Monday, March 23, 2009

Next Generation Learners

Presentation: Next-Generation Learners
Eric Bassett, SunGard Higher Education, Gen X
Alex Anderson – Sophmore, Wharton School, Millenial
Patricia Bannen – National Stock Exchange, Recent graduate Instructional Technology – Adult Learner, Baby Boom
Emily Feigelson – Sophmore, Theatre. Millenial
Tony Hinch – Classes for 10 years based on career roles. Real Estate and Finance. Baby Boom
I will admit I have my doubts about the differences between the “new generation” and other learners. I think any change in expectation towards more interactivity / student participation can only help us all.

I don't think this session really disuaded me from that opinion.

This is a Panel discussion – my apologies if my notes seem disjointed.

Theme: Student IT Preferences

What technologies have impacted your life the most?
- Patty – BlackBoard. Classroom management from instructor AND student perspective.
+ Liked chat / discussion boards. Thought important because not interacting on consistent bases since remote. Working full time still. Tools to get access to stuff quickly.
+ Also used Google Docs a lot. Collaborate and share and edit. Who made which edit. Then share with professor. Professor can see who was actually doing the work.

- Emily – BlackBoard. Impossible to lose stuff.
+ Can look for continuing classroom discussion.
+ Classes pretty small. People run on. Very helpful to hear what people are saying outside of class.
+ Also Facebook. Keep up on top of deadlines with this tool. Can get in touch with people in class – collaborate, when things are due, what read. If miss a class or stop paying attention, easy to get in touch with someone.

- Tony – GoogleDocs.
+ Paired up with 3 other people to write up a very large report. Lived nowhere near each other. Much easier for all people to work on same report, corrections. Very useful for collaboration.
+ Online registration system. Not just convenience. Very intimidating for adult learner to go to large room with tables and lots of people much younger. Left. The online registration system got him into the first class. Much less intimidating.
+ Can see what available. Can make appointments with counselors. Motivated to take classes. Not 500 people 30 years younger running around competing for class.

- Alex – WebCafe (like BlackBoard)
+ Can see all classes available at school. Can see what is being offered and syllabus even if not enrolled in them (marketing)
+ GoogleBooks. Textbooks very expensive. Can preview all kinds of books. Look up last word of last page, brings up next 10 pages – can get to rest of book.

What is your personal learning style? What technologies do you use?
- Alex – “night before”
+ Let things pile up. Makes technology very important
+ Search for keywords. Easier on line.
+ Copy and paste into word doc is very helpful. Especially when writing essays and studying

- Tony – have to hear and see
+ Use digital voice recorder. One he uses now - $40. Voice activated. Button and port that allows him to upload and index lectures onto his computer. Can label and timecode.
+ Holds MP3s and documents.
+ Helps him memorize lines (because theatre). Read scripts into digital voice recorder and listen constantly.
+ Reading – won’t retain.
+ At end will have entire lecture and listen to it in teacher’s words. Also questions.
+ Notes, didn’t help him. Didn’t write down what needed at time.
+ Also use “digital podium” – can put computer up on screen. Would show exactly where need to go. The visuals very critical.

- Emily – Self-directed. Need to write things down and put in own words.
+ Math and science – need diagrams. Need to draw herself.
+ Love PowerPoint in classroom. Can see what picture needs to look like.
+ Bullet points help elaborate. Can add own thoughts.

- Patty – Interactive. Also needs things to be organized.
+ Loves doing stuff ahead of time
+ BlackBoard helpful
+ When instructors would put interactive technologies into coursework.
+ Used Web 2.0 applications. Photo and video sharing esp. Can add multiple media to content. This is big deal.
+ Wants to get more involved in podcasting. Have professors podcast lectures so that can go back and think about salient points. When in lecture for 45 minutes, tend to drift. May have missed the most impt. points.

Have you made use of technology for accessing academic support services (writing centers etc)? Electronic or 1 on 1?
- Tony – often wants to talk to someone. Like the synchronous online discussions. Made him get to point much faster. Plus, allows the person to more immediately direct him to resources via links.

