That is a question that is being asked with more frequency lately.
There are students who seem not to have a serious interest in learning in schools. What seems to be evident is high school students, who appear to be distracted with gadgets such as smart phones and tablets, which seem to dominate their attention. Many individuals from their mid-thirties upwards have observed the interests of the students and spoke about the times when game shops and VHS were considered to be the great evils against the classrooms diverting their study time to more play.
Now, in the 21st century, students have small and portable devices that have created a new wave of interests for the learner. Unfortunately, many of our traditional institutions have missed the boat to utilize these devices within the classrooms that can make learning just as exciting as the applications that have captured students’ imaginations. There are schools which still have the hard and fast 20th century rule of absolutely no cell phones however, if a senior person asks a child for information on content, it is the same device being used to extract the much needed information. Talking about behind times!
Traditional classroom teaching methods will not be as effective as before. The minds of these teenagers come with a kind of intelligence not seen before. If a man of 40 years has trouble getting into the settings of a smart phone, he can simply ask a teen or a child to find the same and in 5 seconds the settings are found. There is absolutely no way our students can remain 100% percent focused on class work. We adults never could maintain such an action but if we were to trade places with these students with the hand-held technology, I think we would have taken over the world!
Our schools collectively need to devise a plan to completely utilize the various hand held devices as positive tools for learning. Flip charts and simple wall projection are not enough anymore. Instead of having students over-running the library and resource centre all the time, the actual classroom can house all the information extracted. Our teachers need retraining in this new virtual classroom. Not only the classroom facilitator will be able to extract relevant content for the moment but continually use them and other evolving devices within the various subject areas that will add to developing innovations by teachers to help with the facilitation of learning.
Our schools administration need to be in the malls, shops and even the transportation centres and see how students devote great attention to their devices. Making the monumental shift in the classroom from analogue thinking to digital teaching will add a dimension of learning that is needed in our classrooms. Our students today possess a learning style different from our own; therefore we should meet their demands in how they want to learn, thus holding their interests in the classroom.
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