As every Tuesday, the classroom was full. It was already ten minutes from the start time when the teacher entered. Sheltered by the green board, he began teaching his weekly master class: a continuous verbiage of two hours and repeated year after year for more than 15 years at the university.
After no more than half an hour, a daring student raised her hand. His smartphone that he used to always be online with his friends used that moment to contrast information that the professor gave so vehemently.
The student wanted to interrupt the teacher to clarify and expand the information she was throwing to the class. After such insistence, the teacher listened to her and stunned nodded. What the girl said was true.
From that moment, the professor knew that “his truth” was not everyone’s, and that together they could build a new truth. Not worse, nor better, but a more plural truth, with multiple points of view and, of course, multiscreen .
This narrative, which can be an anecdote without further ado, is the concern of many education professionals, it is a symptom of what is happening today in institutes and universities.
In this scenario the attitude of the students is conjugated in conjunction with the daily screens for leisure and also for the study: smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, laptops, electronic whiteboards, etc. coexist among us, capable of flooding our time in complex transactions of entertainment, study and work: portable, fast, ubiquitous and in real time. Reception operations but, above all, round-trip operations: a constant, realistic dialogue that needs a lot of attention.
The faculty of our institutes and universities know that everyday screens are not only for leisure; They also know, and increasingly, that they are joining the classroom. We are not talking about an extended practice –not well understood–, but what is certain is that the screens raise a lot of concern in the institutes and universities.
Similarly, many parents / guardians at home do not know how to control the exposure time of their children, but also do not know when they use it for study. Multiscreen consumption has become a real headache in the exercise of parental control , although this is a different issue than the one at hand.
Technology to expand knowledge
It is true that (the no longer) new technologies amplify the experience in the acquisition of knowledge: the information is dynamic (videos, chat), collaborative (all contents can be built –wiki–), immediate (continuous evaluation, constant contact) and, of course, our students can access a universe of information of different qualities.
It seems that teachers should be at the forefront of technology. For several years, European universities have been immersed in the so-called European Higher Education Area , whose objective is to provide the old continent with a homogeneous, compatible and flexible university system that allows students greater mobility, transparency and quality through evaluation systems that make it attractive and competitive in the international arena.
Professional digital competence
There is a consensus that teachers are the key figures for the successful application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in school. Some researchers talk about the need for a better interpretation of professional digital competence that takes into account social and cultural aspects in relation to technology, schools and the teaching profession.
Other research speaks of the fact that digital teaching competence transcends individual teacher training. Thus, the European framework emphasizes that teachers have to train students in the application of digital technologies in a “critical and responsible way in terms of information, communication, content generation, welfare and problem solving”.
Only good intentions
Despite good intentions, it has been detected that the proposals lack a pedagogical approach that serves as a theoretical basis for them, according to Spanish researchers . This study concludes that there is still much to be done in terms of teacher training in ICT that will facilitate strategies for the development of these skills.
In this sense, teaching innovation is on the agenda of universities . It is a space to share experiences and meet new working methodologies with our students. Also to convert old practices where we can educate, evaluate and monitor the training of our youth, within the complex landscape of digital convergence .
It is necessary to clarify that the ecology of media is wide and easily mutates; instead, methodological dynamics do so at a lower speed. These are structures with a longer lifespan than such a platform and application or which program.
Here is the problem: how to make compatible the learning rhythms (of slow digestion) with the overwhelming technological changes of the (no longer so) new technologies (changing supply, impulsive and brief) and incorporate them into the pedagogical routines, to the way of knowledge acquisition. And now the knowledge seems more visual, collaborative, and fun , where the senses, different formats and languages are combined.
Improve student training
The screens have come to stay, whether in the form of a smartphone , tablet or smart watches. They coexist with each other as contact and dialogue interfaces for leisure, education and work. The (no longer so) new technologies allow us to combine new dynamics in the training of our students.
So, to the question of whether our young people have greater competencies in the use – and abuse – of ICT, the answer seems obvious. What does not have to have an expanding young mind is the ability to discern, contrast and have criteria on multiscreen consumption.
Author Bio: Héctor Navarro-Güere is a Full professor Area of specialization: digital convergence, Universitat de Vic – Central University of Catalonia