Recently at the Harding University Pre-session Conference, the question of how to teach millennials was discussed. While there are many facets to this discussion, one thread was common to the discussion. A list
of seven characteristics of the millennial genre was provided. Those attending were broken into groups to discuss the issues.
The group I had the pleasure to work with was comprised of a wide spectrum of generations; from of the ‘greatest generation’, some baby boomers, some Gen Xs and Ys and perhaps even a fringe millennial! This was enlightening. One of the conclusions reached was that really all these generation classifications are talking about people and the aspirations and temptations that face people are common to all generations. However, a telling observati
on that was made about millennials is that in their time one of the glaring differences is the technology. Not just what technology is available and what it can do, but also the rate at which it changes and advances.
This is perhaps our greatest challenge. Technology is, and will continue to change how we do what we do in the classroom, and outside of the classroom. It perhaps is a time where it is possible to foster more learning environments since the early days of one-on-one tutoring (well maybe just a hyperbolic!)
The technology also brings other challenges. During a panel discussion at the Pre-session conference, one panel member explored the idea of boundaries. Technology now makes us more accessible than ever. Where do we draw the boundary? When do I stop having consultation times? It is a serious concern. A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed current students seeking their thoughts about what they thought of faculty and how they used technology in there classes (PowerPoint did not rate highly!). One telling comment came from a student who liked his professor who allowed his students to Skype him at any time. Again the question, where is the boundary? This is perhaps what s behind a recent statement from Dr Benton, President of Pepperdine University when he said that the current students are “killing the faculty”. So many demands.
The temptation with all this is to point the finger at the technology and even to blame the technology. There is something to be said for that view, but is it helpful? Does it help us understand how to use technology in our classrooms if we simply proclaim technology as the problem? Perhaps a more constructive approach is to take the time to learn how to use it effectively. How to use the right technology to engage students in learning. To use technology to foster curiosity about academic discipline and knowledge. To use technology to balance our workload and time demands.
The Center for Learning with Technology is working to help achieve all of these aspects; use, academic curiosity, learning and balance. We will help weed through the thousands of apps and services to try and find then right one for your situation. If you want to use technology in a positive way to foster learning and balance your time, contact the Center for Learning with Technology at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, keep up to date what is happening at the Center by following the Twitter feed: @HULearnTech