Tag Archive for 'NetGen'

Instant Success


Wandered past a pizza store that is near to where I live in Brisbane. Had to laugh when I saw this poster. Got me thinking. And I mean: Thinking about my thinking. Here’s why.

My first response was that the poster was basically having a go at all of the young ones who expect instant success in life today. The Net Gen who presume that life can be immediately fulfilled with a few clicks of their mouse. And, actually, it most likely IS the intent of this poster (as well as, of course, encouraging teenagers with a good sense of humour to work for them).

And then I got to thinking. Why did I so quickly determine that it was funny, and maybe even sarcastic, to see a comment about a young person being highly successful in a shorter period of time? After all, I (and many others amongst us) are often encouraging our students to get out there and give everything to life. And, as long as they stay ethical with their work, then good luck to them if they make it (whatever ‘it’ is!?).

Yep. How quickly do we subtly dump (well, me anyway) on someone who gives everything to life, and who expects to achieve at a prodigious level? I used to say that quality work took time. Painstaking and sometimes arduous time. Maybe that’s just a perspective of someone who’s predominantly lived in the 20th century. Everything’s a different speed today.

Do I need to speed myself up further? Not necessarily. I just need to be prepared to pay respect to others who savour working at a different rate.

Keeping Up With New Tech

Anyone else out there who struggles to keep up with it all??! For the moment, I’m talking the Web 2 environment (although we could very easily apply that comment to a myriad range of other social, intellectual and scientific issues, let alone the present technology). I’m seeing a lot of angst about all of the techno-advances at the moment, especially within the educational environment. Here’re some thoughts / comments on this:

Point 1. The techno-gurus are constantly deriding the non-technos (I’m being massively generic, and probably even glib with the descriptors; however, for the moment, I’ll stick with them) for failing to adopt the very latest in whatever your average 13-year-old makes use of today. Yes, they have a significant point. Some teachers (a minority, but still, they’re there) just refuse to upskill on almost anything. That in itself is a massive issue. However, while I (think that I) understand where the tech-heads are coming from, they also perhaps need to keep in mind that they’re shooting from inside their own world that revolves around their Twittering / FaceBooking / whatever else was created in the very early hours of this morning. I suspect that they’d encourage more of the mainstream to get onboard by encouraging and inviting them into that world, rather than conveniently dumping on the majority of teachers. All that notwithstanding, the techies do have a massive point. It IS the world of many of our students today. All teachers have to develop a reasonable understanding of the present Web applications. There is simply no other choice. Otherwise, they end up joining the long list of naysayers throughout history who’ve automatically derided anything new / different / unsettling.

Point 2. I notice that Will Richardson was recently talking about a concept known as Technolust. Basically, administrators manage to find buckets of money to spend on technology, yet don’t always ponder how to skill teachers in making use of these new resources. This support is critical. Otherwise, too many teachers become cynical about the worth of this latest resource. This is heartbreaking, given the potential of applying the use of those resources.

Point 3. The mainstream of teachers are conscientious people who set out each day to offer a professional performance. It’s just that they also have lives they’d like to live outside of the classroom. Which all takes time. Unfortunately, that’s the same time that would need to be used to upskill on all of the latest online initiatives. Thank goodness that the day is soon going to be stretched to 28 hours!!

Point 4. Given all of the above, here’s a blunt point. As a teacher, you have no other choice (sorry… this is an absolute). To pay respect to your students, you will need to maintain some degree of technological parity with them. Admittedly, most of us are never going to be able to match most of the teenagers today. So, given that, what is your response to this video? Have a talk about its implications with some of your colleagues. It’s called ‘Information R/evolution’. Comes from Michael Wesch, who is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-4CV05HyAbM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

So. I’ll assume that you’re one of the many teachers who is prepared to make an effort, yet is just a (fair) bit uncertain about your techno-skillset. Here are two practical strategies to adopt:

1. Take on one new skill at a time. Set the target on what you’d like to learn, go to a course (online or off), and steadily practise with it. Some options? They could include: podcasts, blogs, wikis. If you’re interested in developing your own blog, for example, set one up at http://edublogs.org It’s free, it’s for teachers, and there’s no spam or advertising.

2. A bigger one. Rethink the very paradigm that you adopt in your teaching. Basically, be the facilitator of the learning, and co-ordinate the learning experiences so that they pay respect to the knowledge base of your students. Yeah, I know, we’ve all heard this one before. Can I just ask: Do you deeply authentically practise it?? Because, if you still pull the 19th Century control framework, you’ll struggle. For 2 reasons (at least):

A. Many Net Gen won’t cope with it anyway; and

B. When it comes to the New Knowledge, some (many?!) will already know more than you.

Over to you. What’s your next techno-step?