Student Engagement: How do we engage the NetGeners? Trends


In talking to my fellow instructors I have come to realize that the very way the PIDP is delivered now is quite different from the way that they received it just a few years ago.  This blog is an example of it.  It’s clear that Adult Education must evolve as technology evolves.

It’s been frustrating as a new instructor to see student’s absolute marriage to their phones.  Despite a no phone policy they instantly know why one of their classmates is late as they receive texts and updates as to their immediate whereabouts.  It’s hard to engage a student who has been up all night playing the latest Grand Theft Auto.  So I’ve matched a low-tech solution to a high-tech problems.  Get caught with your phone in the shop?  Well then, please pack this bundle of 1″conduit 200′ and back.  A fantastic workout for the legs and back!  It’s also great practice for ferrying materials back and forth on a job-site.

It’s important to consider that the student’s connectedness may also enhance their learning experience.

Instead, participation and involvement are group-specific, selective experiences that contribute to one’s sense of being a part of a larger community. Student engagement includes academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and active and collaborative learning. Social engagement with peers is embedded in the collaborative learning construct, but the context for this connection is academic.(Lester, Brown Leonard, Mathias, 2013)

Social media may be encouraging students to be connected and engaged.  Students know about what is going on in each others lives and keep an eye out for each other.

In my prior job as a Service Electrician I operated in a tech-heavy environment.  We seamlessly shared wiring diagrams, schematics and prints through file-sharing programs.  We checked inventories on-line at various whole-salers and we consulted trades forums on-line for perplexing questions.

Rather than creating dysfunctional brains that can’t focus, the evidence is just as strong that experience being “bathed in bits” is pushing the human brain beyond conventional capacity limitations. So-called multitasking may in fact result from better switching abilities and better active working memory. Young people are likely developing brains that are more appropriate for our fast paced, complex world.(Tapscott, 2010, p.1)

Unfortunately most Electrical Apprentices will have to be counseled severely not to be using their phones constantly.  Employers are more concerned with profitability and safety than with their employees being “connected”.  As of yet smart-phones and tablets are not particularly functional for the low term apprentice in their daily work.


About Electric yogini

Trades education from a different perspective
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