Feeling "out-of-the-loop" and "uncool"....

leamirella's picture

Today's panel made me realize that I am super uncool. The fact that these high school students were coding, really exploring their identities online AND had a level of understanding of new media technology that I couldn't parallel made me want to crawl into a hole and cry.


Aside from this, I found myself asking the question: how do we educate a younger generation about technology if they seem to know so much more than we do? Technology is evolving so fast these days -- whatever pedagogical approaches to technology that we come up with/theorize about in this course may not be relevant a couple of years down the line. AND whatever technology we teach them to use in schools now might not be useful when they get into college and the wider world.

For example, I was made to do an DiDA (in my day, AiDA) Edexcel GCSE course in ICT. (More info here) I received a certificate that indicated that I could competently use computers. But, a couple of years later, I found that the skills that I used in this course redundant, and a waste of time. All I had was a pathetic little certificate that said that I could use a computer back in 2005. (or was it 2006?) This attempt by my education to ensure that I had the "skills" to use computers later on in life failed.

So HOW should we be teaching students to use technology in the classroom? Maybe there isn't any point in teaching them, step-by-step (like the DiDA course) how to use technology. But if that is the case, WHAT should we be teaching them?


Thomas Lord's picture

Although educating students

Although educating students on the use of particular tools may not be particularly effective, there are many things that are fairly constant across most interfaces. Websites, for example, generally have a header of some sort in the upper-left-hand-corner and links in either a links bar below the title or in a sidebar. Information like this can be indispensable when students are navigating unknown interfaces. I'd say that the one thing that can help students with technology the most is an understanding of design paradigms (you can find some examples of design paradigms in smartphone apps at http://theindustry.cc/2012/10/01/app-design-paradigms/). Recognizing and using design paradigms can be a huge help when learning to use new technology as it allows users to essentially translate the new technology into a language they understand. As students become familiar with more and more design paradigms, they learn how to use technology they've never even seen before.

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