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I came across the following picture yesterday that made me smile.
Researchers say that if you look at the brains of our generation Z students (the latest group of students to start school) and compare that with a brain of a child from 20 years ago you can see a physical difference.
The part of the brain that is responsible for our visual ability is far more developed in generation Z when compared with other generations (even generation X). The researchers attribute this change to that fact that Generation Z are born with a mobile device in one hand and a laptop or wii console in the other.
As a result it is believed that Generation Z will prefer visual learning over the other styles of learning (kinaesthetic, auditory).
So what strategies can we use to teach Generation Z?
I have a six year old son who started kindergarten this year (this is him playing on my iPad).
I am loving seeing teaching and learning through his eyes. Being a high school teacher, I am a fair way removed from teaching techniques for five and six year olds.
As we have been teaching Ben how to read I occurred to me afresh just how retarded the English language is! Try explaining why one can also be spelt won…my strategy was reduced to just look at it and learn it mate.
That night I came across this video on the TED talks. It is a four minute video demonstrating the new digital books on the iPad and iPhone – it left me AMAZED.
Regardless of what you think of technology education you should take a look at this 4 minute video. I think the functionality and interactivity will impress even the most cynical of teachers.
I have seen some teachers saying that this will be the end of the textbook.
I just watched this video on the TED website of Professor Sugata Mitra. Two of the great quotes in the video were:
“If children have interest, then education happens,”
“Students will learn what they want to learn.”
Watch the video and then I will give you my thoughts…
1. As someone who teachers on engaging generation Y and Z I was again fascinated with the research showing how well students learn when they are intrinsically motivated.
2. Sometimes teachers get too caught up on being replaced by technology – this is not the case, and I certainly don’t see that ever happening. From my observations of teachers in my travels I think that it is a fair observation to say that as a group we resist change.
When the overhead projector became available it was a massive issue! People resisted its use in the classroom and questioned its validity as a tool in education. Then computers and PowerPoint came along and the same teachers that resisted using overhead projectors now refused to give them up for a projector to project power point slides. Now projectors are on the way out and we have smart boards and mobile phone technology and every step of the way 80% of the staff I have worked with complained and resisted learning how to use these tools all the way!
So whilst teachers won’t be replaced, I believe with the rapid rate of change and cheap technology available to educators if you don’t embrace what’s coming you will be left behind.
3. Whilst I appreciate that Professor Sugata Mitra states that learning takes place I believe what he is talking about is more remembering. I would like to see the research regarding applied learning – as we all know it is one thing to be able to remember something but is a whole different skill to actually be able to apply what you have learnt! (This will be a blog post in the near future)
My name is Mike Reading and I am a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer & Google Certified Teacher.
I have written and produced a number of of resources helping teachers use Google to increase student motivation and engagement.
My motto: Helping teachers better motivate, manage & engage their students in a way that is enjoyed not endured!