Monday, October 3, 2011

Speeding Tickets for Millennials ?

There's a paradigm shift occurring and communication is no longer B & W print. (See my blog on reading evolution.) Students are skimming and scanning at warp speed--sometimes successfully and other times in error.  They are listening, watching, gathering, consolidating messages, concluding, reading and reacting.  

I often believe that millennials are operating in an entertainment mode whenever they hold a digital device.  I content that they have spend so much time trying to beat electronic games, that their MO online has fostered this fast-paced transient operation online.  Therefore, we educators have a big issue to deal with as students lack:
  • Patience
  • Persistence, and
  • Focus
That is the profile of the transliterate generation. That is the educational issue of today.   While books such as iBrain, by Gary Small M.D. do a good job of convincing us that the millennials are equipped to assess some aspects of online credibility correctly, and think outside the box,  I believe that the transliterate generation must slow down and grab hold of a few metacognitive warnings.  (The book is good and well recommended, BTW.)  The Common Core requires us to embrace teaching models of rigor and complex text, yet our students do not have the habits of mind to embrace this.  Guess what: They need to be told that. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. 
We are busy building a lexicon of the discipline and doing action research to determine whether students succeed more when they are specifically instructed to: 
  • Stop--Time - Out
  • Slow down
  • Put on your magnifying glass and act like a lawyer.
Try it yourself.  By doing a simple EQ investigation on learning habits of the millennials, the students themselves will come up with their own notorious impairments. [EQ: What are the characteristics of Millennials online and how might that impact your achievement?] Then, they might be ready to learn about metacognition.  After they are aware of this new learning MO in the library or classroom, I actually suggest you should give out speeding tickets from time to time.  If a student is caught in a wrong MO, drawing wrong conclusions, award a speeding ticket.  I'll let you determine the consequences.  

We joke locally about the habits of the online Millennials.  They usually fit into one of these categories:
  • retreivers -- (hide 'n seek)
  • spiders (crawling all around)
  • Ants (piling it all up)
  • Super-Squirrels, or
  • Bee's - flying all over. 
What we really need are K-9's!  We need students who know the task at-hand and attack it and don't quit until they find what they were looking for.  They don't get distracted by imposters and scrutinize the area they are told to investigate.  How many classes can we get to operate that way?   

My late grandmother used to say, "Everyone's business is nobody's business."  Let's all work together to remedy this class at a time.  For additional ideas on reaching transliterate students, see my article in this month's Library Media Connection (LMC) issue. 

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