Meeting the Needs of Today’s Generation of Online Learners with Mobile Learning Technology.
This article appears to have been written about ten years ago, but surprising has some very forward thinking, much of which has come to fruition. Written by three colleagues from Athabasca University, the article focuses on the need to meet the expectations of the younger generation who have grown up with mobile devices.
Athabasca University in Alberta, founded in 1970 is a pioneer in the distance education movement and was the first Canadian university to specialize in this type of learning.
In the article Richard Sweeney, a university librarian is quoted as saying,” higher education was built for us under an industrial-age model.” The us he is referring to are baby boomers and previous generations. I have to agree. If you are over the age of fifty, or perhaps even a little younger and rural, you most likely were taught by textbook with a teacher at the front of the room, making notes for you to copy down, from a blackboard.
Not so today. An “arsenal of electronic devices”, as stated in the article is now the norm. I think this was very evident in our ED366 class. Cellphones, tablets, laptops, as well as the desktops computers all came into play during the seven days. I know I used all three. The beauty of today’s updated technology, unlike the struggles the article refers to, is the ability to cross platforms, to be able to start aproject on one device, and then open it up and continue on another. The Apple Corporation has been a leader in this regard, but others are quickly catching up, such as Google.
I don’t know if you all took note that most of the desktop programs we used to work on our presentations, had a corresponding app. As we try to educate a new generation of learners who have a phone permanently attached to their hands, this must become the new normal. This is part of what is referred to in the article as “multiple media literacy.” It is not enough for students to do the job you are training them for, you must also be able to teach them the technology required to get it done as well. Because there are very few professions anymore that technology has not touched in some way. Even the cashier at the dollar store needs to know how to operate a computerized register.
Today’s teachers now have to become the students. And there may be come catching up to do. Would my fellow classmates agree with that?