This past month as millions of young people traded in their baseball bats for backpacks, teachers, parents, students – and Blackboard staff – experienced the familiar rituals of Back to School. That got me thinking: technology changes a lot – how we create content, collaborate with our peers and find information. Do today’s tech-savvy students experience a different Back to School transition than past generations?
Young people who grew up with smartphones and laptops—what we at Blackboard call active learners—didn’t store away their gadgets for the summer. They’re continuing to use the Internet and the fun, educational apps on the market to explore the world and exercise their minds, regardless of whether school is in or out of session.
Traditionally, one of the most exciting parts of going back to school has been the social aspect—meeting new classmates, reconnecting with old friends and sharing summer adventures. But technology is changing this part of Back to School too. With social media, students are keeping friends updated on their activities instantly, even during the summer months. Students are also using social media and learning management systems (LMSs) like Blackboard Learn to connect with new classmates before they ever meet them in person, lessening the anxiety of starting fall classes in a new school or district.
Apprehension about academics is another part of the Back to School ritual. Starting new classes—and meeting new teachers—can be simultaneously exciting and nerve-racking. Now, LMSs are easing the transition by making it possible to interact with teachers and classmates, and browse syllabi and course reading materials, long before the first bell rings.