Teen software whiz shows challenges facing schools

Alex has earned more than $50,000 from the iPhone apps he's developed.

Ninth-grader Alex Britton, and the friends he has made throughout North America with the help of Skype, offer insight into the challenges schools face in educating members of the so-called iGeneration.

A software entrepreneur at age 14, Alex learned how to develop iPhone apps by watching YouTube videos posted by other teens. He and his friends are living examples of the themes often spouted at ed-tech conferences and highlighted in research such as Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey: Many of today’s students are taking ownership of their own learning outside of school and are teaching each other through digital media … and educators will have to change their approach to instruction if they hope to engage this generation of youth.

Alex is now trying to put his most professional foot forward, so the teen recently took his Whoopee Cushion iPhone application off the market.…Read More

Editorial: Media illiteracy

Technology itself may not impact education until teachers and students take control of its potential.
Education is what will help today's graduates effectively navigate the flood of digital media now at their fingertips.

Default Lines column from June 2010 edition of eSchool News—President Obama caused quite a stir among the technorati with his commencement address at Hampton University last month.

You might have heard about it: Supposedly, one of the most technologically savvy presidents in our nation’s history—and someone who largely owes his Election Day victory to the power of social media in connecting and engaging today’s youth—decried the tools of the iGeneration as instruments of evil. Or something like that.

“You’re coming of age in a 24-7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter,” Obama told the graduating class of this historically black Virginia university.…Read More

Author: ‘iGeneration’ requires a different approach to instruction

A new book asserts that students who have grown up with constant access to mobile technology learn - and need to be taught - differently.
A new book asserts that students who have grown up with constant access to mobile technologies learn—and need to be taught—differently.

Today’s middle and high school students learn much differently from students just a few years older—and that’s mainly because they’ve never known a world without the internet or cell phones, says psychology professor and author Larry D. Rosen, whose research could give educators valuable insights into the needs of today’s learners.

Children born in the 1990s, dubbed the “iGeneration” by Rosen, live in a time of rapidly changing technology, in which they are constantly connected to a number of mobile technologies. Rosen said the “i” stands for both the technologies these students use—such as the iPod, iPhone, and Wii—and the individualized ways in which students use these tools.

“iGeners are growing up with portable technology. Literally from birth, these children are able to grow up using mobile technology,” he said. “But I also look at the little ‘i’ as reflecting the individualized culture—reflecting our needs and desires.”…Read More