Grown Up Digital

I just finished reading Grown Up Digital: How the net generation is changing your world by Don Tapscott. Grown Up Digital was inspired by a $4 million research project, “The Net Generation: a Strategic Investigation,” funded by large companies and conducted under the nGenera banner.
I really think this is a must read for those educators, administrators and indeed schools still struggling to come to terms with the changing landscape of the 21st century.

Tapscott shares seven tips for educators to help them become better teachers in the digital age.

1. Don’t throw technology into the classroom and hope for good things. Focus on the change in pedagogy, not the technology. Learning 2.0 is all about dramatically changing the relationships between a teacher and a student in the learning process. Get that right and use technology for a student-focused, customized, collaborative learning environment.

2. Cut back on lecturing. You don’t have all the answers. Besides, broadcast learning doesn’t work for this generation. Start asking students questions and listen to their answers. Listen to the questions that students ask too. Let them discover the answer. Let them cocreate a learning experience with you.

3. Empower students to collaborate. Encourage them to work with each other and show them how to access the world of subject-matter experts available on the web.

4. Focus on lifelong learning, not teaching to the test. It’s not what they know when they graduate that counts; its their capacity and love for lifelong learning that’s important. Don’t worry if kids forget the dates of important or key battles in history. They can look them up. Focus on teaching them how to learn – not what to know.

5. Use technology to get to know each student and build self-paced, customized learning programs for them.

6. Design educational programs according to the eight norms. There should be choice, customization, transparency, integrity, collaboration, fun, speed and innovation in their learning experiences. Leverage the strengths of net gen culture and behaviours in project-based learning.

7. Reinvent yourself as a teacher, professor or educator. You too can say, “Now I can hardly wait to get up in the morning to go to work!”

Learning Adventures – Another Example

Sometime ago I wrote a post about a simple rhetoric shift from ‘assigments’ to Learning Advetures and thought I would share another example. It involves finding a satellite image and having students perform imagery analysis.

Imagery analysis is a discipline which uses some of the most sophisticated science and technology available. An Imagery Analyst is a person with a well-rounded education, an inquisitive and analytical mind, and a highly developed mental skill and knowledge set.

The following Learning Adventure is deep, rich, has inherent cross-curricular opportunities and promotes all of the 21st century skills that have been talked about so often.

Assuming the image is oriented with the top towards north, in which hemisphere is the facility located? (Can we assume this? What happens if this is not the case?)
At what approximate time of day was this image taken?
What led you to this determination?
In which season was this image taken?
What led you to this determination?
Is it a working day?

What is the approximate length of the large white dome?
What do you think the large dome is part of?
What type of facility is depicted in the whole image?

What function do the 2 triangular buildings to the south-east of the dome serve?

Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age

Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age brought together top thought leaders in science and technology, informal and formal education, entertainment media, research, philanthropy, and policy to create and act upon a breakthrough strategy for scaling-up effective models of teaching and learning for children.
The forum was hosted by Google at Google Headquarters in October 2009 in cooperation with Common Sense Media and the MacArthur Foundation.

The following session was thought-provoking and was one that I really enjoyed. It was titled “The Next Revolution in Learning.”

The other sessions at Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age include:

Keynote by Geoff Canada
Teachers for a Digital Age
Literacy 2.0
New Learning Designs
Breakthrough Ideas to Drive Student Success

I highly recommend that you subscribe to the Google Channel from Youtube if you find this sort of thing interesting.