Students continue to change… I’m doing a lot of thinking, about how I can adjusting my teaching strategies, so that I can still rely on my own strengths but also make use of the things my incoming students are really good at (not just what they say they want, and not just what they can eventually manage to do with a lot of exhausting and stressful cajoling from me).
Where one skill is lost, another may be gained. If children are less likely to dig deep and find out the rationale behind something, or to memorize it, says pediatrician Michael Rich, executive director of Harvard’s Centre of Media and Child Health, it’s because “their brains are rewarded not for staying on task, but for jumping to the next thing”—a useful ability in the digital era. Tapscott sees the term “multi-tasking” as an old-fogey misnomer: “What we’re actually watching is adaptive reflexes—faster switching and more active working memories,” he says.
McCrindle speaks of non-natives having to adapt to the new “post-linear” digital reality, meaning events no longer follow a traditional chronology. “People watch things when they want to watch them; learning takes place anywhere, anytime.” We’re looking at the world through glass—tablets, Google Glass—designed for images, not words, McCrindle says. This is also a “post-logical” world that emphasizes emotional reaction: “Social media is more right-brain, not left-brain,” a fact to which anyone who spends time on Twitter can attest.