Teaching, Learning and Leading in the Digital Age, T&L 2900

There has been a large shift in the way student minds work, and the manner in which they engage and learn is different than it was in the past. As Meg Ormiston tells us, they are constantly wired and always connected, and they are facile with technology. Yet it has been said you can walk into a classroom today and it looks the same way it did 100 years ago. Today's learners cannot sit through the drawn out lessons of the past, being lectured and given worksheets to complete. Luckily technology, the cause of the new mind's evolution, can work in our favor as we facilitate learning for our students. They need images and video, new digital collaboration tools and pedagogical methods. They can engage and learn deeply when they are taught in ways that sync with their lifestyle. Although the gap between how students live outside the classroom and how they are being taught is wide, if educators teach themselves about Web 2.0 Tools, NETS guidelines, the language of the wired student, and what works for today's learners we can facilitate instruction that draws them in emotionally, motivates them, and fosters creativity. We are no longer training students to work in a factory in the industrial age, because this is the information age. If we are truly preparing them for the future, it is essential that we model collaboration and creativity. How can we be sure to engage these learners in our classrooms?

  • Use multi-media tools and images that evoke emotion and involve our students.
  • Incorporate collaboration tools and methods into curriculum.
  • Anticipate their shorter attention span, and plan lessons accordingly.
  • As educators, develop our own personal learning networks in order to keep pace with new developments and tools.

Educators will learn to facilitate lessons for today's students so they will engage and learn in new, powerful ways. Differentiated instruction is easier than ever using new tools and pedagogies. While giving students the autonomy to choose their methods of expression and presentation tools, we learn to encourage collaborative skills they will use for a lifetime. Ormiston teaches us not only how to empower our students to learn, but how to do the same for ourselves as we develop personal learning networks and relationships with fellow educators around the world to share ideas and develop new lesson plans that work. We can speak our student's language and teach them in ways that will delight and excite them, while helping them develop higher order thinking skills at the same time.

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