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Our future HE students

February 3, 2010 15 comments

Last year JISC published a report ‘Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World‘.  The report is well worth reading, but if you haven’t got time the summary on the link I’ve provided gives a good overview.  One thing which the report highlights is that the use of Web 2.0 technologies is high and pervasive across all age groups from 11 to 15 upwards. One of the key findings in the study was that

Present-day students are heavily influenced by school methods of delivery so that shifts in educational practice there can be expected to impact on expectations of approaches in higher education.

Whilst current students in higher education may have little sense of how Web 2.0 technologies might be used to support their learning and are not pushing for changes in traditional educational approaches in a couple of years time this is likely to change.  One of the report’s conclusions is

The world they encounter in higher education has been constructed on a wholly different set of norms. Characterised broadly, it is hierarchical, substantially introvert, guarded, careful, precise and measured. The two worlds are currently co-existing, with present-day students effectively occupying a position on the cusp of change. They aren’t demanding different approaches; rather they are making such adaptations as are necessary for the time it takes to gain their qualifications. Effectively, they are managing a disjuncture, and the situation is feeding the natural inertia of any established system. It is, however, unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. The next generation is unlikely to be so accommodating and some rapprochement will be necessary if higher education is to continue to provide a learning experience that is recognised as stimulating, challenging and relevant.

So what kind of student might we expect to come to medical school in a few year’s time.  This video by a 7th grade school pupil (12-13 years old) in the States gives an insight into 21st century learners and how they have developed their personal learning environment using Web 2.0 tools.

This second video looks at ‘What is Next Generation Learning’ and our presenter is 11 year old Harry in the UK.  He gives a tour of his school and how it’s using ICT. The classroom and learning environment are changing and we need to support staff to develop skills in e-pedagogy.

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