How about those very same babies’ expectations from the various elements of their environments … before they can walk? (Do you see how unsatisfied the cutie on the picture above looks? What a limited capacity of gadgets does the poor thing have at his/her service?)
Homemade purees? Gerber cans? Forget it!An iPad will do very nicely, thank you…
Now this cutie demonstrates what I would call full attention! Won’t you agree?
Here is a dilemma too close to my heart, and it has everything to do with these adorable images, or better, what they represent: traditional methods face a big likelihood to fail – when it comes to teaching, regardless of the age of the learners. I, for one, have been a teacher longer than I have been a mother (one of the absolutely most fortunate ones, at that!) I am still teaching. College age “babies” (at the speed I seem to be aging, this attribute is no exaggeration), to be precise. As we all know, today’s higher education generation owns an array of electronic gadgets. (They probably were using some or all of those right after birth…or at least before they identified the letter “A” on their child-safe building blocks that their poor parents had gotten them, only to return to get their money back. I don’t believe it would be an exaggeration, if I were to claim that we can’t only talk about a mere exposure, as today’s babies (age bracket fully flexible…) could easily help many of us out when it comes to the use of all these gadgets and “applications”… I am not at all talking about application of knowledge, of language, linguistics, or any other college-level study subject-related process. iPhones! Yes. iPhones! They are becoming the teacher’s biggest rival, to express my opinion. There is no way any of us – even when properly trained, effective, efficient, innovative, fast… – can possibly keep up with the speed at which those tiny inventions provide our students with: instant (and I mean more instant than any instant food choice) information. And: on practically everything.
There are several more years until I can qualify for retirement from the university. So: I am not going anywhere. My students, however, are moving fast toward somewhere – with their “Apps”. While I was proud of myself having heard the term long before I held an iPhone in my hand (thanks to my daughter and son-in-law, now I have one I can really use without losing my mind over its offerings), my students had been using them for a large variety of searches (scholarly) in the most sophisticated way (with my permission, of course).
My problem is related to the fact that I love my students! I love teaching! And I want for them to only admire me – after several decades long of commitment and dedication to teaching! My knowledge, my teaching styles, methodologies, culture-specific insights, to be exact. Picture this scenario, please: We are in a German composition class when a student happens to trust me in the asking of a specific phrase, or the meaning of an adage for the German culture. Bear in mind, if you will, please, that this particular sweet soul asked me – instead of pressing on one of those magical buttons for a jet-speed answer on his/her iPhone that happens to be lying next to his laptop that happens to serve as a tray for the time being under his/her iPad. Before that student’s voice travels in to my ear, the answer is found. By one of those Apps.
Do I need to say more?
I miss those admiring eyes I used to receive from my students whenever I gave them a piece of information they hadn’t ever heard before. Or, couldn’t find at their fingertips. Literally, information is at their fingertips…and they can, do and will rely on them. Their electronic teachers, that is. The privileged ones to get most of my (!) students’ awed attention.
I wish I were an App.! If only I were an App.! If I were an App., … If I had been an App., …
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Do you have a similar story? Remember it doesn’t have to confine itself to a classroom setting. We all probably have a very young person in our lives who ever so easily can handle one of the electronic wonders of our era by the time we (those of us who are a bit older than 1) can spell a new App. I would love to hear from you! In the meantime, much success to you in keeping up with your children, grand children, nephews, nieces who may be throwing a look at your direction the way my beautiful daughter always does when she sees me texting…