Kids are the techno savvy generation – are not! – are too! – are not! – are too! …

I have been working with my Year 11s to make maths tutorial videos. It sure is interesting working with kids and technology. However, there seems to be this widespread opinion among adults that kids are just so techno savvy, but this does not always seem to be so, or does it?

I have noticed that when it comes to mobile phones, Wii’s, xbox 360’s and playstation 3, they are indeed au fait with the technology and are bold frontiersmen and women, afraid of nothing, pressing buttons with gay abandon and changing settings to suit their every whim, personality and phone plan.

Asking them to use an IWB though is another matter. Their initial reactions are much the same as when asking them to come out to the front of the class and write on a whiteboard – you know, those big flat things at the front of the classroom for writing on where you had to use a .. what was it called again? … Oh yes … a pen marker thingy that had that messy ink inside it … ewwwww! It’s just so embarrassing being asked to write on it with everyone watching you and getting a students to do it is as easy as going for a walk with a dead dog on the end of a leash.

Likewise with asking them to make an instructional video – with them having to actually speak into a headset and then hear back their own voice – well, how shocking, what a humiliatingly embarrassing expectation! Oh they will do it for me, but the pain that is racking their 16 year old hormone confounded bodies is all too apparent! I almost feel sorry for them, but years of teaching has killed off all my nerve endings so I make them do it anyway.

So I got to wondering what is happening here? Is it the technology? Is it that the technology puts them on public display, much like standing in front of class does? Is this what causes the self consciousness to flood to the surface? Or maybe it is the subject material? Does posting, onto Youtube, a video of yourself giving a tutorial on how to determine the antiderivative of an inverse circular function within a restricted domain, somehow label you as a nerd with all the associated ball and chain social stigmas? (I can’t imagine how that could happen; at parties I always enthral people with discourses about quadratic equations and I’ve found that my audience becomes so engaged with the topic that their emotions frequently get the better of them and they suddenly become so overwhelmed that the have to rush off to compose themselves– sometimes all at the same time!) So, it can’t be the subject material, but it is something. What could it be that brings out this reluctance to be digitally immortalised? I never have this trouble with Year 7s, so why with Year 11s?

Any thoughts people? How do we get them to be thrilled about doing it? BTW ( that means “by the way” – I just put it in to show how groovy I am – do kids still say groovy?) – anyway BTW, my students all really like the idea of having maths tutorials that they make for themselves. It is just that when it comes down to them as individuals actually having to do it, well that is where the problems break out like a dreaded zit cluster the day before your first date!

Besides waiting until they are 35, what do you think can be done?

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One thought on “Kids are the techno savvy generation – are not! – are too! – are not! – are too! …

  1. I think it’s the fact that their phones and games are generally things that they think they know about and, even then, they don’t discuss until they’re competent with their new toys. It’s the fear of being wrong. People hate being wrong and teens, with their mauled frontal lobes, are particularly sensitive to the risks associated with ‘wrongness’. Plus, it’s school. Isn’t everything at school too hard?

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