Monday, October 18, 2004

The new generation - brave new world?

People are always comparing generations. One thing is certain the coming generation will be different than the one it replaces.

At the 2003 NZ Principals Conference a speaker ( Ian Jukes) illustrated, through a multi media presentation, that our students have 'new minds', while many of their teachers are still 'wired' into a linear book environment. He of course was talking about the multi media generation. A generation that can access information from anywhere at any time. The multi dimensional world wide web is their medium of choice not the one way TV we were brought up on.

This new 'Generation XX ' ( Roman numeral 2000) are an interconnected generation. Brought up with net working and teamwork they are more akin to follow-ship than leadership - but follow-ship of ideas they pick up from the world wide web. They will be the first fully computer literate generation. In the past children were sent to their bedrooms for isolation - now in their bedrooms they can converse with the world! Marshal McLuhan in the 60's predicted the global inter-connected village, 'the medium', as he said, 'is now the message'. They are a generation brought up on instant gratification. Learning things 'just in time' in contrast with their current schools obsession with a 'just in case' curriculum.

As well the new generation are also the most over protected generation, products of over protective parents. As a result they may have trouble when entering the traditional workforce let alone traditional schools. They are 'instant' thinkers, enjoy teamwork, and belonging to fun cultures rich in personal meaning. They may be not used to long range thinking nor to reflecting on things as they go along or plain old hard work.

Brought up on 'fast food' and 'fast communication' they may need to be helped to slow the pace a bit, consider the long term, and enjoy learning as it unfolds? They might have trouble doing things they see no point in? Or maybe future employers ( and schools) will have to re-imagine themselves into learning organizations to attract the 'we' inter connected generation who will want to be trusted and to do personally meaningful things?

Whatever the future will be shaped by new forces that few fully comprehend but we better learn quickly or we will be left behind wondering what happened.





1 comment:

john said...

On November 21, 2004, we will hold our annual event, Global Learn Day, now in its eighth year. This is a 24 hour event which features exceptional people from all 24 time zones. We open the event in the South Pacific, where the planet begins the new day - well represented by the lovely graphic at the top of this page http://www.leading-learning.co.nz/

This year we are changing the format moving away from "powerpoint presentations (sage on the stage) to "roundtables" - two or three hours of a particular topic that is designed to be sufficiently interesting for the ordinary radio listener. Less blaw, blaw, blaw, - more engaging dialogue - and debate - about the work done by the panel members and why that work will speed learning
acquisition (or, if I get my druthers, how it will increase the motivation to learn!)

The topic for the South Pacific Roundtable may well be the most interesting topic of any that we have held in any Global Learn Day event. It's title (I think - this is written from the top of my head) is: "English, Latin, Geek and Seuss - What works for whom?"

Some explanation - grist for a web page that I am about to put up. Bear with me.

The title needs a bit of explaining - and something about the panel members.

The "English" nomenclature does NOT refer to the language of English, or to Spanish, or French or Russian or Korean. It refers , at least in my mind, to the "language" that is commonly acceptable to those inside the classroom. Call it the vernacular -- and in this sense think about the rage in the Catholic Church that went on 40 years ago when Rome decided that the Mass could be delivered in the vernacular, as vs. Latin. So "English" refers, in this Roundtable, as some kind of reference point that starts to decide what "language" will be of most benefit inside the classroom.

"Latin" is - as you can now suspect - refers to the "traditional" methods used in teaching since Bologna - or Cairo. There is a Sage. There is a ton of some heavy duty reading and a fair amount of writing. Then there are tests and tests and then there is a handshake and a good luck wish. How much "Latin" should be incorporated in our classrooms? How much do those who are "married to Latin" stand in the way of other delivery methods? (Is the Catholic Church better off having switched to the vernacular? Is it wise for us to depart very far from Latin deliveries?

"Geek" is - self explanatory. It refers to all the wonderful new tools that are available, this part of our Round Table under the leadership of Ken Udas http://ose.org.nz/. All about streaming media and bulletin boards, wiki and WiFi, blogs and listservs, the value (and risks) of a Google-ized, globalized world.

Seuss refers to "edutainment". Of how much value are comics? giggles, DIFFERENT forms of learning. In this section we will hear from Annette Stock, in Rotorua, who will tell us how she is using rap music -- did I say RAP? -- (yhee ghads, what has our classroom gone to...now we have to listen to hard rock music that hurts our ears - and learn it aids Annette in her speech therapy work. Does this work? Do we need more of it?

So, that's what this Roundtable is about, more or less. I will be asking some hard questions, mostly with respect to my own personal hobby horse - how do you assess performance? How do you know you are doing any good? What are you trying to accomplish? How precisely have you set your goals and how precisely have your measured the progress to them?

So, that's my thought here. And now I must write to Bruce in the hopes that he will join us. It's easy. You don't have to go anywhere, just point your browser to http://www.bfranklin.edu - but first check some easy software that is free from www.talkingcommunities.com - that allows you to listen. You need a microphone if you want to talk. Or, you can just telephone our call center where the panelists come together - or in talking communities - we bridge the telephone to the net seamlessly. (If you are thinking about the phone, look for cheap international phone cards available on the Net.)

Excuse this long post.
John Hibbs
http://www.bfranklin.edu/johnhibbs