I was at a dinner party recently and the conversation turned to the ways we see teens and young adults using technology.   A friend at the table said his son and friends used their devices during the Superbowl not to text, tweet, or chat, but to record their own audio commentary of the game while recording it.  In essence, they used technology to capture their own personal experience of the game.  Of course we know as “digital natives” these tools are seamless extensions to them, but I still get surprised at how differently and inventively a device can be embraced by this generation. So what does this mean for educators?  A  LOT. Today’s modern learner is more connected than ever and in ways that we, those who facilitate learning, can only imagine. It seems that the modern learner wants their instructor to teach, but to also act as a coach, an idea sparker and a collaborator.  Here are just some of today’s modern learning demands:

Students As Consumers As you might have noticed, education is undergoing a massive change. Technology isn’t changing education in itself, so much as the consumers of education are changing how they live and learn, and we in the education world need to understand that.  Students want schools that meet their technology needs.

Mobility / Immediacy In sync with today’s always-on environment, students similarly expect their education to be there when and where they’re ready. Today’s modern learner can go online and find immediate answers to questions like “What have my friends been up to?” and “Who sings that song?” and with that, expects nothing less from his/her educational experience.

Peer-to-Peer Today’s modern learner wants to be actively involved with acquiring knowledge, and does much of it “socially” through communication and collaboration with peers.  Social learning is key way to make education relevant in the modern learner’s lifestyle, while still meeting educator goals of conveying and helping to retain content.

Personalization Students are looking for an active relationship with their education.  That means having options to choose from when it comes to accommodating a student’s preferred learning style, personal strengths, and general interests.  Embracing technology is key to help students personalize their education experience.  The unconventional is becoming the conventional. We want to continue this dialogue with you. Share what’s happening on your campus so we can help you deliver education in ways that meet these needs.

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