Best Colleges In Massachusetts To Become A Fashion Designer Should You Learn to "Twitch?"

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Should You Learn to "Twitch?"

Marc Prensky’s article, “Twitch Speed: Keeping up with Young Workers,” was an eye-opener for me as an educator, media producer, and parent. Presnsky wrote about how this “Twitch” generation processes information in parallel instead of linearly. As a mother of two “Twitchers” and a media instructor constantly searching for creative ways to reach and teach these tech-savvy students, bells started ringing.

As a teacher, when I dealt with the 30 and under age group, what I found distracting, they found stimulating. When I wanted to read, they would search. Currently as an online course designer and “face to face” instructor, the question is how to incorporate their active learning style into affective online, f2f or hybrid teaching?

From my exploration of various web 2.0 technologies, I believe these online tools can reach and engage this group. Social networking, blogging, UTube video links and podcasting, it doesn’t matter if the course is completely online or a hybrid, using technology for “twitch” generation learning is an excellent approach. The “Twitch” generation thrives on random access and “clicking around” at the speed of light while texting friends and listening to the latest downloads from their iTunes library. Since this constant motion gives me a headache, I guess my “twitch” dream may be unrealistic, but not my dream of empowering “twitchy” students to take control of their learning.

This brings me to the debate about which tools are best for reaching younger learners, regardless of their learning styles. Whether visual, verbal, auditory, tactile/kinesthetic, active/reflective, etc., etc., all “Twitchers” seem to need movement and engagement, but how much?

When my daughter, like the worker cited in Presky’s article, wants to know how to fix a computer problem, she takes to the Internet (sometimes before accessing the help button) to type and search for her problem. My generation says where’s the manual? “Twitchers” respond, “don’t know, but this website said…”

I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for course design. For those who enjoy technology and computers, the challenge becomes which tools to choose and why? And how do you bring the course to life while staying true to the content and connected to your students?

Through educational research and discussion, I have learned that my f2f classroom teaching style is that of an “expert” who embraces “constructivism.” I want to share what I know while encouraging my students to share and build on their current knowledge. As I modify this “Sage on the Stage” training, I now have to consider teaching alternatives that “Twitchers” would embrace.

Some of my thoughts are to expand the learning opportunities with discussion posts and related online resources. Upload course podcasts for review anytime, anywhere. Encourage active online research with hyperlinks and embedded videos. Foster student-to-student interactions through team assignments and online group or student-led activities. I would bring content experts into the classroom with Wimba chats and provide access to mentors through professional blogs. I wanted to post notifications about cell phone rates and…hey, are we “twitching” yet!?

That “twitch or not to twitch” is now combined in my mind with “to reach or not to reach.” This is the synthesis. What do you need to design to ensure that the content reaches and stays with your students? How do you ensure that technology is always executed in an exemplary manner while accommodating your students’ bandwidth needs and even disabilities? In this new online world, I know I may lose some of the “face to face” “high touch” I enjoy, but the “high tech” components, if thoughtfully designed, can effectively achieve most learning goals.

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