The print medium is dying a slow death.
Newspapers are declining in circulation as more and more readers look for their content online.
Libraries are being forced to either adapt to a new digital age with new equipment and programs or become ancient artifacts.
And then there’s the traditional classroom textbook.
No clickable links. No flashy videos. No interactive games.
Paper and ink. And at a high price, no less.
As we continue to move into this new technological world, our jobs as educators must change as well. Our students are much different than the students of decades ago — even a few years ago.
They don’t know a world without computers. The Internet. Digital devices.
They multitask like crazy.
Their media-innundated minds are wired for constant change.
And we can take two approaches. One is to continue teaching the way we always have. Good teaching is good teaching, right? And if we put the information out there and the kids want the grade enough, they can come get it.
Or we can step into their world. Change up our methods, but stick with solid pedagogy. Supplement with a blog. Engage students with a discussion board. Create a multimedia presentation. Use the vast communication ability of the ‘Net to connect to people with viewpoints our students would never see otherwise.
Go from the limited to the vast, unbounded limits of cyberspace.
But how do we do that? One-to-one computer initiative schools have an instant connection to the information superhighway, as do classes with abundant access to computer labs or laptop/iPod Touch/iPad carts.
But it doesn’t have to stop there. Our students carry more powerful computers with them every day than those that launched spacecraft many years ago. Smart phones — even more traditional cell phones — have powerful information gathering, recording and publishing abilities. Even if our schools have “no cells in class” policies, that doesn’t mean we can’t harness that power outside the walls of the school.
The information and options available to us is unlimited. Our tools are powerful and more ubiquitous than ever.
The digital natives are here. Now it’s up to us to reach them where they are.