3 paradigm shifts to consider when teaching todays students

With the start of the new school year underway, here are 3 concepts to bear in mind when teaching the students of today that we learned from the eLearning 2.0 conference - "The Paradigm Shift: Refocusing on the Student".

Be a good shepherd of your ‘digital natives’

For many children today browsing the web is second nature so they have a natural instinct to look for knowledge online too.This is not always a good thing however as teachers know how to search for content better than their students and they also tend to do so more critically. While independent learning is to be encouraged, teachers need to maintain their responsibility to guide their students through the content surrounding subjects and promote discernment.

A ‘digital native’ is not always a happy native

While using digital technology tools in education is now an everyday occurrence, there is almost always a quarter of students who do not react well to technology. This is the ‘Heeter quarter’ (named after Carrie Heeter) and is populated by students that do not feel ‘embodied’ when exposed to the digital world. These students not only feel they do not benefit from virtual approaches, they actually challenge its authenticity as a valid way of learning. This makes varied teaching approaches absolutely crucial to ensuring every student benefits.

Don’t underestimate the power of play

Though online games are not usually seen as useful teaching tools, there have been many examples of how online games can help primary and secondary school students learn important skills such as coding, designing, building, writing and collaboration. A considered use of games can support student-centred learning and enable students to discover aspects of the subjects they are interested in. Games also enable students to try out new ideas and generate new information and knowledge. It is perhaps time to rethink this area of pedagogy and see if learning can be more fun after all.