Adventure Specialists' Advice

November 4, 2016

Five Education Strategies to Reach the "Touchscreen" Generation


Just when you thought you understood the "Touch Screen Generation" today, they get even younger on you.

In a recent publication of the Journal, Pediatrics, researchers found "almost universal exposure" to tablets and the use of smart phones (mobile devices) among young children as young as one year old. That's right: one year old. A 2015 surveyshowed "nearly 97 percent of parents said their children used mobile devices of some sort." It's a new day:

  • At age 4, three-fourths of kids had complete access to a mobile device.
  • About half of kids multi-tasked on more than one screen at a time.
  • 20% of one-year-olds own a tablet computer.
  • 28% of parents use the device to put their kids to bed.
It's a Cross Cultural Relationship

More and more, educators are comparing their relationship with students to a cross-cultural relationship. It's like talking to someone from another country. While we have come to appreciate technology, our students have grown up with it, and put it in the same category as "air and water" according to the Pew Research Center. In the Land of Tomorrow, we are the immigrants and they're the natives.

So, how do we reach them?

I believe we must borrow a page from the playbook of cross-cultural ambassadors. In order to effectively communicate with people in different cultures, they employ their customs and language. Let me offer some simple ideas you can use to engage these digital natives in your school.

1. Engage them with a problem.

Kids currently digest more than 1,000 messages a day. We have the best chance of getting through to them if we start with a real-life problem that needs to be solved. Like a video game, students love focusing on reacting to a dilemma and being the hero.

2. Employ a mobile device.

This is their native language. Find an app (like Poll Everywhere or Plickers) or use a screen where you can employ a YouTube video to enhance your lesson plan. Make their device a tool to employ—not a trap to avoid. They're screenagers.

3. Enable ownership with interaction.

I learned long ago that students support what they help create. If I do most of the talking, I do most of the metacognition. Once I spark conversations with well-crafted questions, I can grab their hearts like a video game. It's messier, but more effective.

4. Enhance learning through an image.

Today's students leverage images more than words. They now use Instagram over Facebook. Emoji's fill their texts. Snapchat is their ever-updating story. Why not anchor your big idea with an image (metaphor) that can become language for your class? Images are the language of the 21st century.

5. Empower them with an experience.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an experience is worth a hundred images. Why not allow the image and conversation to lead to a first-hand experience, to drive home their learning. Be sure to evaluate it during or outside of class.

Gutenberg has given way to Google. Are you ready?

Tim Elmore is the president and founder of Growing Leaders. @GrowingLeaders@TimElmore

Class Newsletters

Teachers, this is something I should have mentioned at the divisional meeting on Tuesday. Each semester, teachers are asked to write a newsletter and e-mail it to the parents of each class you teach. It's great if you can include some photos of students actively engaged in learning. Please send me a copy of each newsletter you send out. Many of you have already done these, which is great! If you have any questions, please talk to me about it. I can share some samples of great newsletters if you're interested.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQLIm_iwEZM

Sir John Jones, keynote speaker at EARCOS leadership conference

Important Dates

Nov. 7: No School; Curriculum Work Day

Nov. 11: Remembrance Day Assembly (X block)

Nov. 15: Combined Staff, 4:00, Chapel

Nov. 17: MS Giving Day (for Legacy Campaign)

Nov. 18: PTO Family Fun Day, 4-6

Nov. 23-26: ICEC in HK

Nov. 24-25: No School - American Thanksgiving

Nov. 28-Dec. 2: MS Science MAP testing

Nov. 29: Divisional Meeting - Awards Decisions

Color Your World Part 2

As I’ve continued to grow as a teacher, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference in the classroom. A few small elements can greatly enhance or detract from what I’m teaching, so I try to pay attention to those things. When it comes to using color, this is one of those small things that goes a long way in reinforcing learning. “Color can improve learning from 55 percent to 78 percent as well as comprehension by as much as 73 percent.” Here are some simple ideas for incorporating color in the classroom:

1. Color Coding: Work with your students to create a color coding system appropriate for what you’re studying. Things that they might want to highlight in different colors include:

-I want to remember this

-I don’t understand this

-This is one of the main ideas

-Key vocabulary word

-I thought this was an interesting idea

-These are the steps for solving this problem

2. Mind Mapping: This simple way of organizing any kind of information has a wealth of research to support its value. For summarizing, the main idea/concept goes in the middle of the map. Students then use different colors to illustrate each sub-point. If you want to take this into higher thinking, mind mapping can also be useful for cause and effect, comparing and contrasting, and analyzing aspects of any issue. Creating a simple map can take 5 minutes or less (depending on the level thinking involved).

3. Illustrating: I am by no means a talented illustrator, but I’ve found that the simple task of sketching things makes me think about them in a different way. Asking students to sketch a simple image that represents or is metaphorical for each step in a process or a key term/concept will help them to retain the information. To go into higher level thinking, asking students to create images to illustrate cause and effect, compare and contrast, or pro’s and con’s can help them to analyze and evaluate. (One warning: The talented student artists can find this task frustrating if they’re not given enough time to create their imagined masterpieces, so be sure to set this activity up by asking all students to use more basic shapes and techniques and warning that time is limited.)

Susan Allen

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