Cellphone use in the classroom has been a topic of debate for over a decade. It’s time that educators stop fighting technology, change their approach to teaching and embrace the evolving of students learning.
Today’s classrooms, just like today’s training rooms, are the not the same as they were in previous generations. Lectures, endless note taking, and death-by-PowerPoint need to be replaced with interactive, device-driven learning episodes.
Memorizing large chunks of information is useless in today’s knowledge-everywhere society. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops can easily be used to find information when it’s needed. Simple memorization of facts should no longer be the evaluation tool of educators, but rather the application of knowledge should be the new learning standard.
The evaluation too for application of knowledge is at most students’ fingertips. They know and understand the technology and they have been culturally programmed to use it. It is now up to educators and trainers to use the technology in a way that is intuitive to learners. One of the major stumbling blocks is that higher education institutions and training organizations are slow to react to new ways of teaching.
Today’s learners are used to receiving short pieces of information. Texting and tweeting is the way people are increasingly communicating. The amount of information that can be jammed into a website, email or blog often leads readers to simply glance at the material, looking quickly for information that is fun, informative or relevant. It is deemed worthless if it doesn’t meet at least one of these criteria.
Engaging the learners has been a top priority in education for decades. It’s ironic that educators spend so much time and energy trying to find new and exciting ways to engage learners, when the answers are already in the learners’ hands.
The question on everyone’s mind seems to be how to use technology to educate learners. Before that questions can be answered, we must first ask how to educator educators to design curriculum and teach using the technology.
Combining the criteria of fun, informative or relevance along with the restriction of short bursts of information may seem more like entertainment than education. With the increased aware of gamification, such as simulations, role-playing and other forms of experiential learning, it is little wonder that learners are also demanding an element of fun or entertainment.
Like others device users, I am drawn to using devices every chance I have and in any way that I can. It is only through using the devices that educators will understand how the technology works, its restrictions and its advantages.
It is paramount that educators learn how to transform mere knowledge into the application of knowledge using small chunks of information that encourages today’s learners to use the tools they already possess and not force them to learn using old, stagnant methodologies that leaves them bored and disenchanted with life long learning.