit/skill/pastime that we desperately need to keep fostering in our children.
*The computer is a Dell that we just purchased for Carla as she starts college in the fall. We couldn't pass up Dell's $499 and $699 deals a couple weeks ago. We went with the $699 deal, paid another $99 for the longer-lasting 9-cell battery and came away with a great computer for under $800 (Centrino duo-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 60 GB Hard drive, 14.1" screen, CD/DVD burner).
Carla is by no means a "techie", but by the time I got home the day the laptop was delivered ... she had it unpacked, turned on, and by that evening she had figured out how to connect to our wireless. Yes, she's a solid A.
In 1996 we left the Philippines to return to the U.S. These were the early days of the internet when people were just beginning to use email and access the web on their '486 computers. About this time I remember Bill Gates making the statement that "connectivity" was the future. A computer that wasn't connected was going to be useless. Has this prediction come true? You give someone a computer today that has no internet capability and she'll look at you like, "What good is this?!"
It is now 2006. There is a fascinating article in the June 30 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, titled Human Trails in Cyberspace. Marc A. Smith, leader of the Community Technologies group at Microsoft Research is quoted as saying, "The future of computing is social computing". It's been 10 years and we are facing another paradigm shift. "Connectivity" is already here. Gates was right. We all have broadband (or are complaining to our local DSL provider about why it can't make it to our house).
I'm guessing that in a few short years those of us who ignore the Web 2.0 social networking tools (weblogs, vlogs, wikis, podcasts, ...) will be looked at in the same way as the current user who says he/she can live without the internet.
How do you keep up with all of this? One way is to keep reading this blog. My blog is geared toward the busy educator who needs the technology "cliff notes". Try to spare a few minutes every day or two to read the new entries. I believe you'll find the journey intriguing and worthwhile.
Wow spending money on Beethoven's symphony. I am going to have to dock you points on your report card cause this is definitely not what a millenial would download. If you want some good music with mandolins / sometimes violins or fiddles check out some Hootie and the Blowfish or Dave Mathews Band. These guys really jam. Haha love ya. Neal
It has been nearly six weeks since I started my quest to become a Millennial. How have I done? Well, it's been a tough assignment. Click on the link to view my Report Card.
myTAYLOR is a portal that provides web-based resources to the Taylor community. One of the things you can do (if you're a TU faculty member) is to create a channel in myTAYLOR to link to your favorite blogs (at least one should quickly come to mind).
To create a new Bookmarks channel click on the Content/Layout link (upper left corner) ... click on the Personal tab ... click one of the Add Channel buttons ... select External ... Go ... Bookmarks ... Add Channel ... then click the Go back to Personal link (upper left corner).
A colleague of mine is leaving Taylor to pursue graduate studies with the goal of becoming a college professor. This week he visited the university where he'll be attending. He came back kind of wide-eyed, "Gary, you won't believe this. The classroom where I'm going to have all my classes has NO technology! All it has is an old-fashioned blackboard and an overhead projector--the old kind."
It seems to me that physics would need to be taught using some technology. And maybe the professors will be bringing in their own laptops and portable projectors. But the image was disturbing.
For several years now our admissions folks have said that technology really doesn't sell a school. Students just expect that what they need will be there. I'm wondering if this will be changing. I'm wondering if this Millennial generation will begin figuring out that certain schools are integrating technology across the program (e.g. for two years now at Taylor we've had ceiling projectors and computer/multimedia podiums in every classroom) and other schools are still using blackboards and chalk.
And, I'm wondering if even within the same institution students will begin figuring it out. Certain professors are using technology in effective ways to engage the students and others are not. I need to be careful here. I'm not saying that effective teaching always has to incorporate technology. But I'm just wondering how many more years a faculty member will be able to effectively engage a class with a 50-minute lecture and a piece of chalk. The students have changed.
I'm not making things up when I say that I'm really new at all of this. Yes, I've been a technology guy for 26 years, beginning in 1980 when Eastbrook High School bought an Apple II computer ($4,000 for the computer, b/w monitor, 9-pin dot matrix printer) that landed in my room. The computer couldn't do anything because it came with no software. I was forced to become a programmer (using Apple's version of BASIC called Applesoft). I learned to make a block bounce around the screen, then I wrote a program to do my grades, then one to do my basketball stats, then track stats, then an address book.
The next year a fellow teacher brought in a disk (5.25" floppy) with a program on it called Magic Window. It was a word processor! Anyway, that was the start of my gradual swing from the teaching of math to teaching computer programming and applications.
Paradigm shift #1: For me the mid-1980's was a major paradigm shift when I moved from programming the applications I needed ... to using purchased application packages (Lotus 1-2-3, Appleworks, PFS, dBase II).
