By Wes Burkett, AVTEQ
It’s test time. Not for students, but for today’s education professionals. The test that educators are facing today is that of engaging Gen Y students. Grab your freshly sharpened #2 pencils and take notes.
Students gracing the classrooms of today will never have to dust off a volume of Encyclopedia Britannica to do research before they “write” the big essay. They’ll simply do a quick Google search and get pages and pages of information so up-to-date it makes Encyclopedia Britannica look as dated as the Nuremberg bible and then they’ll type the paper and email it to you by the due date. No more “my dog ate my paper” excuses for these students.
Today’s students are accustomed to lightning fast interactions and visually engaging with the world around them and educators are learning to plan their curriculum with this in mind.
So what role does technology play in this equation?
In a recent post on ProAVMagazine.com, Pete Putnam, senior contributing editor for ProAV and former InfoComm Educator of the Year, made an interesting discovery about the classrooms of today. In response to seeing a projector in a modern-day classroom, Putnam said:
“I did a double take when I spotted that relic of the 20th century. The transparency projector is a product that’s been both a staple of classrooms and the butt of industry jokes. Yet there it was, used by an enthusiastic teacher who looked like a member of Generation Y, a group that grew up hardwired to the Internet and fluent in a wide variety of handheld electronic gadgets. Where were all of the latest AV teaching tools?”
Putnam goes on in the piece to state the case for the tried and true products, like the projector, whose value has stood the test of time. This message is one that Putnam wants us to remember as we get ready for all of the new gadgetry 2011 has to offer. While CES showcased some very nifty tools this year, Putnam reminds us that “there will be some winners and losers.”
Putnam reveals that while Gen Y did grow up drastically different from previous generations, perhaps educating Gen Y doesn’t require the shiniest newest technologies, but rather a mix of old and new paired with an enthusiastic educator who engages them regardless of the tools available.
Integrating technology like videoconferencing into education is proving to engage students on a higher level. With the integration of these technologies, students are able to experience virtual field trips, live demonstrations and interaction with experts without ever leaving the classroom.
What tools, technologies and techniques are being used to engage Gen Y? Tried and true or cutting edge? Share them in the comments below.
As seen on Best in UC. This article was originally published on the AVTEQ Blog on Jan. 12, 2011.