Teaching to the Millennials, and beyond

When thinking about teaching students in today’s world, the list of demands is ever increasing. Not only are we teaching to a population that has the capabilities of experiencing more in a virtual reality than they have to experience in the real world on a daily basis, but we are also teaching to a population that will hold jobs that we cannot even fathom will exist within the next fifteen to twenty years (see the link http://teachingandlearninginhighered.org/2013/07/15/preparing-students-for-what-we-cant-prepare-them-for/ for more information). As one can clearly see, if school were to be analogized as a playing field, it would be one that is inherently unfair; from the beginning of schooling, teachers are forced to teach information using strategies that may, to no fault of their own but simply due to how quickly society changes, be antiquated in terms of its effectiveness reaching students. It is for this reason, as well as many others, that it is NOT okay to give teachers the option as to whether or not they wish to incorporate modern technologies into their instruction. 

Across history, there are many examples of things that we take for granted in modern society, but initially faced a lot of pushback-the same way technology incorporation in education has. Things such as the internet, television, and the willingness to move VCR to DVD, were all seen as unnecessary when they were first introduced; what all of these things have in common, is that today these things are commonplace, the same way technology in education will one day be commonplace. While all of these examples have positively benefitted society’s progress, in my opinion, none of these things have had as direct an impact on the education of children like technology in classrooms does, and so none of them carried as much weight or urgency as technology incorporation does. Every time we blatantly choose to forgo technology incorporation when it could be beneficial, simply due to personal agendas or a lack of understanding, we are adversely affecting our students’ educations. It is wrong to let things such a personal feelings on the importance of technology or a simple lack of knowledge on how to affectively utilize the technology impact the decision on whether to incorporate it or not. 

In my Intro to Education Technology course we watched a quick video that outlines exactly what kind of challenges teachers in today’s world face, and the unlimited possibilities that the Internet possesses. Here’s another video that illustrates this major point: 

Another reason why the incorporation of technology into education should be mandated and not optional is because we need to embrace the opportunity to expand teaching possibilities parallel to the expansion of technology. To embrace a fast-paced movement like the one that is technology incorporation in education allows for education to be in the forefront of innovative technology discoveries, with a stake in which kinds of decisions are made and to whom it will benefit. To embrace technology incorporation in the classroom is to invest in the future of technology, and investing in technology yields large rewards in the long run far beyond the financial sector. Below is a video that asks the questions we should be asking ourselves right now as aspiring teachers, and thinks about how to incorporate modern technologies to help answer them: 

In total, it is clear that given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children’s future, it is not ok to allow teachers to choose whether or not they incorporate modern technologies into their instruction, but rather it should be mandated wherever possible. From my own personal experiences in school, technology incorporation has created many originally unforeseen benefits, along with the aforementioned ones. For example, due to my high school requiring that all students have a school-issued iPad, many student-lead positions were created to teach students, and occasionally teachers, how to effectively use the technology. Moreover, they taught the little-known ways to use technology to benefit each student, different from ways commonly focused upon. Second to that, the widespread movement away from textbooks to e-books has decreased our paper dependence and carbon footprint, which is always beneficial. 

Overall, it is clear to me that in the modern age it takes modern technologies to reach students efficiently. Incorporation must be mandated, but more importantly embraced by all parties involved.