I found this really great post from a blog called The Faculty Lounge. In it’s blogger Jim Gardner sheds light on something I hadn’t really thought of before.
One of the main reasons I started this blog was because in my 11 years of teaching college I noticed that the students were changing and I felt my teaching was becoming less effective over time. I am on a journey to understand this problem. This blog post by Jim Gardner caused somethings to click.
Have you ever noticed that children who are shy around others seem to come alive when they are involved in something on the computer? Kids who are considered nerds can be leaders of entire communities of gamers online. When you go to a store, do you notice how many children are either involved in a portable video game, or texting their friends?
We are raising a whole generation of children in an atmosphere of pervasive communications. It is unrealistic to assume it will have no effect on them. It seems that their face to face social skills are atrophying or never being developed at all. This will then seriously impact a campus classroom. The whole modality of face to face learning will become more and more foreign to them and less and less desired. So if this is become the case, will students still want teachers? By this I mean will they want to have a person act as a distribution mechanism for information? I don’t think they will and as a result, it will drive these students to online learning.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!
- The Faculty Lounge: Self-Service Education
Brilliant thoughts about how students are changing.
I’d like to draw on that experience again to suggest another change in what we’re seeing from our students: the drift toward a pronounced student preference for what I will call “self-service education.”
I’ll explain what I mean shortly, but for context, think about this for a moment.
The elimination of gas station attendants and bank tellers was received at the time as crass profit-mongering at the expense of consumers. Service people were understood to provide value – courtesy, information, experience, expertise, judgment.
Today, things are far different. The capacity to acquire information, shop, travel, and do almost anything without human intermediation is conceived as a right, or at least a new baseline norm. Insistence upon the necessity of human interaction as a condition for completing a transaction is now the deviation requiring justification.
In this environment, is it any wonder that our students arrive expecting to serve themselves, or that they resent the insistence by faculty and administrators that a legal education be acquired through the intermediating offices of actual humans?
But I also worry that many of our students not only would prefer to acquire as much of their legal education as possible without human interaction, but that many of them are flummoxed by in-person contact with other humans, especially ones they don’t know well. Our director of university counseling services told me a striking story about an increasingly common kind of problem in the dorms (mainly among undergraduates, so far). Two roommates get into a dispute. They are unable to resolve it face to face; indeed, the dispute only becomes more acute as resolution eludes them. Each storms into his own bedroom. An exchange of texts or IMs ensues. They emerge with resolution. Nothing more is said about the incident in person, ever.