In looking at the various learning theories and students motivation, teaching the 21st century learner definitely has its challenges but there are also many benefits. With the current tools we have, a teacher can create a Blended learning experience for his or her students, using a constructivist approach, allowing for more student-specific pacing, allowing students to be the constructors of their own learning. A great benefit to teaching the 21st century learner is more collaboration. This is a benefit because not only does it mimic working environments in the workforce, it also allows for more meaningful connections. Various sources in brain research say that collaboration is a great way to learn using personal experience and emotion, transferring a greater percentage of information into the long term memory. Teaching the 21st century learner also means more opportunities for interdisciplinary learning experiences and richer research resources. Oblinger states in her book that the Net Generation possess more tools to research in and out of the classroom, allowing students to not only research a greater source of resources but also to expand their time researching at home, whereas in the past all learning/researching occurred in a set time in a classroom or library. (Oblinger & Oblinger p. 6.4)
In terms of motivation, as Oblinger also states, the Net Generation is also the most dissatisfied with their education. Perhaps this dissatisfaction comes from the cookie cutter education this new generation is receiving. It seems like education still has a great deal to catch up to and while the movement has started, it is still a few years away from being on par with the Net Gen group.
To motivate students, some of the changes that are in the works are creating Blended learning opportunities for students, using devices to allow students to collaborate on group activities and making learning more student paced with google docs/ slides and videos students may watch again and again on their device, compared to years before where the teacher showed the video once on the projector. Motivating a 21st century learner means giving him/her something to shoot for, and endpoint to their learning. Simply working towards an A is not enough, now students work towards a badge, winning a level, earning the highest amount of points, moving up a level. Mr. Brown so eloquently said it in his video, “games embrace change and want to learn. If they are not learning, it ain’t fun”
Edutopia (2013, March 6). John Seely brown on motivating learners (big thinkers series) Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41pNX9-yNu4
Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L. (2005). Educating the net generation. Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE.