August 30, 2010

The Net Gen, Continued

Chapter 4: Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing
Chapter 5: The Student's Perspective

Chapter 4 emphasized further what was discussed in the first three chapters. It's interesting to read about how the Net Gen learns differently than other generations do. They use computers and other most recent technology in everyday life including work, school, play, and hobbies. But at the same time, the Net Gen is similar in work ethic and ambition to the Greatest Generation: their grandparents. NetGeners like to be creatively challenged.

I don't necessarily agree with the way the article mentions how NetGeners should study. Although a stimulating study environment is essential, I think it's up to the student to decide where and how to study. Personally, I like a quiet room with not much distraction. I find that I can get more done, and get it done faster, with a concentrated attention span.

Human interaction was also mentioned. This section really brought light to how I think about online classes. Social interaction is extremely important, and online classes need to do as much as possible to enhance it, not replace it. I get angry at people who notice trends from statistics of Math Emporium classes and think that it must be working because grades are higher. But it never occurs to them that maybe the reason grades are higher is that cheating is easier, which brings me to my next topic.

Technology is definitely helping cheating. This was made obvious, what with text messages, copy/pasting, internet sourcing, etc. However, technology is also helping teachers (and software) detect cheating. This wasn't mentioned in the article. Cheating detection software has gotten better through time, just like all technology has. Technology makes it easier to cheat, but it also makes it easier to get caught.


August 25, 2010

The Net Gen

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Is It Age or IT: First Steps Toward Understanding the Net Generation
Chapter 3: Technology and Learning Expectations of the Net Generation

I want to start off saying that I think the term "technology" is defined very subjectively. This was shown in one of the surveys that asked what "technology is," where there were many diverse responses. Technology is relative to generation and culture. For example, we don't consider automobiles to be very technological, but to someone living in the 17th Century, they would consider it a form of technology (if not witchcraft). The article talked about how members of the Net Gen don't consider computers and cell phones technology but rather part of their everyday lives. On the other hand, members of the "Matures" generation would likely be uncomfortable with using these objects all the time.

The eBook also talked about the pros and cons of using technology in an education environment, although I believe the benefits of using these tools highly outweigh the drawbacks. No matter what form of technology a teacher uses, there are going to be problems and malfunctions that are going to have to be worked around. However, one must consider the rate at which we introduce these tools in a classroom. I'm sure that there were some skeptics back in the day when the calculator was invented, but look where we are now. It's not a matter of which technologies we use, but a matter of how fast we use them.

Another point to make is which determines the characteristics of the Net Gen: age, or experience? There were both sides of view present, but I think that no matter what generation you're talking about, whether it be a generation born between 1900-1946 or between 2100-2146, there are always going to be technological advances that the newer generations are going to be more comfortable with. There's nothing special about our generation, it's just the most recent one we can accurately study at this time.