COLTT Presentation

“The” Generation Gap
Approaching Technology in a Multigenerational Classroom
Schedule . . .
▪ Current Classrooms
▪ Problems across the different generations
▪ Discussion
▪ Some possible approaches
▪ Questions
The future of the classroom . . .
▪ How many of you have “technology” or “multimodal” assignment on your
▪ How many use your university or college’s online portal or platform? (D2L,
Blackboard, etc.)
▪ How many of you teach hybrid or online classes?
▪ Most institutions are is encouraging, and often requiring, the use of technology
in the classroom, from requiring grade posting on the school’s online platform to
fully integrated smart classrooms.
– Technology in the classroom Classes (for teachers)
– Almost all writing classes require some type of assignment that involves technology or the
creation of a multimodal composition
– Research is almost exclusively done online
– Instructors utilize technology such as presentation software or smart classrooms for
– Digital content and texts
Terminology . . .
▪ Designers – creators of multifaceted compositions (images,
text, multimodal)
▪ Netizens/Digital Natives –
generation raised on
▪ ICT – information
communications and
▪ Technoliteracy – just like it
Average age of some Colorado
institutions . . .
Median Student Age @ Colorado Schools
CU Denver
MSU Denver
The reaction . . .
▪ “For students with limited of no ICT
background, completing an assignment
using a word processing, spreadsheet or
presentation software program may
eclipse their subject-specific knowledge
and skills” (Tannis 3).
▪ Commonly heard from these nontechnological students:
“I haven’t been in school for 10/20/30 years . . .”
“I just don’t understand these programs.”
“Computers just don’t work for me.”
“This stuff is beyond me.”
▪ “It’s an emotional drain. It isn’t that I
haven’t got the ideas, but the technology
was beating me” (Tannis 2).
What this means for the older
generations . . .
▪ “Most of us over the age of 30 view computers as tools by which we
engage in discussion, do research, write notes and lectures and the
like” (Moody and Bobic 176).
▪ Out of their element:
– Obstacles before the classroom (registration, Assessment testing, online
portals, etc.)
– Returning to school after years/Low Self-esteem
– Different generation with different expectations and priorities
– Socialization moved online
– Disconnect with other students and faculty
– Access
– Inventing not only the university, but technological identity as well
The Net Generation isn’t exempt . . .
“Perhaps the most important point of
the sociofact of technology is that
students do not understand the
process of adding to knowledge: theirs
is a world of information streaming
past them at the speed of light . . .
[o]ne does not create new knowledge;
one manipulates information. In this
digital stream, everyone can be an
expert on any topic with only a few
clicks on relevant Web pages” (Moody
and Bobic 177-8).
What it means for them . . .
▪ Paradoxically, the net generation’s knowledge and immersion in
technology often makes them ill-prepared for the classroom as well.
▪ Common problems:
– Disconnect between instructor’s (often a non-netizen) expectations and student’s
– Misguided research skills
– Confusion about critical thinking
– Tendency to regurgitate information
– Misunderstanding of argument
– Revision
– Informality
– Dual identity
– Disproportionate knowledge of different technologies
▪ “[F]itting in academically requires students to write differently online than
they do offline. Two discourses are needed to meet the literacy demands of
contemporary academe” (Relles and Tierney 484)
Faculty and Classroom obstacles . . .
▪ Time:
– How much does the instructor want to dedicate to teaching technology instead of planned
curriculum (in or out of the classroom)?
– How much time do you have to learn it? (pressure on the instructor for “expert” knowledge)
▪ Other Students:
– Disproportionate learning/knowledge
– Different levels of expertise
▪ Support from school:
– Students are often bounced from resource to resource because no one is sure who handles
that technology
– Often staffed by those not completely confident about the technology or patient enough to
– Can’t put themselves in the student’s shoes
– Variety of different software programs
Small Group Discussion . . .
▪ Take a few minutes to discuss how you approach common
multigenerational technology issues found in the classrooms with those
around you.
▪ Some examples:
Problems with formatting documents
Inability to access the online platform
Can’t read digital texts
Don’t understand a specific software or assignment
Want an alternative, non-technological, option
Doesn’t know the “rules” for certain formats (i.e. Blogs)
Can’t figure out how to participate in online discussions
Can’t separate their “social“ identity from their educational one
Text speech
Misuse of technology in class
Different levels of expertise re: technology
▪ How do you solve these problems?
What are some of the
solutions your group
Good teaching is dependent on collaboration!
Solutions . . .
▪ Student groups
▪ In-class training/modeling
▪ Sample formats
▪ Discussions on technology itself
▪ Background biography
▪ Genre expectations
▪ Delineation between different technologies and their place in the
▪ Spend time on the obvious (D2L or the university website)
▪ Understanding the school’s resources
Works Cited . . .
Esurance. “Beatrice Offline Over-Sharer.” YouTube. 2014. Web. 27 July 2014.
Moody, Ruth and Michael Bobic. “Teaching the Net Generation without Leaving the Rest of Us Behind: How
Technology in the Classroom Influences Student Composition.” Politics & Policy 39.2 (2011):169-194. JSTOR.
Web. 27 July 2014.
Relles, Stefani and William G. Tierney. “Understanding the Writing Habits of Tomorrow’s Students: Technology
and College Readiness.” The Journal of Higher Education 84.4 (2013): 477-505. JSTOR. Web. 27 July 2014.
Tannis, Derek. “Lost in the Lifeworld: Technology Help Seeking and Giving on Diverse, Post-Secondary
Campuses.” Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology 39 .2 (2013): 1-17. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26
July 2014.
School websites:
University of Northern Colorado
UC Denver
MSU Denver
Colorado Mountain College
Arapahoe Community College
Red Rocks Community College
Community College of Denver

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