Monday, August 24, 2009

Teaching the Digital Student

Great interview with S. Craig Watkins, an associate professor of radio, TV, and film at the University of Texas at Austin. In the interview, Professor Watkins discusses social media and social networking, and the implications for students and the classroom. I touched on similar ideas in Teaching and Learning - The Digital Student. In the two questions I've excerpted below, Watkins shares some great insights regarding todays' students. Can't wait for the book!

How Students, Professors, and Colleges Are, and Should Be, Using Social Media
His soon-to-be-published book, The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future, touches on those ideas.

Q. How has technology made today’s students different from students a decade ago?
They’re really the first generation of teenagers who grew up with the household computer and the Internet as a kind of everyday experience and everyday technology in the household. So they’re used to a much more active way of engaging their environment, a much more active way of gauging the information landscape. Have they developed a set of skills? Have they developed habits that are simply out of step with those more traditional ways of conducting or modeling a classroom? I think they have.

Q. How has today’s student changed how professors prepare their classes?
It’s really forcing university professors to think about their teaching style and the pedagogical techniques that they use in the classroom. In other words, I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with simply delivering a traditional lecture in the classroom. I’m beginning to debate whether or not it’s effective, whether or not it works, whether or not it’s a useful tool or a useful way to engage and create a kind of learning space or a learning environment. They’re active learners, as opposed to passive learners. That one-way flow of content -- I don’t know how effective that is anymore.

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