NLE Task 1.3.3 Assessed DB thread “The Eight Net Gen Norms”
Chapter three of the book Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott describes eight features of this NET generation under the name of norms which are really characteristics in both attitude and behavior that make a difference between this generation and others, including the one their parents lived in. Tapscott lists eight norms which come from the experience of modern young people and all the influence they get from today’s media. The following are some implications that I think these norms have for education in general and for language learning in particular.
Education in general: Educational institutions have to offer students other choices as to where to study, not only the four walls of the classroom since they want to learn and do other activities where they want and when they want. Classes must be varied and offer students different choices according to their learning styles. This generation is on a constant quest for freedom, so sticking to the classroom board is not a good choice; teachers must use ICTs that cope with students’ expectations and give them more opportunities to “fly” in their quest for new knowledge.
Language learning: Contacts with other schools for students to share experiences in the foreign language. Guided tours in English as well as field trips and immersion courses. Use of language software and opportunities to use it in and out of the classroom.
Education in general: Since Net Geners customize anything they get and make it fit their lives, it is important to offer students opportunities to be creative and transform the reality they live in a positive way. Modern students enjoy changing every category they touch, so such a diverse generation needs from education tools that allow them to do so. There are hundreds of websites which can be useful to encourage students to make modifications and create new ways to learn the same.
Language learning: Students can be given chances for example to change dialogue or text of a program or video or film, from one language into another language. They can do transcription, translation, or subtitling. There is also language software which can be used for students to customize given written or spoken language.
Education in general: Today’s young people are willing to develop the ability to distinguish between what is fact and what is fiction, so education should encourage the young to learn even more about real things because this gives them an understanding of our world and the way things work.
Language learning: There are plenty of newspapers, brochures, guides, maps, Internet sites, and how-to manuals we can use to have students navigate and improve their language skills. This will help them prepare for content-area studies later on and for informational passages on standardized tests.
Education in general: This generation of students wants to be honest, considerate, transparent, and willing to commit and they demand commitment of the people who lead them. Teachers must demonstrate commitment to their students and their learning. To do this, they understand their students’ background in addition to the subject matter while they select and align learning goals.
Language learning: Net gen students are confident and self assured. Language teachers must design or select appropriate activities and instructional materials and sequence instruction in ways that can help students to meet short- and long-term curricular goals. In addition, teachers should never lose sight of the variety of knowledge and experiences that Net gen students bring to class.
Education in general: These youngsters are natural collaborators and have created a culture of collaboration. They influence each other in networks on a global scale. Modern education has to encourage collaboration among students so that they can develop their potential for learning. Specifically, students can learn to approach and solve new problems so that they develop the capability to solve problems that do not exist at the moment of learning.
Language learning: Rather than simply absorbing language material, learning grammar rules, students must learn to develop capabilities that they first experience in assisted or collaborative learning situations using web pages, blogs, and other communication technologies that facilitate collaborative work since Net gen students like to organize themselves into new communities that go far beyond traditional teamwork.
Education in general: Net gen students want as many aspects of their life as possible to be fun. Modern education is expected to use technologies that when applied to learning can help motivate and engage Net gen students and promote better take-up of scientific disciplines while having lots of fun.
Language learning: Since Net gen learners can deal with multiple activities simultaneously and they enjoy entertainment plus education, language classes should include projects that focus on different technology-enhanced language learning methods. Language teachers must include multitasking in their classrooms.
Education in general: This new generation is into instant feedback and the fast pace of their lives is very important to them. Education nowadays must provide students with the right type of feedback in the timescales that they expect and computer aided feedback can certainly help to improve this.
Language learning: Net gen students are very familiar with the new technologies that can support them when learning another language; technologies such us internet, Skype, Face book, Bebo, MSN, virtual learning environments, chat-rooms, etc. If used by the language teacher, these technologies will provide students the instant feedback and the fast pace they want when learning a language.
Education in general: These students live in a culture of innovation and creativity. They love to innovate. Everything that implies change and is new becomes significant to them. Today’s education must include some strategies and approaches that teachers may introduce to encourage increased student innovation; there are some specific tactics and methods that teachers can use in their classes to try and encourage more innovative practices.
Language learning: Net gen enjoy language classes in which teachers keep the class lively and keep all students involved, asking questions, carrying out mini-projects with presentations to the class, etc. They also want teachers to tie in what they are discussing with current events, bringing the language they learn to life while doing innovative activities.