Students in the 21st century grew up surrounded by technology. From kindergarten to my freshman year of college I always had at least one class that involved the use of computers. Submitted papers needed to be typed, many projects had to be created on PowerPoint. I do not necessarily believe that the American educational structure needs to be completely changed- it just needs to be altered. More technology needs to be incorporated into education. Teachers need to use computers, power points and more interactive and up to date programs. With this lack of technology in the learning environment it is harder for students to concentrate. In Matt Richtel’s article he says “The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.” All of these distractions make it harder to concentrate and students cannot help but drift off in other thoughts during class. How many times have you been in a lecture hall and almost every laptop in your vision has Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, or any other website up? How many kids are sleeping? Professors have an extremely hard time keeping the attention of their students. And something needs to eventually change.

Bored college students sleeping in lecture hall

Students today are very different compared to those in the past two centuries. I feel that now students need to be pushed and almost forced to think more deeply. Many students do not take it upon themselves to learn something new. They learn new things because they are forced by their teachers and parents. Also in the past education was held much higher and valued more than it is today. Megan Garber says “The learning that results tends to be rich and sticky and sweet. The kind that you carry with you throughout your life. The kind that becomes a part of you. The kind that turns, soon enough, into wisdom” In order to hold students attention you need to interest them. In the past more people wanted to learn, they were determined to get an education, now you need to interest students with the topic. Once they are interested they will want to learn and they will be able to pay attention. This past semester I had the hardest time paying attention in my political science class. It just did not interest me and no matter what I did I could not sit there and take notes for an hour and twenty minutes. It was very rare that he would have a topic that caught my interest, when he did I sat there and took notes and soaked in every word he said. When the interest was not there I found myself dozing off and complaining on social media.

Students need to be engaged

Students need to be engaged

I do believe in an educational evolution, I do not believe education has evolved that much but I do strongly believe that the thought processes of students has evolved. Many students go through high school without trying. They are able to smoothly sail through with no problems. Is this because the education system has barely changed? I believe so. High school to college was a huge transition. I went from putting no effort in and not needing to study, to staying up until two AM to do homework and make sure I was properly prepared. As students evolve to do well in classes, the education curricula needs to evolve to hold students attention. In “This is How We Think: Learning to Think in Public After the Paradigm Shift” they talk about how if you wanted your business to get the most attention where would you place it? I think it is safe to say that the majority would place it on the web- whether it is social media, Google, through email or an advertisement- that is where it is most likely to get the most attention. Students in my generation and the 21st century grew up with technology. We are technology babies, we know computers, social media, television and any new technology very well. Being in a learning environment that lacks this technology will not help us learn. This is why I think this multimedia creative writing class is fantastic. It is a way for students of our generation to take a class where they can express themselves in a way that is familiar. We are encouraged to use technology and it is very interesting. If more classes were like this one many more students would get a better education.

 

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