Ian Jukes’ Presentation Notes: The 21st Century Learner Today

Ian Jukes’ Presentation
ISTE 2010, Denver, Co.

In an effort to help myself process and remember more for a presentation, I wanted to take notes of this presentation. I was surprised at my ability to keep up. Hopefully I don’t have huge gaps in my notes, but I think I did an acceptable job. As I look back at these notes, I’m reminded of Ian’s message. Ah, another benefit of blogging. Anything in italicized would be my thoughts. Everything else would be notes I took while listening to his presentation. Of course, this doesn’t replace listening to him in person. It’s more for my benefit. Hopefully the italicized commentary isn’t too annoying.

Today, Ian Jukes is talking about how our brains are wired differently than the brains of our students. Understanding this will better help us as teachers understand why our kids can’t learn how we were taught. Even in the past ten years I’ve been teaching, I’ve seen a huge change in my students. I feel unprepared most of the time. Hopefully Jukes will help me out.

Students today don’t even read the way we learned. They read/skim the bottom, then the edges. It’s called the F pattern. Researchers tracked the eye movement of students reading. Digital readers read in an F mattern. They ignore the right bottom side. This is to be compared to how we surf the internet.

What does this hold for us?

We need to design pages/reading material that adapts to them.

So when I design my moodle pages or blogging prompts I need to keep this in mind. If I end up creating a worksheet, this is also food for thought. As an English teacher I’m still left with the question, “Well then how in the heck do I help them read a book?” Last time I checked, books aren’t written in the F pattern.

Students come to school and hit a wall. They’re slowed down here, at school. Their brains shut down.

I consider myself a wired person. I am unusual for my age, but not as wired as my students by any means. I know this — I would fall asleep if I had to attend the same classes my students do. I’m honestly not ripping on my co-workers or myself; it’s just that when I don’t multi-task or keep moving, I get tired. My brain goes into a lull…and I zone out. Frequent change and engagement is my key for overcoming this.

The world has changed. We need to get over it.

  1. Digital learners prefer receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources. Many educators prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources.
  2. Digital learners prefer parallel processing and multi-tasking. Many educators prefer linear processing and single or limited processing. We need to help our students learn to focus for extended period of time, yet we need to allow for multi-tasking. We can’t deny that reality. Many educators continue to run their classroom as if it were a single linear processing room.
  3. Digital learners prefer processing pics , sounds, color, and video before text. Many educators prefer to provide text before pics, sound, color, and video. If we present material w/images, we retain 90% of  the thousands of images 72 hours later. If we only used oral, we’d remember 10% of the material. If images are added, 65% of the material is remembered. Students need images and video to communicate the messages intended.
  4. Digital learners prefer random access to hyper linked multimedia info. Many educators prefer to provide info linearly, logically, and sequentially. That’s what we experienced growing up. This generation has extensive experience using hypertext. Students that are forced to follow a linear pattern of learning will probably become bored. I wonder if this is when bad behavior occurs. Students today are learning to construct their learning. Both sets of skills are important!
  5. Digital learners prefer to network simultaneously. Many educators prefer students to work independently before they network and interact. Look at all the web 2.0 tools out there now today. I look at my daughter – web 2.0 has been around since she’s been born. She will grow up having that type of technology. She will live in a hyper-existance. She will be able to use multiple tools seamlessly.
  6. Digital learners prefer to learn “just in time”. Many educators prefer to teach “just in case.” Today students need to prepare for multiple jobs. Keeping the same job is unlikely. Companies aren’t loyal. Students need to learn to be flexible. Our students will have 10-17 careers by the time they’re 35 years old. Ugh! Many of the jobs my daughter might explore as an adult, haven’t been invented yet. How should her school prepare her for that?! We often lecture students that they better learn this “just in case” you need it. It’s not that type of learning is bad, but our students often want to learn something just in time, right when they need it. Just in time learning is a completely different learn set. Major question – whose world are we preparing them for? NOT ours.
  7. Dig learners not only prefer, but are look for instant gratification and instant rewards. Many educators learn deferred gratification and delayed rewards. Social networking, games, cell phones, etc will allow them instant feedback and rewards. The payoff is very clear. Yet when we teach we tell students that the pay off is years down the road and not entirely guaranteed.

