The Changing Classroom

At most of our institutions the classroom, and what happens there, is changing. Of course, there are still classrooms that seem to have stayed quite the same since they were first built many years ago – and some of what happens in them has yet to change either. But any walk through classroom buildings these days will lead to the discovery of technology infusion – along with students who expect their instructors to be using technology in the learning process. The question is are we changing rapidly enough to meet the needs of the students we encounter in the library and in the classroom, and will we be able to adapt to the students who will be at our institutions five years from now. Here is one instructor’s visual interpretation of the challenges we face.

A while back I was discussing these issues, as well as general thoughts about millennial generation students, with the Vice-President for Enrollment Management at my previous institution. She was sharing some stories about what was being learned about our students through focus groups. One of the students, in referring to the behaviors of digital natives, said “If you think we’re bad wait until you see our little brothers and sisters.” I think that tells us quite a bit about how things are going to be changing, and why we need to start putting into place new resources, services, and modes of delivery and communication that will better fit the coming generation (of course while continuing to serve adult learners with quite different behaviors).

For background reading, if you missed this in the past, here is an important article by Marc Prensky titled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”.

Thanks to Brian Gall for pointing me to the video.

2 thoughts on “The Changing Classroom”

  1. I think we need to think more critically about arguments to the effect of “students are different therefore we need to change.” On the one hand it’s a truism, of course we must change as society changes. On the other hand it can be irrelevant to what higher education is trying to accomplish. If we can use technology to foster learning that’s one thing, but catering to the so-called digital natives is not always what is necessary or required.

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