The Graduate Manifesto of George Cassutto
Teaching the Net Generation
As we set out to develop our first world history modules, we came to understand that the students we were currently teaching in the traditional classroom were actually one of the first generations of learners growing up in the digital age. These students would be getting more of their information from on-line sources rather than from analog sources such as books, magazines, and newspapers (Tapscott, pg 139). This familiarity and comfort level with computer- and internet-based learning processes was having a transforming effect on secondary education. My own experience at North Hagerstown High was a testimony to the fact that education was slowly but surely acquiring the technologies that were already part of the students' on-line medium of communication.
|Teachers were coming to the ultimate realization
that learning was fun when it involved
interactive activities, and if such interaction was incorporated into electronic
methods of communication, students were even more receptive to it. Oddly, there
does not seem to be a body of evidence that states that such
interactive-electronic learning is more effective than traditional
classroom structures that did not involve computers (emphasis mine). Our own
experience in the Virtual High School workshop laboratory seemed to indicate
that the level of efficacy of a given on-line lesson actually relied on a human
component of the mentor
(Maeroff, pg. 104).
It is the mentor that would provide intellectual feedback on the curricular content of the course and assist in the self-regulation process for the secondary student, who may not have the sense of responsibility that an adult might bring to the same on-line learning experience. More on the role of the mentor below.
|The Internet generation has grown up learning how to use the technological tools related to the computer, but it is up to the mentor and classroom teacher to help them develop skills related to using the information to which they have access through the Internet. Teacher-mentors must provide guidance when students are conducting research because the Internet is a vast body of unorganized and sometimes distorting information. The mentor-teacher must be on guard to help the students with the following processes:||
The give-and-take of the teacher-mentor and the student resembles the process of mastery learning in that the mentor provides opportunities for the student to revise their final product. The information processing that the student experiences should follow a predictable pattern:
|esign||When students design their information product, they are arranging, classifying, and establishing patterns within the data they have harvested. Then students must convert their raw data into symbols that can be incorporated into their self-expression.|
|ncode||Students must choose a format for their final product and begin to engage in the creative process (see below). The process of encoding information involves retaining or discarding data that enhances the final expression. Students must also choose a medium through which their work will be communicated with the audience at large.|
|ssemble||The data must be put together in a presentable and coherent way that is consistent with the format and medium.|
|ublish||The process of publishing is underway when the student shares the work with the mentor. The mentor may also choose to share exemplary work with other students in the on-line classroom through email, the Web or chat.|
|evise||The mentor will assist the student in identifying areas where the work can be improved and revised. Usually, a rubric is made available that acts as a set of expectations for the on-line learner, and he or she can use the rubric in the development of the product. The mentor can also direct the student to the rubric to provide structured guidance as the student masters the skill and information. (Norton, 175-178)|
|Possible student work formats:
||Possible media for student expression:
These methods are the primary tools for the on-line learner and mentor, but they can be adapted to the traditional classroom as well. Technology has the flexibility to be used in an on-line setting, but it can also be used to enhance the brick-and-mortar classroom as well. The limit is based on the creativity of the teacher, time constraints in teaching the technology skills.
No Flash In The Pan