For me it had resonance with teaching and learning in this new age. True I have many students who are Gen X or even Baby Boomers. True, not all Millenial babies are genuinely digitally native in their behaviours, but it is important I think to recognise that we (Baby Boomer staff) are dealing with a new generation and need a pedagogy (or maybe more appropriately an androgogy) that suits the times.
Androgogy is perhaps the term we should apply to adult learners in HE - certainly we anticipate the sort of transitions indicated in Knowles' (1984) definition as students progress through a University education:
but I wonder how much our attitudes towards teaching and learning get in the way of aiding this transition? The chart above (from: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/awesome-chart-on-pedagogy-vs-andragogy.html) illustrates some of the key differences between androgogical and pedagogical approaches.
In a conversation with students earlier this week as part of the Changing the Learning Landscape project we heard of practices in classrooms that still assume a much more passive role on the part of learners, with the "lecturer" still expert and dominating the classroom activity as they did in the Victorian schoolroom.
Trying as I do to teach with technology, to support the development of digital skills and the responsible use of the Internet for research, I can't see how I can achieve my aims without harnessing the students' native abilities and attitudes - making space for them to learn collaboratively, allowing noise - allowing mobile devices - in the classroom, building on their well developed social networking skills to show how these can be used to support research and learning. I was trying to explain how my workshops go to colleagues this week and their response was "yes, but where's the academic rigour, where's the voice of the expert? This might work in something like study skills but would it work in, say, a history degree?" I wonder why it wouldn't?
A problem based, technology enhanced, collaborative approach makes for a messy and complicated classroom verging on the chaotic at times. It's not always comfortable for me or the learners but I am starting to see some "green shoots" of independent learning and great engagement in the classroom and interestingly it is some of the older "non-traditional" students who seem to be enjoying and benefiting from this approach. Whilst the Millenials may be feeling more "so what?" about my classes, the older students have been feeding back to me their excitement about their developing digital competence. One student wrote to me this week that my module was "possibly the most interesting and also the most complicated" of all those he was studying. In my book, that's not a bad thing :)