Today's students are living in a very different world than what I grew up in. Their needs may be the same but how students process information and the skills that they possess are drastically different than the skills that I possessed when I was their age. I could always see this in the actions of the students. I could see when I presented something in a way that was "boring" or not meeting their needs. I felt it, too.
When I saw this series available, facilitated by Drew Perkins, Director of TeachThought PD, I knew I had to listen. I have not read the book by Ian Jukes, Ryan Schaaf and Nicky Mohan, Reinventing Learning for the Always On-Generation,but it is on my list.
TeachThought Podcast - Attributes of Digital Learners w/ Ryan Schaaf
1. Digital Learners prefer receiving information quickly from multiple, hyperlinked sources.
- 3/4 of teens and young adults check their devices every 15 minutes or less (according to Larry Rosen)
- Death of patience is due to chronic digital bombardment
- Digital is their native language
- Strategies - use of Wikipedia, Google Earth, WebQuests
2. Digital Learners prefer parallel processing and multitasking.
- Effective multitasking is dependent on good memory
- Essential skill in digital world but must also master single tasking
- We are not going back to 1985...need to prepare students for the world they are in
- Strategies - Tech breaks (1 min - then upside down to focus on work for 15 min - Goal is to increase work time between Tech breaks), use of Evernote
3. Digital Learners prefer processing picture, sounds, color and video.
- Increasingly text should give more details about images
- Eyes processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text
- Consumers and creators of digital content
- Shift from written media to visual media
- Strategy - powerful visual examples used to help students recall information, YouTube - videos to enhance the learning instruction (NEEDS TO BE UNLOCKED FOR STUDENTS AT SCHOOL!)
4. Digital Learners prefer to network and collaborate simultaneously with many others.
- It's not an addiction but a need to communicate with others
- The digital world is far from being isolated
- The shift to global digital networks has shifted the power from individual to groups
- Strategies - Google Drive - Students can contact students from across town to across the world, Google Forms, Skype and Google Hangouts to connect with experts in other states or countries
5. Digital Learners unconsciously read in an "F" or fast-pattern.
- first scan top horizontal content
- next scan down the left side of the page
- next scan down and shorter horizontally across the page
- Strategies - use of images and color enhance the learning experience of digital learners
6. Digital Learners prefer just-in-time learning.
- Today's generation of students should expect to have 10-17 different careers by the age of 37 - not because of failure but because of the reality of the economy
- New Age - School to work, school to work. Repeat.
- On-Demand generation - a click away
- Just-in-case vs. Just-in-time - the question is "What world are we preparing our students for?"
- Strategies - YouTube, TedTalks, Fast5 - use of digital devices to find 5 resources to help them learn something new
7. Digital Learners prefer instant gratification.
- Digital tools provide instant and ongoing feedback
- Posts on social media provide instant feedback with the likes and shares by followers
- All the time that was put into that one post, writing, game level completed is deferred gratification
- Strategies - Digital frames to display student work, game-based learning,
After listening to this series have I started paying more attention to what my students are doing when they are in the process of their learning. I agree with these preferences but I would like to add to it the students may prefer these ways of learning but they need to be taught how to do it effectively, which is why the strategies are so powerful.
I do not believe this lessens our burden of teaching because the students preferred learning may be different. This information should challenge our approach in how we present information to our students. We should not be educating the students and making them fit what we want and how we want to teach. We need to be the professionals and look at our students and their needs and modify what we do for them.
We have to be models of professionals, adults, learners that are constantly evaluating information and reaffirming our practices or making changes based on the new connections. If we are not modeling this for our students, they are going to copy what they see. Our actions are very important in the classroom because we have so many eyes trying to make sense of everything that we do.
My instruction moving forward will include these strategies to help the students be successful in their world!
Mr. Dylan Wince
I am not a writer but I am writing.