There are several fluencies Jukes feels we need to address with our students. These are notes written for myself. For more information on the 21st Century Fluencies click here.

Solution Fluency

  1. Define the task.
  2. Discover. Turn your attention to the past and ask yourself how we got into this mess. What is the historical context. Could I do that differently again now?
  3. Dream. We begin to imagine a creative solution.
  4. Design. We create a roadmap for our project.
  5. Deliver. We take that information and share it with others or create a type of product for others. It’s not enough to design the presentation. We have to give it.
  6. Debrief. We need to go back and think about the product. How could we have made this process/product better

This can give a teacher a road map for designing problem based lessons. Often, I have found myself wanting to spoon feed students answers or set the project up so students are promised an easy ride or sure success. By accepting the possibilities of a problem based lesson, I will be able to really enjoy watching students go through a process.

This should be a structured process we teach students. It should be hanging up in the classroom and taught specifically as a skill to solve their own problems.

Information Fluency

With in 1 minute, there are 24 hours of Youtube videos uploaded. Ugh.

  1. Ask questions.
  2. Access and acquire, even if it’s the wrong information.
  3. Analyze and Authenticate. Students need to take that information and decide if it’s legit and useful
  4. Apply
  5. Assess

Many of today’s students seem to skip step #3. I’ve had so many students say, “Well, I googled it.”

Creative Fluency – Basically this means that students need to construct meaning through design, art and storytelling. This allows students to use their imagination. Daniel Pink has talked about the need for creativity in today’s economy.

When I was a kid, I excelled in this area. In English class I loved writing stories. In history I loved inventing names of people that lived during a time period or drawing a scene from some era. In math though I struggled. To me, nothing was inventive and there was only one right answer. I was so bored and depressed when I couldn’t reach the answer the same as my classmates. Instead I’d retreat into my own world and doodle in the margins. In my 30’s, I still feel the same way about math.

Media Fluency

  1. As we watch media, we need to be able to decode a message and judge how well they’re saying it
  2. We also need to determine what the best media vehicle would be to deliver a message
  3. We need to help students use their digital tools

This is humorous because students today are able to use their digital tools better than many of their teachers. I guess we need to help them use their tools to understand the world.

Collaboration Fluency

  1. Students need to work together on projects. Even consider mixing groups not in the same class. With today’s tools we do not have do collaborative grouping within the same hours.

The kids are asking the why. The teachers don’t give good reasons. It’s not that these kids are ADHD. They are “OTHER” abled. Many educators just don’t get it. They’re not willing to acknolwedge that the world has changed. The digital generation has just rocked our world. We have made buildings for a student that isn’t walking through the door.

Woah. Those are powerful statements. I’ve been there myself as a teacher. Here are statements I’ve said: “I just don’t understand why Billy can’t do the assignments. It’s not like it’s a lot of work. Doesn’t getting the assignment done count for anything? Doesn’t it show a great work ethic?” Sure, I suppose it demonstrates an ability to conform. Maybe I should be weighting grades with a category devoted to “conformity.” The problem is that Billy doesn’t care about any of that. The world moves a whole lot faster than that and he needs to see the relationship between reading “Julius Caesar” and being an auto mechanic in two years. I suppose the problem is in making Billy read Caesar… ?

There is a place for traditional learning. We can’t deny the reality that traditional learning is probably in the minority now. If we want to actually engage students, we need to respect their world. We need to have a balance.

And this concludes the last of my notes from Jukes’ presentation. I left out oodles of information, but as I go back and read my notes I feel inspired to learn more. Now that I’m entering into a new teaching position this fall, I’m excited to see how I can implement true change. I will have a lot of questions to ask.

Read more http://www.committedsardine.com/.

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