Technology Integration and what I learned on educating ‘The Netflix Generation’

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As an employee in STEM higher education at Southern New Hampshire University, I chose to attend the Christa McAuliffe Transforming, Teaching & Technology Conference (CMTC) as a part of my professional development this year. I first discovered this annual conference when I had the opportunity to write a promotional article about the conference with NHSTE. Upon learning more about the themes of integrating technology in the classroom and in education as a whole, I wanted to be able to attend the conference myself. As a former STEM Academic Advisor and current STEM Transfer Credit Evaluator, I was able to gain useful information on the types of technology, course work and skills needed to prepare the next generation for the workforce.

Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, served as the Keynote Speaker for Wednesday. November 28.  He spoke eloquently on some of the statistics to show how our world has changed rapidly via technological advancement in the last decade. To note a few examples: AirBnB is now the world’s largest hotel company, with limited physical headquarters. The iPhone-based game of PokemonGo gained 20 million users within the first month of its release.  Uber has taken over as the largest taxi service provider in the world. These are just a few examples of how the web has changed the image of our job markets. The main idea to focus on is that education lays the foundation for our future economy and society within the upcoming generation of children. Integrating technology in the classroom begins at the K-12 level and should continue through higher education, regardless of what field the student is preparing to enter. Southern New Hampshire University is an example of a school that has taken advantage of our shift towards global web mobility and now serves 100,000+ students around the world thanks to advancements in technology and student service systems.

“We’re preparing our kids for world that doesn’t yet exist” –Thomas Murray

Advancing technology in our school systems and university’s is more vital than ever. White House economists predict that there is an 83 percent chance a person making under $20 an hour today could see their jobs replaced by automation in the future. Meanwhile, people currently earning over $20 an hour only have a 4 percent risk of losing their jobs to automation. The reason for this massive gap being that higher education provides us with the skill set that can rarely be replaced with automation and robotics. In recent years, creativity and problem solving have become top skills sought out by employers for new graduates.

A solid example of where human ability has become automated: Your online shopping orders.


 Above: See the robots who ship your amazon packages

Murray went on to discuss how we effectively build culture within our schools as educators. One quote that resonated with me was this: “Every interaction we have is either a culture builder or a culture killer.” We have the power to decide what we want our schools to be with every student interaction that we have. We also have the ability to change the way we educate to retain more engagement from our students.

Studies have shown that engagement in schools will on average begin to fall from grades 5 to 12. This raises a significant question: how can we better engage our students to remain successful through high school completion? While this is a complex question, the first thing that educators should take into account is that the mindset of “That’s the way I’ve always done it,” should be eliminated. Our world is changing and so must our classrooms. Integrating technology in the classroom for lesson plans, activities, etc. will help to bring education into the 21st century. We are currently teaching the “Netflix” generation (i.e. instant access and instant gratification). This can be a challenge to keep up with when considering engagement levels and performance in the classroom. It is more imperative than ever to instill technological advancements into our school systems and universities to aid in the learning process.


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!