Contemporary Literacy in Contemporary Kids

Changing student-teacher interaction

The internet and social media were created for us to easily connect.  Mobile devices allow us to connect quickly to people and information like never before.  The result has left our minds constantly having to react to all the streaming live data and observe and interpret it as quickly as the next data stream comes.  So, in this era that is dominated by constant information and a new way to be social, wouldn’t it naturally make sense that I as a teacher in a Danish school would change the way I interact with my students?  They are, after all, at the centre of this cultural shift. So how do I build an engaging environment for today’s students?

My colleagues and I are now both motivated but also obliged to teach in a way that is innovative and allows the student to think independently. Our students should be able to respond to the data introduced to them as quickly and responsively as their short attention span allows.

The technology-enabled classroom offers access to information, but it also offers many more distractions. Games on devices, text messaging, email and websites all compete for students’ attention, taking that attention away from the subject on which they are supposed to be focusing. The technology can also lead to dangerous situations as students can be exposed to inappropriate online materials or predators in online places such as chat rooms. So what do we do?

There are many predictions about where education will be in the future. We may not know for sure quite yet, but one thing is guaranteed, technology in the classroom will be a part of it.

By Lene Dall Berthelsen