I cringe when I hear people say “this is what kids want” when discussing technology.
From the old digital natives to talk about the digital generation, there is this often unchallenged idea put forth that today’s students will embrace and welcome technology-rich environments that are learner centered.
Don’t be surprised if you find this isn’t always the reality. Don’t be surprised if students actually resist.
Reason #1: Changing the Game
If a teacher is typically not learner-centered, a shift to a technology-rich environment that empowers the learner is changing the game. For students that are playing the game well, creates a new challenge for them and can be frustrating.
The idea of reallocating class time or more commonly known today as Flipping the Classroom is something we’ve been trying in pockets for a couple of years. One teacher worked really hard to understand this and focused on making this shift for the benefit of student learning. Part of her belief was that students would welcome this change and become more engaged.
What happened was quite the opposite. The students resisted. They preferred the lecture in class. They preferred the handout that gave them the main points to focus on. They preferred the teacher-centered environment.
They play to the ego of teachers: we love your ideas, we want to hear from you, we get more out of it, etc.
Perhaps that is true on some levels but I’d argue it is easier and easier is better. If I get a sheet that tells me what to look for in the movie, I don’t have to think much nor do much. If I get to listen to a lecture for 40 minutes, I don’t have to think much nor do much. If the teacher flips the classroom, I have to own my learning and engage collaboratively as I demonstrate transfer of learning through creation and visible thinking.
You change the game. There will be resistance.
The question is will you fight through the implementation dip.
Reason #2: Highway to the Comfort Zone
Okay, students are great at Facebook. They are wonderful operators of their cell phones. And, many can bring the thunder with about any gaming system out there.
But, they are not technology gurus with an intimiate knowledge of digital technologies, web 2.o tools, and multimedia software. Yes, there are some that display wicked genius when it comes to technology, but the majority are simply Office trained and no more technology “literate” than the average teacher.
While most aren’t afraid of the technology and they can do magical things when given the chance, I’ve seen too often where students will simply default to using PowerPoint (bad… bad… Powerpoint not effective design) even when they have a choice to be creative. I’ve seen them resist using creative and emerging technologies.
It is easier. They are in their comfort zones with what has always been. Students need to be pushed out of their comfort zone just like adults. We can’t assume they will do it themselves.
You take them out of that comfort zone and they will more than likely resist.
The question is should you let them remain in their comfort zone.
Embrace and Fight Through the Resistance
This isn’t universal. Perhaps your experience is different.
But, I continue to see frustration from teachers that hear about this magical world and then face something different in the classroom. They face resistance.
Because of this, we must help them with this reality
- We need to help them understand why students are resisting.
- We need to remind them that community is at the core of a classroom not myths about what this generation wants.
- We need to acknowledge that this isn’t easy and it is even more challenging when you try to change the game in the midst of the class.
- We need to help teachers and students fight through it for a better environment that they might not fully understand or appreciate in the moment as they build and establish community.
What are other ways to help teachers to face embrace and fight through this resistance? What are some other reasons students resist?