How to teach the smartest generation

I was pre-disposed to enjoy Don Tapscott’s ASCD session on the net generation and I wont detail it too much as I’ve blogged here before about his writing and his books, including the latest, Grown Up Digital.

Some good quotes to take away though were:

‘Some universities aren’t post-Gutenberg, they’re pre-Gutenberg’

‘The internet is not a problem; it is a learning opportunity’

The Conference Daily, a daily newspaper of the conference (yes, this conference is that big) reported Tapscott this way:

‘We are creating a generation that is thinking differently from every other generation before. These students are not just multi-tasking, they have better abilities to code-switch. They are constantly searching, story-telling, collaborating, developing and authenticating.’

He urged educators to disable the ‘generational firewalls’ that they had erected between them and their students and embrace a culture of collaboration, integration and self-organization. Banning social media such as ‘Facebook’s says, ‘We don’t understand your tools. We don’t trust you’.

Grown up Digital

After I railed angrily about the media (esp. the AGE) depiction and stereotyping of young people as brain-dead internet zombies late last year here, I was delighted to hear the other side of the story coming from Don Tapscott, who wrote Growing Up Digital among other things.

In a conversation on Net at Nite he talks about his new book, Grown Up Digital, and argues that, rather than the dumbed down and selfish generation, the internet kids are generally smarter, more connected and with a stronger social conscience. The problem is that too many of us adults don’t get it. Tapscott argues that everything’s gonna change, and that means pedagogy too. It makes good listening and I’ll definitely be on the school library doorstep when it opens next week organising a couple of copies for teacher reference.

Meanwhile, you can grab the mp3 and hear the conversation here:  netatnite