Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Article Review #1: 21st Century Learners

Article Review #1: Essentials for Engaged

21st Century Learners

Jones, V.R.  (October 2012).  21st Century Learners.  Techniques, 16-19. Retrieved  from http://content.ebscohost.com.library.aurora.edu/.

Noren, L. (October 2011).  Who is the Millennial Generation?  Retrieved from http://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/10/04/who-is-the-millennial-generation-pew-research/.


Main Points:

In this article, the author addresses the needs of 21st century learners, also known as the Millennial Generation.  The Millennial Generation, or Millennials, are the generation born between 1977-1992 (Noren, 2011), though some data suggests a start date in the 1980's and an end date in the early 2000's.  The author notes that Millennials' brains are actually physically different due to the amount of technology in and around their lives.  This generation commands the use of technology-rich learning opportunities and thrive in it.

Virginia Jones calls to attention our traditional education environment.  She notes that the majority of current teachers are "non-digital natives" or "digital immigrants" (pg.17).  They are aware of the technology and may be capable of implementing it but they do not embrace it in the classroom.  These teachers struggle to reach learners beyond the Millennial Generation.  Jones mentions the importance of needing to integrate the technology-rich world into the everyday education setting.  "It requires outrageous and courageous education- a seismic shift in content delivery," (Jones, pg. 18).

Millennials and the generations that follow spend most of their time adapting technology to better their lives and make them more efficient.  They need to be fully immersed in their learning and take on a lead role.  Collaboration online plays an important part.  Reading has begun to take on a new appearance.  "Digital immigrant" teachers assign reading, especially books.  This new generation finds that resources available online can serve the same purpose.  Multitasking is a vital part in most Millennials everyday.  

Jones points out how adaptable Millennial learners are to their education.  They have little fear of using new technology.  They can apply new tools to their learning environment and, eventually they will apply to their workplace.  


The article concludes by providing suggestions for the reaching the 21st century learners.  Teachers must reshape their lessons utilizing technology and allow these learners to explore and take charge of their education.  These learners need to be engaged in their education and educators must innovate their teaching to better match those needs.  The author suggests e-books instead of textbooks.  Use databases instead of libraries.  Incorporate video and audio to reach those other learners.  Current teachers have a big responsibility to facilitate a new type of learning.

Reflection and Application

When I was looking for article or study to read, I almost passed this article up.  As I skimmed it, I realized this is a major contributor educational technology.  This is why I am taking an educational technology class.  Although I fall into the Millennial Generation and I feel fairly tech-savvy, the learners that I will be teaching from this point on are fully immersed in a world of technology.  I grew up knowing both learning environments.  I don't want to be a "digital immigrant."  I want to be prepared to engage all learners and implement technology tools that better facilitate their learning.  

In terms of lessening the collision of "digital immigrants" and digital learners, staff development must be readily available.  Teachers that are ready and willing need to be supplied with the necessary tools to better support their students.  Districts need to consider moving faster to a 1:1 device system.  Teachers need to be able to provide guidance to fellow staff members.  If we are to be a part of the changing world, teachers need to be innovative and willing to take risks.

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