Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"GEN Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future" + Holding Your Own Learning Conversation!

At the invitation of Adobe, I had a great set of experiences at Educause 2016, but the highlight (by far) was talking to Tacy Trowbridge, head of Adobe's Global Education Programs.

Adobe had just released their fascinating and candid report, “Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future.” I had both the chance to attend a panel discussion Tacy led and to sit down for a one-to-one interview with her.

I'd like to suggest that you might find that the recordings below, as well as the materials on Adobe's Gen Z in the Classroom website, could form the basis of a great conversation in your education community. Their site includes this link to their study infographic, which might be a really good way to start the dialog. You could take each of their study questions and ask the following questions of those you are able to get together (teachers, students, administrators, parents, and/or community members):
  • Do you agree with the survey responses?
  • How might this impact our own learning organization or activities?
  • Are there other questions we need to be asking?
I've added more constructive questions you might use at the end. First, here's my interview with Tacy, and some notes.

INTERVIEW NOTES (with time marks)

00:25 I un-scroll the infographic.. and it's taller as Tacy!
00:40 The intersection of creativity and technology, and what that means for the future of education. State of creativity; the barriers for teachers; interviewed hiring managers.
01:05 Students being tech savvy - the ability to learn and think and use technology.
01:20 Creativity - student being creative problem solvers.
01:40 This study started with talking to students, interviewed 1,000 in an online survey; then asked their teachers.
02:20 Two questions: are you ready for Gen Z, and are you preparing them for when they leave?
02:55 It's really about teaching them how to learn, how to adapt to change, how to make sense of the world around them. Habits of mind rather than specific knowledge.
03:45 Creativity as a "shared space" of interest between students and teachers.
04:00 Students and teachers shared a belief in the importance of technology. Also, learning by creating and doing.
04:45 The gap between what students and teachers both want and what's happening in the classroom.
05:30 The sense of both nervousness and excitement about the future for students.
06:00 The importance of activities outside of school.
06:30 The ubiquitous access to smartphones.
06:55 Students want experiences that are relevant.
07:30 Finding the right use of technology for creating and solving problems.
08:15 Other forms of literacy at the nexus of physical and digital worlds.
09:00 What are your favorite classes, where you can be creative, and which prepare you for the future?
10:15 Where does creativity flourish? How do you encourage it?
11:30 The magnification of the human through technology.
12:30 Creating meaning, both online and in person.
13:30 Education as a process of self-discovery.
13:55 What is the call to action? More hands-on learning, more real-world experiences; opportunities to understand themselves as creative beings; think about the best ways to engage around technology.
14:45 The disconnect between the ways we're teaching in the classroom and the possibilities of technology.
15:15 We need to address how do students demonstrate skill and knowledge. Ways portfolios and transcripts are changing. Opportunities to do this in ways that are much more complex.
16:20 How do we see students leading that? Help to envision the way we create our identities online.

To add to the richness of that discussion, here is the recording of the panel Tacy led, called "What Do Today's Students Really Need to Succeed in the Future?":

And here are more constructive questions I've thought of that you might bring to a community discussion of learning:

  • Do students feel that they are learning about learning in your community?
  • To what degree do teachers and students feel that they are "agents" in the learning process, and not passive recipients?
  • What have been the most significant learning experiences in your own life, and what were the conditions that led to those experiences? How much of a focus on those conditions is there in your organization?
  • How much of learning relates to individual human interactions? Can those be quantified? How can they be supported?
  • If you could "reinvent" school, how would it be different?
  • What kinds of differences are there in access to technology by students and teachers, and how does that impact the learning?
  • Do you have a core philosophy of learning that we use to measure technology efforts and purchases?
  • How are creativity and critical thinking related?
  • How comfortable are critical and independent thinking in your learning community?
  • How effective are the methods of assessment in your community?
  • Are there differences in individual temperament, learning styles, and interests? How much of a role should these play in the learning process and planning?
  • What classes or coursework provide the most opportunity for creativity and engagement?
  • What percentage of your students feel confident of their learning skills and ability to self-direct?
I hope you enjoy this material as much as I have, and that you find it valuable in your own conversations.

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