Less Facebook And More Face In Book

I thought that was a great line. I discovered it while reading an interesting essay from last Thursday’s edition of Inside Higher Ed by Laurence Musgrove titled “iCranky“. Musgrove explains why he’s so cranky. His institution is offering a professional development program designed to help faculty “technologize our teaching methods so that we can better facilitate the success of the newest new generation, commonly known as “Millennials.” On one level Musgrove fires away at the deficiencies of faculty professional development programming for technology which he says “assume no knowledge and experience on the part of those being lectured to about the latest advances in technology, learning style, and interconnectivity.” There is some good advice here for librarians who seek to create professional development programs on library technology for their faculty. Talk to the faculty and find out what they already know.

The other reason for Musgrove’s crankiness is that he’s tired of being told that he needs to change his teaching methods to adapt to millennial students. He reacts to this:

What our students need is not more of what they come in the door with. They don’t need more of the same in the same way they got it before. They need to be confronted with people who talk about ideas that matter. They need to become people who can confront and talk to other people about ideas that matter. They need to sit in a room of people and learn about humanity. Also, not more Facebook, but more faces in books, extended periods of silent and sustained reading and writing, developing intellectual stamina and the ability to ask questions that don’t lead to easy answers or a quick and final Wikisearch.

If Musgrove is an indicator (as well as other faculty who reacted positively to his essay in the comments) then we may have a growing number of faculty who want to see more reading and research rigor in the teaching and learning process. As evidenced by recent events at Middlebury College faculty may indeed be growing weary of research papers based mostly on Widipedia entries. This may be our opportunity to leverage the current mood to seek out greater collaboration with faculty to integrate library resources in assignments and classroom learning.

As I’ve said before, while it’s important to pay attention to changing demographics, new trends in learning, and the value of instructional technology, we probably want to think carefully before we change the way we do everything just to meet the needs of a current generation of students.

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