When you were a child studying at school in Ecuador, surely you can remember the same human teaching you all subjects, in the same classroom during the school year. The exemptions to the rule were Foreign Language and P.E.
In high school, you used to have one teacher per subject, having a period from perhaps 45 minutes to an hour and a half. This changed when the pandemic arrived in 2020. Teachers from different generations were pushed on to experience new methods to deliver knowledge, using technological tools such as educational platforms, controlling students behavior through a virtual classroom, as well as facing technical issues mostly relegated to institutional computer departments.
Nevertheless, something educational institutions should not miss out on and keep in mind are children from generation Z or centennials (1994-2010) and the ones from generation Alpha (2010- Until now) that were born in a completely digital era making them true digital natives.
Generation Alpha children process information quicker and have gone through accelerated changes at their short age. Additionally, they are very creative and manage every single electronic device and multitask (Ability of doing several things at once) efficiently. They do not tolerate videos lasting more than 5 minutes. Seldomly, they watch two hour movies. This, due to getting bored. Also, if they spend more than 4 hours sitting in front of a computer, they can get overwhelmed because it does not seem dynamic and fun.
We can not fool ourselves by thinking we are getting back to our “normal lives”: children sitting in their classroom receiving 7 hour of classes per day, being taught in a traditional fashion. As a consequence, they will face lack of attention and motivation. They are less patient and ask for immediate satisfaction of their needs according to their own different time frames.
It is already challenging for pedagogical teams to share knowledge to these generations, but it is not impossible. I’m sure that with the right schedule and interactive activities it will be possible.
Taking advantage of their special learning skills, we can apply them to increase motivation and attention level during the class; for instance:
- Carry out collaborative assignments to keep up socialization and teamwork.
- Allow the use of mobile devices for work during class time, profiting from the countless digital and didactic options apps deliver us.
- Engage students with high quality multimedia content. If low quality resolution is in use, there will be loss of interest. One of their characteristics is that they’re extremely visual.
- Foster their curiosity through research and maximize self-taught activities.
- Motivate them to create their own contents, leveraging from their endless creativity
- Adopt a LMS platform to manage activities, materials, homework, discussion groups, since multimedia resources are highly valued.
The teacher’s role must be to transmit their knowledge to this generation. Preparing classes with interactive content, getting current information about new apps and learning tools, searching references on how classes are done in other countries and learning about new trends that could be applied by students.
All educational institutions should have on their team a person who stays at the forefront of tech advancements. It’s advisable to determine at least 5 hours a week doing research to implement and develop monthly training plans for teachers to keep them updated.
Digital transformation is all around us. That being said, educational institutions, their managers and teachers must be on the same page as their students. Failure to achieve this will surely impact in loss of admiration and respect from this generation. Dedication, responsibility, and commitment are already strong features found in teachers. Hence, we need to strengthen their tech capabilities for a full circle experience.