- Emily – Really need to see people face to face. Esp when talking to advisor. If not entirely sure what you are doing, face to face is critical. Not sure virtual would have helped her. Also – their system e-mail, not real time.
+ Question: Amenable to web-cam?
+ Answer: Yes. Never used. Don’t think would mind.

Any technologies that weren’t helpful?
- Alex – Many of the classes he takes uses Saber, fake market. Very archaic program (blue screen with dots). Doesn’t relate well to the technology he is familiar with.
+ Simulators important. But outdated simulators hard to connect with. Doesn’t seem reliable. Gotta look more realistic.

- Tony – Voice recognition technology. Soooo not perfected. Hate the phone tree. Don’t think it understands us.
+ Programmed 911 to activate for word “Help”. Also programmed “Pizza” Pizza contacted 911.
+ Phone trees are evil.
+ Want the option to not have to say things.

- Patty – Have to be careful when an instructor using BlackBoard getting stuck on 1 item.
+ Every week, had to use a discussion board. OK first couple of weeks. Not so good after 2-3 weeks (this is a very old-school ID approach for using discussion boards). Use the whole program.

- Emily – When use discussion outside class, student would have 1 person responsible for all of the responses then lead discussion. Kept it not boring.

If Amazon = 10, rate administrative technologies at the institutions you attended.
- Patty – St. Joe’s, 7 or 8. Can register for courses, lots of info, fairly user friendly. Course registration a bit more cumbersome. Could view potential courses, but if didn’t have the course number written down, couldn’t find it.

- Emily – 6. Can see what courses take, but can’t find them to register. 1 site, descriptions, no syllabus. BlackBoard, hope to see syllabus. Sometimes go to departmental site that may or may not be updated. Really want it streamlined.
+ How would you like to find classes?
+ 1 page, list of departments.
+ Click department, list of classes
+ Click class, see description
+ Link to syllabus.

- Patty – also would love to see search box so if not sure where class is. Keyword by topic.

- Emily – there is a unified course guide, but doesn’t link to longer descriptions.
+ Have to figure out how to navigate multiple web sites.

- Tony – admissions (7). Much improved. Phones (2) – no linkage. Want to see college website link up with local transportation system. Click class and time starts – then can click on link for trip planner to get to class.
+ If couldn’t do stuff online, wouldn’t go back to school.

- Alex – really not user friendly. (U Penn) 2 (maybe)
+ Multi-task browsing right now critical because nothing is linked together well.
+ Lots of white screen, black text. No description, title. Just times.
+ May have to look at 3 or 4 web sites just to choose and register for a course.
+ Mock registration helpful.

- All – schools VERY efficient at billing and money. Obviously a LOT of time spent getting the systems for billing and getting money is.

- Emily (Haverford) – very analog. They actually lost her check. No online component.

- Alex – email notification for student bill. Available on PayPal.

- Patty & Alex – pay online now.

What about help desk / tech support?
- Tony – Made professor deal with help desk. May not be that good – have classes, still not fixed.
- Alex – changed just in past 2 years. Had nice wireless access. Not connected – all different systems. Had to install multiple software to get a particular network. Now universal wireless. Much fewer IT departments / networks.
- Emily – Excellent web portal. No wireless. Very detailed instructions on anti-virus, how to get onto network. Great to have all instructions need in one place.
- Tony – classes off-campus, IT service not a priority vs. on-campus. Still used paper work orders.
- Alex – handed packet of software at beginning. Everyone on same protection.

Do you consider yourself an early adopter?
- Patty – not really have the time. In between. Need to be more methodical. Plus working all day.
- Emily – not really an adopter at all. Don’t do gadgets. No iPod. Old phone. Like technologies that allow her to access whatever want (web based).
+ Love Torrent programs
+ Anything to help her find information
+ Like SeekPod – search for MP3 files anywhere on internet and play direct. Reduces download.

- Tony – never. Technology has lots of bugs. Esp. early. No vista. Current technology does what it needs to do. DO I really need stuff now? Companies should work out all the bugs FIRST before worrying about new features.

(left at this point....)

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