Monday, November 1, 2010

The Internet - simply ingrained in our youth

I was doing research this weekend and came across an article listing the top 100 most useful websites. The article, published online in 2008, mentioned casually how much has changed in the 15 years they've (PC World) been making this list.

Fifteen years. That made me stop and think. My students have never not had the Internet. I polled a few of them today, and some vaguely remember the funny noise the dial up connections made ... and how you couldn't be on the phone and the Net at the same time.

But it's always been a part of their experience. During any given session online, the average person must click dozens - or even hundreds - of times. Is it any wonder our worksheets bore them, and our lectures almost confuse them? "What, I'm supposed to just sit here and keep listening to you - for several minutes? Why would I do that ... that's so long!" To today's teen, ten minutes is enough time to get and receive 20 texts, download three songs, watch two YouTube videos, and "like" about a dozen friends' posts on Facebook.

Shakespeare must seem the very definition of irrelevant to many of today's students. I am having success with Macbeth, thus far, by 1. kicking off our lessons with videos, 2. summarizing the action before we read, 3. reading / listening along, 4. summing up what we just read once more, and then finally, 5. recapping the action with a final activity.

Five steps. But then I think about my college professor's style: 1. Go read this. 2. Now I tell you what you just read. I'm not sure if I'm holding their hands too much, or if my college prof held our hands too little. I'm not sure I care - because I'm after results. It worked for Beowulf, and I have every reason to believe it will work for Macbeth.

If it doesn't, I'll honestly reflect, adjust, and probably update my Facebook page ... noting my frustration!

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