It all started with John Naughton’s provocative comments at our recent teaching conference. It got me thinking about ways to break out of the dullness and linearity of PowerPoint lectures, resulting in this reflection published on the university website today. It also sent me back to Marc Presky’s Digital Natives Digital Immigrants article from 2001.
Here’s what Prensky writes about Generation Y students and the problem of reflection:
One key area that appears to have been affected [by the "reprogramming" of the brains of Digital Natives] is reflection. Reflection is what enables us, according to many theorists, to generalize as we create "mental models" from our experience. It is, in many ways, the process of "learning from experience". In our twitch-speed world, there is less and less time and opportunity for reflection, and this development concerns many people. One of the most interesting challenges and opportunities in teaching Digital Natives is to figure out and invent ways to include reflection and critical thinking in the learning (either built into the instruction or through a process of instructor-led debriefing) but still to do it in the Digital Native language. We can and must do more in this area.
Prensky was writing in 2001 so he might not have fully considered blogging as a reflective educational tool. Now that Facebook and Twitter are better suited to our ‘twitch-speed world’, I predict that blogs will re-emerge as a more considered and reflective medium. It’s already happening.