This is an excellent article and ties in with so much of the discussions we have been having lately.
The title is “Educating the Digital Mind: Challenges and Solutions”.
The authors are Marshall G. Jones, Stephen W. Harmon, and Mary O’Grady-Jones.
The article is published in the “Teacher Education Journal of
South Carolina.” I’m proud to say that Stephen Harmon is my boss here
as well as the Director of the Instructional Technology Center. I really
got excited about this paper because it is so relevant to many of the
A couple of selections from the article:
(permission has been granted to post)
First, the abstract:
paper explores the issues and challenges associated with the transformative
nature of digital media and devices on teaching and learning. It proposes
that current students may think and process information differently
than their teachers and suggests that we adopt the term digital mind
as a way to explain this phenomenon. It explores the relationship of
societal changes to the learning styles of current students and suggests
possible ways to alter classroom activities to accommodate not just
the inclusion of devices, but the learning styles associated with digital
Then these great suggestions
for effective instruction as relates to digital minds:
(1997) suggests that for effective instruction of people who think differently
than we do we must be able to step outside of our personal experiences
and into the world of the learner. We must be able to engage the learner
to make a commitment to learn. To do this with digital minds we do not
necessarily have to involve devices (though it helps). What we do have
to do is to accept some of their life experiences. The following list
draws on ideas from Brown (1997) and Driscoll (2002) as we offer the
- Focus on
Outcomes Rather Than Techniques
Provide students with opportunities to put information to work. Allow
them to do something and not just to know something. Reality based learning,
learning in context, situated cognition, and problem√based learning
are strategies that should resonate with digital minds.
Options for Learning
Universal Designs for Learning (O≠Neill, 2001) suggests that students
will excel with options in learning. Multiple options to express learning,
multiple representations of content, and multiple ways to engage learners
will help digital minds in the classroom.
Parallel Thinking and Multitasking
People who grew up with the WWW, mobile phones, MTV and video games
are used to dealing with many streams of information coming in at one
time. And while we, as teachers and digital immigrants, may see it as
disruptive, they really can do more than one thing at a time in class.
New learners are surfers and scanners. While we had limited sources
for writing papers they essentially have every library in the world
available to them. They make decisions quickly based on side heads and
highlighting. We must provide them with cues they recognize and
help them to slow down and process when needed.
Learners in Setting Learning Goals
Provide them a role in establishing learning goals, building the learning
community, setting up the rules for the class and in writing the rubrics
that will be used to judge their performance.
Active Learning Environments
Allow learners to use what ever tools they may need in an assignment.
Allow them to play to their strengths, be it media production or artistic
expression in assignments and activities in appropriate ways.
- Allow Learning
to be Social
We have long recognized the importance of working in groups. It
builds social skills and provides students with the ability to work
in the type of environment they will be working in as adults. Working
in groups means that people will need to talk, discuss and interact,
activities that are typically discouraged in most classrooms.
Opportunities for Reflection
Lest we think we must only allow people to do things that are fast moving
and lack depth of processing, we must provide digital minds not only
with the time to reflect, but the requirement to reflect. A digital
mind does not mean a better mind necessarily. We should provide opportunities
for both experiential and reflective cognition.
Good points to keep in mind! All of them have really got me thinking. I particularly
like #8 as it focuses on providing opportunities for reflection.Read the entire article. It is well worth it. I thank
the authors for letting me share their good work!