Have you ever been at a gathering (dinner party, meeting with team members, etc) and begun the discussion of how people are getting their information? Who reads the newspaper still (snickers and scornful glances commence NOW); who can’t live without their smartphone?
The Daily Newspaper in your lap or the smartphone between your thumbs
We all have had this conversation, probably recently, and our reaction to the responses says a lot about how we think about new vs. old media. You can skew generational and make blanket statements about the information onslaught easily digested by Generation Y and the up-and-down journeys with older consumers and new media models. But let’s get beyond that and look a little more in depth at the question.
Do You See What We See?
We at Highlighter notice these differences even among ourselves. While I love technology and new media, I am less likely to send long texts to people; very unlikely to want to read any links to stories on my smartphone browser; and would prefer to communicate via email instead of Facebook. I also seem to write with semi-colons way too much as well.
Our founders are all in their late twenties (I am a half-generation older) and communicate nearly exclusively via texting, chatting via Facebook, IM, or Skype. They also have no qualms reading extensively on their smartphones, including long articles and even books. One study which refers to this style and mode of communicating for Gen Y learners says 38% of students say they cannot go 10 minutes without checking their tablet, computer, smartphone or e-reader. To each his own, for sure. And to us, well, we will figure it out.
We see and hear about these differences disparities on campuses, as well. I had the pleasure of meeting an innovative teacher at the recent South by Southwest EDU meeting in Austin this spring, Jeff Graybill, English Professor at Michigan State, he mentioned in a great presentation at SXSW EDU that some students are actually writing and composing essays ON THEIR SMARTPHONES.
A huge chunk of the faculty seemed outraged by this, Jeff mentioned. But why? Is not the goal to get students to become better reader and writers, no matter how they achieve that? Is a written work any less worthy of merit if it is jotted out via a phone or instant messaging system. You tell us.
What’s Going On?
Source: The Flipped Classroom
So, how do students and learners read the data teachers assign, and how do faculty figure into this discussion? With the recent news from Apple, some believe that the revolution will all come from the iBookstore and the iPad. Others want to avoid being device specific and simply create course content, easily exportable into any format- pdf, word document, epub, etc. “Lead with the teaching and the teacher, follow up with the technology and device,” is another current movement.
The idea of a Flipped Classroom, though originating several years ago, is becoming talked about more and more. In this scenario, classroom time is spent on answering questions and holding discussions around homework and other topics.
Time out of class is spent on lecture topics, watching video lectures, etc. We like this model in particular because it emphasizes how students best consume data and how students interact with content best as well. The terrific videos from the Khan Academy are a huge driver in this movement as well. And now, the videos from Ted Talks have been repurposed as Flipped Classrooms as well. Again, these companies which address the evolving style of student learners will find attentive students and great success in the educational industry as well.
Skate to Where the Puck will Go, Not Where It Is
We think about this point around the Highlighter office all the time, especially how our students and learners will read our content. We want to be where students want to be. Yes, we will make sure that we can always be viewed on a desktop or laptop; but also, we will be increasingly mobile, as students are skating and leaning towards this way as well. Here are some tenents that we believe in, think about, and are motivated to provide when it comes to content:
- Highlighter is and will be viewable and “highlight-able” on desktops and PCs, tablets, smartphones and any other future device not yet designed.
- Highlighter is always accessible, always safe and secure on our cloud.
- Highlighter is and will be fully compliant in regards to accessibility and student security issues, such as accessibility and privacy federal laws (ADA and FERPA).
- Highlighter lets you control your data, as a teacher or student, at any time. Always.
Where students and learners are — that’s where Highlighter will be as well. Join us in the journey and read and write about it on any device you prefer!