Class goals for the week:
- continue to practice doing online research
- create a properly formatted Works Cited page
- submit an essay draft via SafeAssign
Before I get to the above, I'm feeling another reflective post this week. In the WID seminar I'm leading, we are discussing the article "Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation." It argues that Net Generation students (Net Geners) are easily bored and therefore exhibit a greater need for variety in the classroom, need more interactive and inquiry-based activities, have short attention spans and demand instant gratification, and are "shallow learners" often due to their use of technology. If this is true, do we try to combat the more negative aspects of technology by railing against it or are there ways to use technology to enhance their learning?
Our WID group has had a lively discussion about it on our blog, with some feeling that technology can end up encouraging lazy thinking, lazy researching, and lazy students overall (someone compared using FB in class to letting young kids watch Sesame Street -- it may be "educational" but it's still T.V.). Others feel strongly that in order to serve our students best, we need to adapt our pedagogy to meet them where they are and use the strengths of technology to overcome the possible drawbacks.
Another point made by the article is that Net geners seem to feel that learning must be "fun" and "entertaining" and they therefore resist lectures, workshops, or other activities that seem "boring." Do we think this is true? If it is, is it because of social media or is this just how students are (and have always been)?
One thing my WID group agreed on is that technology needs to be used wisely and with purpose. It's OK (and even necessary) for faculty members to practice and experiment (many of us are not Net Geners, after all) but using technology for the sake of using technology will produce disjointed lessons, confused students, and not-so-great results. That's why I think this seminar has been so valuable for me -- it really forces me to think about my goals for each activity so that it has substance and purpose and can be assessed for future use or revision.
One general concern I have had about technology is that we tend to assume that all our students are perfectly comfortable using Ning and Blogger and Facebook and in my experience, that has not been the case.
As I stated at the beginning of this (overly long) post, this coming week we will continue to practice online research skills, learn to create a properly formatted Works Cited page (using online resources), and submit the first draft of an essay via SafeAssign. I'm nervous about the last part for several reasons but since technology can make plagiarism so easy, I'm curious about using it to deter and detect plagiarism for a change. More on how that goes next week...