Finally Schools Catch Up with Kids & Technology


Generation Y, the Millennials, Tech babies, whatever you decide to title this current generation it is impossible to ignore their technological prowess. The children born from 1978 – 1995 were born into a computerized world. They have been raised with  technology  and their comfort level is unsurpassed.

According to a Pew Internet & America Life Project study teens are more technologically connected now than ever before. Findings state that 87% of kids between ages 12 – 17 use the internet. Up to 51% go online daily. While 45% have cell phones and 38% use those for text messaging and staying in touch with their friends (Lenhart, Madden, & Hitlin, 2005). What this study demonstrates is that  technology  has become a staple in the Gen Y lifestyle. With this generation being more and more comfortable with  technology , it appears that  technology  will be creeping more into every area of life.

Colleges have jumped on board to keep this generation of students focused and motivated in classes. At Brown University instructors are using a tool called a “clicker” to generate responses from their student population. A clicker is similar to a TV remote control; however when a student selects their answer the answer is directed to the instructor’s computer at the front of the class. Student’s responses are immediately generated and a compilation of the entire classroom’s answers then creates a ‘results chart’ for the instructor to use as a basis for a current and real-time discussion with the class. The  technology  seems to ease fears of giving a wrong answer in front of peers, or of expressing unpopular opinions. Teachers have reported that clickers are good for generating conversation and getting a feel of what students are thinking. This new  technology  is creating more active discussions within the classroom settings.

As recent as 5 years ago in K-12 classrooms around the country teachers resisted computer access for students because they feared what the students might do. “It’s hard to monitor something like that when the student knows more about computers than you do”, states Sue Hall, high school English teacher from Seattle, WA. The move to get teachers more comfortable with computers has been on the agenda for almost a decade now.  Technology  now becoming customary on college campuses should also relax the newer generations of teachers. However we can’t forget about those currently teaching in our schools from past generations that silently harbor a fear of this  technology  boom.

It appears the younger teachers are more comfortable with  technology . Generation X was the first to explore the usage of  technology  on a regular basis. Colleges began to offer computer classes in the first few years of the Gen X college experience. These teachers have a familiarity with computers and have a general understanding yet the school system still has not global embraced  technology  as the main delivery method… until now.

Times are changing. High schools are beginning to go high tech. From online class delivery to issuing student laptops, lower level schools are beginning to catch on to what is reaching their target Generation Y market.

Since 2003 over 1200 schools have implemented pilot programs that issue laptops to their students. Empire High School in Vail, AZ understands there are learning differences that are keeping today’s youth from being more engaged. This school year Empire High opened its doors without any textbooks. The books were replaced with a laptop issued to its 300 students. The community was advised of this new laptop environment prior to the school year commencement and the school is now not only full to capacity but it has a waiting list for entrance.

Now that schools are seemingly catching up with the  technology  boom maybe kids will become more engaged and the learning process will be more dynamic for them, hence, generating interest and rekindling the desire to learn. If this happens, this could be the shot in the arm our education system needed to turn itself around.

Source by Scott Lovely

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