Reflections 1 - Rewired

At the library this weekend stocking up on my usual fare of sci-fi, fantasy books for late night reading--not to mention, waiting for kids to do their stuff wherever, you know what I mean--I saw a book on the shelf entitled, "Rewired." The title immediately reminded me that I had a non-sci-fi book waiting to be reviewed by Dr. Larry D. Rosen entitled, "Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn."

As I started to read Chapter 1, I was immediately struck by the similarity of observations made while watching teens learn in a classroom. The description of the iGeneration features a portrait of a daughter involved in much the same kinds of activities as mine:
I see my daughter, sitting on her bed with the television on, iPod earbuds firmly implanted, her laptop showing one window with a school report beside a browser window open to Facebook, several instant messaging alerts flashing at the bottom of the screen, and her phone vibrating, signaling a text message. Can she really study with all these distractions? How can she possibly get good grades while she is chatting the night away?

The obvious answer is YES, she can and does (at least, in my daughter's case). I'm looking forward to reading the book this week and sharing my observations with you. In the interests of full disclosure, I received a free copy of the book, but nothing else...no big checks, etc. So, I feel comfortable pointing out that no one is "buying" this blog entry. I'll be sure to point out what I think is of value and worth sharing.

In the meantime, if you can't wait, you can read or listen to Dr. Rosen share his points:


Check out Larry’s Op-ed on CNN.com: 
http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/02/08/rosen.texting.communication.teens/index.html


Listen to Larry Rosen discuss the new generation gap on NPR: 
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/01/27/midmorning2/

Author website: http://www.csudh.edu/psych/lrosen.htm


The premise of the book is pretty straightforward: It points out that children hate school. And, I can certainly appreciate that having a teenager that is as connected as one can imagine. Sometimes, I'm frightened by what will happen when she starts publishing her writing online. In fact, I'm worried that she ISN'T publishing online yet. Why? The reason is that her publishing occurs at school. She loves school, but her school isn't like everyone else's. It's a school where kids love to write and share that writing with others, but not digitally. And, that's valuable...but it highlights the fact that what she does at school and what she does online are two worlds that must not collide.

Rosen makes the following points:

  • Education has not caught up with this new generation of tech-savvy children and teens.
  • Gone are the days when students would sit quietly in class, reading a book or doing a math worksheet (AMEN!). Literally, their minds have changed--they have been "rewired."
  • With all the technology that they consume, they need more from education. The educational content isn't the problem, it is the delivery method and the setting.
And, such a perspective is critical for all of us to understand, especially today's leadership among legislators, education, and elsewhere. I fear that there are competing interests for education--which is big money--and that those will continue to drive where education goes from this point forward.

How do we, as educators, deal with "rewired" students? Rosen suggests taking advantage of virtual classrooms. But having read several books recently, I'm struck by the truth of a simple observation--eLearning seems to be the end all, be all answer to Education's problems. And, knowing that few things are that, I'm skeptical. Aren't you?




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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Comments

Dr. Larry Rosen said…
Miguel, Thanks for your kind words about my book. I think that you summed up the theme amazingly well! To the list of sources I would add in two that I have just put on my website.

I was on NPR Weekend a couple of weeks ago which is at http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=126436549&m=126436561

Also, I have a blog that I write for Psychology Today which is housed at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology

Both of these are good sources as well as information that I post on my website for all of my writing and speaking.

Best from Sunny San Diego, CA

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