Now if you assume this is going to be another “back in the good ole days” rant by a self-congratulatory Luddite, you’re half right. Because while I’m nostalgic for the days of card catalogs and microfiche, two important trends, the emergence of the Google Generation and the ubiquitousness of technology, are transforming the way we learn — creating a more intellectually agile society.
In an article titled, “The Post Information Age,” Dr. Joseph Lopez describes the Google Generation as, “…[having] the ability to think analytically and creatively at the same time.” For this generation of students, “…skill sets are no longer learned through books, but through the ability to assemble ad-hoc networks of information through various mediums and sources.”
Easy access to information has accelerated the rate at which the Google Generation acquires, analyzes and synthesizes information.
A recent survey conducted by the Pew Internet Project found that nearly 75% of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers use mobile phones for in class and take home assignments. The director of the Pew Internet Project summarized, “As a group, these teachers are well ahead of other adults in their tech use, and they feel they are working hard to bring these tools into their classrooms in creative and valuable ways.”
While these two trends are dovetailing nicely, the survey noted major disparities in technological access when the teacher’s age and the school’s economic status are considered.
Because the way we learn is changing so rapidly, today’s children need the technological tools to compete in an increasingly tough global environment. And though I miss the days when we had our heads stuffed inside some musty tome, kids today learn just as well, if not better, with a laptop, tablet and smartphone.