We’ve all heard it before: “This generation is different.”

The other day, I was in a school that was in the middle of an instructional period; however, students were in the hallways on their iPads having a group discussion. Some were also sitting in the cafeteria doing more than just eating—they were researching on their Chromebooks! It had somewhat of a college feel: It took me back to the days of meeting classmates on the quad to review for our midterms. The National Education Association cites research showing that cooperation leads to higher achievement and productivity and an array of social benefits. I witnessed this happening.

Learning is no longer confined to the classroom; it’s occurring anywhere and anytime. That being said, using tools that are commonplace in the life of a child are vital.

“Anytime learning” gives students the ability to learn at their own pace and in the convenience of their own home or on the go. With resources such as ClassFlow, teachers have the ability to upload assignments and post reminders, and students can access this information anywhere with an internet connection—again, allowing the use of smartphones, tablets, etc. This opens a new world of teaching and learning possibilities for both teachers and students.
For some, teaching the iGeneration comes natural, but for others, it can be intimidating. The good news is that becoming a more connected educator has never been easier.
Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Follow future-forward technology education organizations, vendors, etc. on social media like NEA, ISTE, Learn Promethean or #chalrottedanielsonframework to name a few.
  2. Join an EdCamp or an “Unconference.”
  3. Become a member of ISTE, a Promethean Lead Teacher, a Google Certified Educator, etc.
  4. Subscribe to educator blogs that share ideas, experiences, and tools that can be used in the classroom. This is probably my favorite way to stay connected and “with it.”

Connecting to other educators creates inspiration that can spread throughout a school building to the students, administration, and parents, thus fostering ongoing professional development.

Author: Kate Mazzota specializes in secondary education in language arts and reading and has a background in Response to Intervention and urban populations. Kate was awarded the 2012 Top 30 Teacher of the Year in Duval County, Florida.