I was recently a motivational speaker for a teachers conference. We delved into the very compelling topic of how the role of teachers will change; thanks to increased technology and the changing needs of student learning.
Educators today struggle to understand young students and their styles and preferences when learning. I learned language and communication style from my parents and teachers. Generationals today learn it from parents, teachers and.... largely online.
One of the other motivational speakers for the teachers quoted Generational Speaker, Marc Prensky, who makes the distinction between digital natives and digital immigrants:
Digital Natives( Generation Y):
Generation Y has grown up with technology. They have massive social networks that they tap into everyday and have never had to delay gratification. They get answers where they want- when they want.
Today kids can learn many things themselves with just a little guidance, so it begs the question, What is the teachers role in learning?
Generational speaker, Marc Prensky, suggests school will evolve to become about motivation. The role of the teacher will be to guide, make observations and provide relevance and context to learning.
Digital Immigrants( Everybody Older- Veterans Boomers, & Some Gen X):
Older generations have chosen to pick up technology where it helps them. Like picking up a second or third language, they use it where they want but your primary language is the same.
For teachers to evolve they have to understand this distinction.
As the closing motivational speaker for the teachers, one of the motivational speeches argued that many of the soft skills( that are critical for leadership today) of communication will be lost electronically. For instance, we miss a lot of the non verbal nuances with email, text and IMíng. It is through face to face social interaction that you learn empathy, self awareness and develop personal judgement.
The pattern today is to continue to replace face to face interaction with digital communication. By texting people instead of calling them, playing video games instead of playing outdoor soccer and emailing people instead of walking over to them- we are losing touch with essential leadership skills of the future.
A teachers role in the future will be to help younger generations understand the context of what they learn, integrate content into knowledge, and most importantly help them hone there soft skills.