Teaching children who are born into a highly advanced age of technology can be a challenge. Students need to feel excited about their learning, and they need to be taught in ways that address their different learning styles. With technology rapidly changing our world, teachers are now faced with the task of preparing students for jobs that are yet to exist! Analysts claim that students of the future will be using technology that has yet to be invented, to solve problems that do not currently exist. It goes on to say that the amount of technical information has been doubling every two years. In addition, some of the jobs most in demand right now, did not even exist ten years ago, such as: app developer, web experience designer, social media manager, and chief listening officers. So, how can we help students prepare for their futures? The video below shows a young student using the interactive whiteboard to share her answer with the class.
Thus there is a very important need to incorporate technology into our curriculum, in a variety of ways. Enhancing lessons using different types of media such as video, websites, interactive activities, and even video games are a few of the ways this need can be achieved. Research shows us that surgeons who play video games make less mistakes, and perform surgeries more quickly (Dobnik 2004). In addition, students should also be taught how to use these media for their own purposes by creating their own videos and online media for assignments. Students should be comfortable navigating these types of technologies to suit their purposes.
Teaching our students Digital literacy and Citizenship is equally necessary in order for them to thrive and survive in the world of technology! Much like media literacy, digital literacy refers to understanding how these technologies are used, and how they may influence us. It also involves questioning what they are seeing online. Digital citizenship refers to how people relate and respond to online content. It is their own online presence. With more and more interactions taking place online, students need to learn things such as email etiquette. Students also need to learn about keeping themselves safe online. That means not mentioning in their Facebook status where they are going that night, or taking pictures where identifying information can be obtained. Students also need to learn that everything they post online becomes part of their digital footprint which will follow them. It needs to be made very clear that their online interactions will affect them in the ‘real’ world. In addition, it has now become common for potential employers to search their candidates on social media before hiring them. As a result, it is important students learn how to represent themselves appropriately.
Our advances in technology require that we as teachers, change our teaching styles and cater to the recent changing and developing needs of the generation. By doing this we are helping our students learn the skills they need to succeed so that they can successfully shape their futures.
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