The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Queen of Convergence

As a child of the 90s, I have never considered myself in the same boat as the newest generation of "tech-immersed" children, learning and engaging primarily through digital multi-media. When I was a child, the personal computer was still clunky and took some getting used to in order to even use the most basic functions. I used text books throughout my elementary and high school education with the occasional movie or demo thrown in, and I never felt like school was too boring or I wasn't getting the best education possible. There are many outdated forms of research and learning that I have mastered, and I take pride in my ability to live at a convergence of old and new media where I feel comfortable in both worlds.
In his article, Marc Prensky addresses an issue that I think is more prevalent in the youth of the present generation of "digital natives." Teachers have lost touch of what students immersed in the technological age need: condensed, engaging, readily available information. This is an extremely tall order to fill for adults who are essentially "digital immigrants" compared to their younger counterparts, but there seems to be few other choices than to simply adapt.
Just as my parents and I have adapted to our new smart phones and drawn heavily from the benefits that come with convenient connection, so too would there be benefits to freshening up teaching models and engaging students in new and interesting ways. Take the website Prezi for example, which is essentially an interactive form of PowerPoint. Not only does the site offer a new learning experience for teachers in building their presentations, but it gives students something visually appealing to look at with an interface that mimics much of the new technology they use in their daily lives.
At the same time, it is hard to neatly pin down the divide between digital natives and immigrants, just as it is to conquer the drastically different cultures/learning practices. Author Henry Jenkins references this opposing theory to Prensky in his article focusing on the importance of collaborative learning. Rather than taking on an attitude that the young are superior to the old and those who are behind in the tech world need to simply "get with the times", there needs to be some give and take. Teachers can learn just as much from their students as their students can from them. Think back to any effective teacher you had growing up, and chances are they were flexible and ready to adapt to the needs of their class.
To this day, I'm one of those people who gawk at 2 year olds using IPads and sneer whenever "good old fashioned _________" doesn't seem to be enough. However, I am a supporter of innovation in an age when education remains a subject filled with yawns and groans. Check out Center Theatre Group online or like their "Emerging Artists" Facebook page here to see what this company is investing in to engage and invite young people to participate in LA theatre. Some of their projects include "Tweet Seats" that allow patrons to live-tweet during performances and "Student Scene Nights" that immerse teens in the history and atmosphere of current shows with a free ticket included!
by: McKenna Warde


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