The Office of Information Technology hosted a Connected Learner Panel on Wednesday in celebration of Connected Educator Month.
Five Delta State students participated in the discussion moderated by Dr. Carolyn Casale, assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences. The topic was “Connected Learners: Perspectives in Learning with Technology from Millennials and Gen Z.”
The discussion explored how students representing these generations respond to technologies used in online and face-to-face class environments. Panelists shared their motivations in learning with technology, expectations for using technologies in class, and gave insight as to what the future of technology should look like to prepare them for the future.
“It was very interesting to learn how students see things,” said Casale. “Sometimes, as instructors, we aren’t aware of the positive impact we are having. This was very useful information.”
Casale posed several questions to uncover ways instructors are using technology to improve student participation and performance. Students mirrored recent research by indicating that they would benefit from more technology training tutorials, intermittent social media activity, and tools to develop their online research skills. Panelists agreed that campus instructors were moving in the right direction for engaging learners, technology diversity and interaction.
“I am shy and sometimes afraid to speak in class,” said social work major Garyanna Simmons, “But working online in discussions improved my confidence to speak up and participate.”
“Blended formats work best for me because we like the convenience of online, but we need that occasional face-to-face,”said MBA and accounting graduate student Hafsa Alharoon. “Interaction with the professor is very important.”
Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology, said understanding the current technological needs is imperative.
“Gen Z consists of digital natives born between the mid-1990s and 2010, and they are becoming the majority in our college classrooms,” said House. “So if we understand their needs and expectations, we can develop new teaching strategies to challenge them as well as prepare them to work in a world that requires technical proficiency.”
Learn more about Connected Educator Month at http://www.connectededucators.org.