What are the essential tools to help the connected Generation C be successful? I bounce around the idea that in fact it may not be technology at all — rather, the vision of the integration of the new essential tools that promote connectivity. Perhaps the new educator mindset should really focus on the ability to re-tool the cognitive skills of Generation C to promote higher level thinking.
Everyone has followed the Did You Know series, which is currently up to the 4.0 version. What intrigues me about this series is the growing emphasis on the tools to define a way of life and a generation that is connected without mentioning the strategies to meet the needs of these new digital learners. The world is, in fact, becoming smaller through technology, but the demands of words are creating a new purpose and process of education.
My own experience promoting philosophies such as project-based, challenge-based, and, now, the newest topic of passion-based learning, has refocused my thoughts about the role of technology in learning. Technology is not only a tool to achieve a learning objective but also an instrument to shape the process and product of learning. Use of technology to align with student passions, service, and contributions to impact beyond the classroom walls is the key to engaging Generation C.
Reviewing the 12 Ways Technology Has Changed Learning, the tools and information access assumes this will change the learning process and the impact of learning. Educators must not be caught up in the gadgets of learning; instead, they should focus on the ability to shape experiential learning and student ownership of the process to discover, create, and problem solve.
The Essential Tools
The six essential tools to equip Generation C to make them productive beyond the devices, gadgets, and social networks are:
- Personal Responsibility to promote motivation, engagement, and commitment to use education
to make an impact on the world
- Critical Thinking beyond the classroom to promote problem solving to look at problems and
issues beyond the local environment
- Creativity to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and idealism through experiential learning
- Collaboration to understand the concept of thinking globally but acting locally with redefined networks
- Re-Learning Strategies to promote flexible skills, adaptive tendencies, and an open mind on creating knowledge
- Communication across different medians that will include virtual, personal, and Second Life environments
Education programming can be shaped by things such as common standards and performance tests, but the movement needs to address these six elements to move students to be the future thinkers. School districts implementing programs that require computer science programming courses or apps development for middle school students are showing higher achievement results.
The opportunity for students to have equal access to educational tools and programming in and out of school is the next problem facing educational leaders. This topic will be addressed in my next blog looking at classroom strategies and community attempts to minimize these issues.