I attended the MECA (Mississippi Educational Computing Association) conference in Jackson, Mississippi this week with it being my first time attending this conference. I truly enjoyed seeing many of my colleagues as well as some of my professors and it proved to be a great time to network with other teachers and share ideas. I went to a presentation called Promoting the Scholarship of Teaching by Forming Connections and during the presentation the presenters showed a video entitled A Vision of K-12 Students Today (see video below).
The video indicated that children in K-12 want to learn using technology and the traditional way of teaching is no longer effective. The problem as indicated in the video is that K-12 teachers are not embracing technology as a tool to teach. Teachers are not using blogs, wikis, podcasting, etc. to teach these children who need to be technologically literate when they go out into the real world or when they go on to higher education.
My observation is that the students coming out of high school are not technologically literate. I taught Introduction to Computers for two years at East Carolina University. When I started I thought the course was probably a waste of time and resources as the students certainly know these things. I was shocked to find that their technical knowledge was limited to texting, email and Facebook. Very few students had much understanding beyond these few applications. I have now been teaching at The University of Southern Mississippi for two semesters and have found the level of technology skills exhibited by the students to be the same as at East Carolina. In the real world of business they are going to be expected to know and use technology as business has long been leveraging technology as a way to increase their competitive advantage through lowering costs and increasing creativity and innovation. How ready are these students? I agree with the video that learning styles need adapt to the new technology and it needs to happen in K-12. By the time we get them in higher education we could be teaching them so much more rather than getting them up to speed with current technology.