Students adapting faster in changing times

By the end of 2013 technology will still be advancing and doubling every three years.

By the end of 2013 technology will still be advancing and doubling every three years. It is the duty of schools to prepare their students to enter and succeed in this rapidly changing world.

Technology and societal trend projections are calculated according to Moore’s Law and International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

Internet and social media sites are aspects of technology readily available and common to students.

“One of the things that is becoming very, very apparent . . . is social media is becoming very important in how students learn and interact with each other,” said Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) superintendent Larry Jacobs.

WCPS works at teaching students about the conveniences and pitfalls of the digital world.

Jacobs says schools are looking at how to create powerful learning environments and “how to move forward with dealing with new problems and new events.”

The Internet creates a vast vat of knowledge for students to access and schools divisions want to focus students’ use of the newly gained knowledge to become critical thinkers.

WCPS uses a 12-component model that outlines specifics teachers need to take into consideration when building a learning environment. “That’s a very powerful tool,” said Jacobs.

“When I became a teacher in the 1970s my primary teaching strategy was the lecture.” Students would take notes and sometimes there would be a follow up activity such as a worksheet.

Jacobs says teachers would take these worksheets as a sign the students understood the lesson. Schools now realize students need to be engaged on different levels and teachers are gravitating toward using real world problems and examples as teaching methods.

However, one challenge the Internet leaves schools is making students realize not everything there is well prepared or factual.

“It’s a mile wide and an inch deep,” explained Jacobs, who wants WCPS students to approach the Internet with a philosophy to be discriminatory on commentary.

But, the easy access to the Internet renders it a powerful learning opportunity for students.

Some teachers have taken to putting their lessons online and students can even watch virtual dissections with added commentary. With the Internet students don’t have to depend solely on classroom time for learning.

Jacobs says students are reaching out and becoming their own society on the Internet. This allows them to interact with each other in an even more transparent way, through blogs or forums, on an ongoing educational basis.