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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011
I have been asked to 'Blog' for a class on information technology in the classroom. We discussed all sorts of websites today, how to use the web in a teaching situation, and how teaching has changed over the past fifty years. One thing which came up was the question of "how learners have changed over the last twenty, thirty, and fifty years". My immediate thought was "Haven't they changed over the last ten or forty years?".

Ha ha

Well, this got me thinking...

It would be ignorant to say that modern students are more curious or demanding than those of days past; today's student is no more a philosopher or sophiavore than Beaver Cleaver. The primary difference which I perceive in the North American student of today is the level of independence and maturity demanded of modern learners. Fifty Years ago it was the ideal that a young student ought to be able to go to school without needing to work, and also that they would be able to get most answers to class work from their parents. As time marched forward, the students were kicked along with the era, and demands of financial self sufficiency were imposed, and intellectual demands that could not be met by parents cropped up.

This is not to say that economically or socially disadvantaged students did not exist in the past, but today it is the norm that students are economically productive and responsible for their own access to knowledge.

Teachers today are dealing with students that have BUSY lives outside of school. Many teachers refer to this as the overly-busy social lives of their students; this is a misnomer. Students today sometimes have very little going on socially, but huge work and professional commitments. When you factor in two more things - the limited time they have to work on school and the limited time they may share with their parents - it is easy to see how Google operates in loco parentis as a source of information at home.

Our instructor told us that brain patterns have changed in the past fifty years, and that we are indeed different students than our predecessors. I don't entirely believe him, though (yes, I know you will be reading this, Kevin). I am off to Google to double check what he told me...

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