Last week I went to a workshop on Supervision. From time to time I have to coordinate a team of coaches to get a project done, so I thought I might get a few additional resources from this session. We spent a portion of the session discussing the needs and expectations of employees of different generations. I found it interesting that so many of the people at the workshop described millennials as tech savvy when in fact they are simply tech dependant.
From my work with teachers, I shared that the young people in Gen Y are avid users of technology in their day to day lives. We can’t mistake using technology for understanding how it is best used. Older teachers will take time to ask about best practices…they want to make sure the thought they have is on the right track. The younger ones just want to try it themselves, because they have confidence that they can make it work. While their independence is laudable, they sometimes miss out on key best practices.
I sometimes feel the need to intervene in the classroom – especially when social media comes into play. One example is Edmodo. It’s a great tool. People are using it to flip their classrooms, or as a learning management system or even just a class dropbox. But think what happens when someone who doesn’t have the best practice information introduces social media to a group of children…this great tool can be reduced to a toy. So the math teacher who begins to use Edmodo for instructional purposes first has to start correcting posts like “Helloooooo….is anyone on here? It’s Saturday and I’m bored…” . It’s a struggle for both the students and the teacher since these types of posts were “fine” last year when the students were in a younger teacher’s class. One teacher thinks it’s cute that the students are reaching out to each other. The other thinks that kind of nonsense doesn’t belong in an academic setting.
I think about the child who is beginning to build a digital footprint. If we don’t teach them to use technology appropriately, the mistakes they make as youngsters could have long term effects. Teachers can’t have that conversation with students unless they have a deep understanding of the implications of technology use themselves. As a coach, I want to try to help all of my teachers get a sense of what technology can offer in the classroom and not assume that they will do just fine because they are avid tech consumers.
What about you? Are you coaching any millennials? Any thoughts to share?