When we talk about next-gen teaching, we are simply looking at teaching students of the next generation. By next generation, we are looking at students of the future, whose academic demands will differ significantly from those of today’s students. For teachers to comfortably teach next gen students, they have to, first of all, understand the academic concepts in question; then master some teaching tools for next gen.
Virtually all teaching tools for next gen are technology based since the world is getting more digitized as the days go by. So, in this article, we discuss some of these next-gen tools and methods. But the aim of this piece is not necessarily to create a list of next gen teaching tools but to discuss next-gen learning even as we consider its tools.
Aspects of Next Gen Learning Relevant to Teachers and Students
There are a number of next-gen learning aspects that we can look at to better understand the concept. Let us begin with Learner Engagement.
As the term implies, learner engagement is all about the interaction that happens between the learner or student and the instructor. Students perform best when they are adequately engaged. This concept allows for maximum overflow of knowledge from teachers to students as a result of mutual collaboration through interesting means.
In a way, next gen learning is online learning. The future has been taken over by technology, especially the internet. The online aspect of next gen learning allows for the maximum utilisation of the internet by both teachers and students to make academic work serious.
The Top Teaching Tools for Next Gen
One would expect the teaching schools for next gen to be absolutely technological, but this does not have to, and fortunately is not the case. Here we look at every possible tool, concrete or abstract, that the teachers can use to improve the quality of learning for students of the next generation whose academic demands will be quite different.
On that note, we begin with the very first, which perhaps is the most important of them all: communication.
Communication as a Teaching Tool for Next-Gen
In virtually every field of endeavour, be it academics or entrepreneurship or entertainment, or even sports, communication remains a very vital tool for success. Academics as a field relies heavily, if not solely, on communication; as a matter of fact, that is what happens every day globally between students and teachers in classrooms.
However, communication, as it relates to next gen, has to be a little bit different. It should, and fortunately, is getting improved. To communicate effectively to next gen students, not only does the teacher have to improve his or her game, but the technological tools of communications must be put in place.
Since next gen communication demands slightly differ from today’s own, the instructor has to depend more on newer innovative tools that:
- Are easy to use
- Are cheap to produce
- Can be used to communicate information and knowledge to students wherever they are.
- Are fast enough to match the speed of a fast-paced world.
- Allow for continuing education even in off-semester periods.
To this end, I see instructors relying more and more on chat software’s and applications such as:
- QQ Chat and more.
Social Media as a Teaching Tool for Next-Gen
Like I have implied in my previous educational articles, it is high time we stopped seeing the social media as a place of fun and jokes. It is true that we often hang out on these social media accounts once in a while to cool off the heat of life’s tussle, but there is more to it than all that.
Social media can be used to our advantage in terms of business, religion, publicity, and, of course in our academics. How exactly does social media help next gen students perform well in their academics? We are about to find out.
On various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Google+ and their likes, there exists a mechanism that allows people to create pages, groups, rooms, circles, or whatever name they may go by. In these groups, learning takes place online. Although this is all different from the casual classroom learning, it comes closest to it.
Apart from the atmosphere of teacher-student learning it creates, it also avails students the opportunity to learn from other educational authorities. For instance, students can tap into the excess knowledge that pours forth daily from Facebook pages of popular educational authorities like Academia.edu, Schoology and their likes.
Trialogical Learning as a Teaching Tool For Next Gen
In the days of Socrates, learning was monological. Here, the sage sits his students down and begins his sermon. He speaks for hours and they are usually not allowed to question as this is often perceived as a rude interruption. It was like this for several centuries before a little improvement was recorded in the system. Next came dialogical learning.
In dialogical learning, there is at least enough room for both teachers and students to participate in the learning process almost equally. Rather than sitting down to receive instructions as though they are lifeless statues, students dialogue with their instructors. This is a proven method of facilitating a smoother learning.
The pinnacle of the whole thing is the trialogical learning, which I see becoming the dominant force in next gen learning. Here, the whole thing goes beyond dialogues as students and teachers approach the learning process with a collaborative effort. The teacher does his part; the delivery of his lessons, then gives room for discussions while allowing every member of the class to develop or contribute creatively to the lessons being taught.
Other Teaching Tools for Next Gen
The teaching tools for next gen already discussed have more to do with the cognitive, the psychological, and the mentality of teachers and students than it has to do with hardware.
However, it will be inappropriate to discuss teaching tools for next gen without mentioning some technological aspects to it. This is where we talk about other tools such as:
- Learning apps
- Learning websites
- Powerpoint Slides
- Youtube videos
…and the rest of them.