Friday, December 29, 2006

Today's Tech Savvy Students are the Best

Time Magazine's recent announcement that the 2006 Person of the Year is YOU – is right in line for my pick for BEST of 2006 --Today's Tech Savvy Students! The first generation to be born and raised in the digital age has received several aliases ranging from the Internet Generation to the MYSPACE Generation, but the moniker they prefer is “The Millenials”.

According to Howe and Strause, authors of Millenials Rising, "Today’s kids are on track to become a powerhouse generation...”. Unfortunately many feel that the school environment forces them to “power down”. Several resources to help schools gain more insight into today's students and how to equip them with 21st century skills continued to emerge throughout 2006. My top picks include some new (along with old favorties) resources to help educators advocate for 21st century changes to meet the needs of 21st century students.

  1. As Time Magazine's 2006 article, “How to Build a Student for the 21st Century”, suggest -- today's schools “..need to bring what we teach and how we teach into the 21st century.” Just because we find today's students “IMing while listening to iTunes while socializing at 'virtual hangouts' like with the TV running in the background” does not mean they have the skills necessary to use their increased access to tech tools to “make the grade in a global economy.”

  2. Marc Prensky's challenge for us to Listen to the Natives (a.k.a. today's students) suggest that "Schools are stuck in the 20th century. Students have rushed into the 21st." Prensky ask "How can schools catch up and provide students with a relevant education?" For educators trying to understand the changes brought by the 21st century, MIT Open Courseware audio and video of Tom Friedman lecture provides valuable insights in just a little over an hour.

  3. Forward-thinking educators like the folks on the ITM have blogs full of insight that can help you understand both today's students and how to prepare them for the 21st century. Articles like Chris Walsh's “Fear the Fear of Cell Phones” , or Bryan Alexander's article on M-Learning, help us understand how the presence of “Mobility” is more imortant than the “Absence of Wires” in the way today's students learn.

  4. Visionary organizations such as I-Earn, Global Schoolhouse, and GenYes offer educational opportunities and model projects where today's students use their tech savviness to develop valuable 21st century skills. In today's high-stakes testing environment, these organizations serve to remind us that good 'reading' and 'math' scores are NOT enough for our students to thrive in a global economy. Check out NetDay Speakout, Doors to Diplomacy or the three models for student tech leadership for a fresh view to the power of student voices.

  5. But perhaps the best insights comes directly from the voices of today's students with self produced video and an evergrowing amount of self-published web content.
"Over the next decade, the Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged--with potentially seismic consequences for America." ..
Millenial Rising