Paradigm shift #2: The second major paradigm shift for me happened June 2006 when I started using the "Millennial tools" or "Web 2.0" tools, whatever you want to call all of this. This is a major transformation!
i just signed on with aol instant messenger
why? cuz i'm tryin to knock a few years off my life
i'm probably nuts to give out my screen name in my blog.
anyway, beginning tomorrow i'll have my AIM running
am finding that a blog is a powerful tool for research; for the pursuing of ideas and finding answers. The Director of Communications at the CCCU national office in Washington D.C. read my blog and sent me links to four articles about "Web 2.0". I had barely heard about Web 2.0. But I read the articles and a whole new understanding is beginning to develop.
Web 1.0 Web 2.0
Personal websites Blogging
Britannica Online Wikipedia
From the above few examples do you get the picture? Web 2.0 is all about collective intelligence; it's about the organizing and sharing of data/information/content; it's giving to the users (millions of them) the power to determine what is important and what should bubble to the top (i.e. in a Google search or in iTunes Today's Top Podcasts).
Many of the Web 2.0 tools are heavily geared toward pop culture. What if we as educators could harness the power of these collaborative tools? In the same way that a Google search places at the top of the list those sites most relevant (determined by keywords, the number of other sites linking to this site, and other wizardry) could there be an educational site where students would enter a search and the top hits would reflect what others (thousands, millions) have found to be most useful. Maybe you're aware of something like this taking shape. If so, please take a few minutes and add a comment to this posting. We'll all benefit.
Footnote 1: This is disturbing to some, but I am hearing evidence that a repository of information like Wikipedia (edited and refereed by the masses) may be as accurate and relevant as a similar set of reference materials published by a select group of "experts".
I would remove the question mark. The new web-based tools that are emerging are going to change the face of teaching and learning. All the "old" technologies represented by such products as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, FrontPage, and even Blackboard have not really changed teaching and learning all that much. What they have accomplished is to lay a foundation for this new wave of what are being called Web 2.0 applications.
The Web 2.0 movement includes the "social software" that we have been exploring together -- blogs, wikis, podcasting, videoblogs, RSS feeds, social bookmarking, and social networks such as Facebook and Myspace. These tools facilitate collaborative learning and the sharing of information. They provide easy and immediate access to information never before possible. They create a new level of engagement (I hope you've experienced some of this reading my blog). They put power in the hands of the learner -- power to explore, to connect, to create, to publish.
Is it a scary thing? You bet. We who have been in the business of education (I taught high school math and computer science for 19 years) have been used to tightly controlling what goes on in our classrooms. We're going to have to open up. These tools are going to require (if we as educators are going to stay relevant) that the "sage on the stage" really does need to become the "guide on the side". I've never liked that worn-out analogy but I believe it's true.
This posting should stir the pot. What are your thoughts?
One might think that this "becoming a Millennial" urge might be a sign of mid-life crisis, not too different from going out and buying the red convertible (or, in rural Indiana a monster pickup truck).
Actually, I had my mid-life crisis about ten years ago (and I don't think I'm allowed to have two). From 1984-96 our family was involved at Faith Academy, a school for the children of missionaries located on the outskirts of Manila. Twelve wonderful, but challenging (and often stress-filled) years in the Philippines eventually caught up with me. I was the K-12 computer coordinator, taught high school math and computer science, coached basketball, and in hind-sight was involved in far too many other things. In 1996 I experienced a severe episode of burnout and depression that brought our family home for recovery.
I credit my family and a God who cares for pulling me through a major personal crisis, and getting me back on my feet. In 1997 I was hired on at Taylor University in a position that eventually evolved into my current role of Director of Academic Technology.
Life has its interesting and unexpected twists. In my wildest imaginations I would have never dreamed I would be in a role that has provided as much challenge and satisfaction as that which I am currently enjoying. The school buys me all my toys ... and I get paid to do things like write this blog. I call it "R & D" - Research and Development.
My initial purpose in starting this Xanga blog was for ME. To effectively function as a technology leader on our campus I realized I needed to immerse myself in the kind of digital world that our children and students live in.
But then, as I've gotten started I've realized that my blog might help other 40, 50, 60-year old educator types to vicariously experience my journey ... and to actually use a "Millennial" tool to receive information, catch a vision, and have some fun as well. For that purpose I've sent my URL to the Taylor faculty and also the CCCU technology listserve.
I've been involved in educational technology for 25 years at both the high school and university levels. Currently I am the Director of Academic Technology at Taylor University, Upland, IN. Over the past several years we have been very successful at Taylor in moving our faculty toward greater and more significant use of technology. However, I am not sure many of us understand very well the way the current crop of students uses technology.
Last week at the CCCU technology conference at Cedarville University I was struck by the fact that I really don't understand how today's young people use technology. I'm totally fluent with the Microsoft Office products, etc., but I don't blog; I don't IM; I don't have an iPod; I've never installed iTunes; I don't listen to podcasts; I've never posted to a wiki, ...
Last Friday, June 2, as the conference began winding down I made a decision -- I needed to become a Millennial! How else could I effectively help our faculty better connect with our students and leverage the technologies that they are all using?