Going to school for your children today is much different than it was when you were a kid. You used to be able to get away with your stories of walking to school in three feet of snow, up-hill both ways, but today’s kids can Google your story and find out that you’re just exaggerating.
Jean Andrews, CompTIA A+ textbook author with Cengage Learning, gathered educators from across the country at CompTIA Breakaway to discuss the changes to the modern-day classroom.
The approach children are taking when they are learning and doing their work has completely changed in the last generation. Kids are in gaming and Google mode. In 2008, the amount of money spent on movies was exceeded by the amount of money spent on gaming—people want interactive entertainment, and the days as spectators are gone. People want to get involved.
So how has this changed the traditional classroom?
iPads, tablets and PCs have replaced chalkboards, textbooks and notebooks to fill classrooms and are used as everyday educational tools for kids. As students, they don’t learn in a linear path anymore; they learn in a non-sequential path, taking pieces of information from a variety of resources. Once instructors understand this, they can adjust their curriculum and training practices to help their students succeed.
As one attendee put it, “No one wants a talking head in a class anymore these days.”
Employer expectations and industry standards also are affecting the classroom. Employers are now saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s if you know how to find out what you don’t know.”
Employers are looking for people who can come into the workplace with an innovative mind and explorer’s curiosity. The individuals who will go out to find the information they need to answer their own problems will be the people who succeed in their jobs and develop their careers. Employers are demanding not only the experience, but skills that students will pick up in an interactive setting:
- The ability to teach and learn from others
- Technical skills
- People skills
- Decision-making/problem-solving thought process
As instructors, it’s important to put students in this type of environment in the classroom as opposed to feeding information to them. In the process of teaching, instructors need to tackle professional and life skills in the classroom and treat their students as entrepreneurs. If these two areas are successfully integrated into curriculum, they will support the technical skill portion, and develop a well-rounded, intelligent student.
Industry standards also are dictating the classroom setting. Teachers can tell their students that there used to be a time when someone could get a job in the industry without a certification, but those days are gone now. As the IT industry grows and matures, the emphasis on certification and validating skills is becoming more important. Just as the R.N. and M.D. are imperative to landing a job as a nurse or a doctor, there will be a certification that is imperative to getting a job supporting a company’s infrastructure.