Media Literacy and Digital Natives

“Digital native” is a term often applied to the so-called “Millennial” generation, those people born in the 1980s and 1990s who grew up and came of age in a time of rapid digital growth. Millennials, particularly the younger half, have been exposed since childhood to computers, the Internet, cell phones, video games, and electronic gadgets, creating the expectation that  they have a natural fluency and ease with digital devices and environments. Indeed, many have taken on expertise that surpasses their parents’, to become the technological advisors of their household. This has led to several assumptions about Millennials: that they can process and sort information easily, can do anything online more easily than previous generations, and that they are always online, creating and consuming content.

Current perspectives on Millennial media use show us a more nuanced picture. Here are three points that can help us approach how we teach the Millennial generation:

  1. First, the way Millennials approach media is not wholly different from previous generations: for entertainment, access to information, consumption and creation of content, and social interaction. What sets apart younger generations is that all these things can now be accomplished online, where previously they might have been found through television, radio, telephone, and previously print-only media. (Kilian, Hennigs and Langer)
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Teaching & Technology in 2013

Upcoming events and incoming technology for 2013 at the University of Toronto:

U of T has recently signed licensing agreements with webconferencing solutions. Echo360 is a lecture capture software that enables video-on-demand and live web-based broadcasting. Bb Collaborate allows for live synchronous “virtual” classrooms.

CTSI is offering three workshops this term for instructors – Making the Most of Faculty-TA Relationship: Working Effectively with TAs, Shouldn’t They Already Know How to Do That? Scaffolding Instruction to Meet Diverse Needs and Abilities While Maintaining High Expectations, and Assembling a Teaching Dossier.

Fundamentals of University Teaching is an 8-week course designed for faculty who have an interest in improving their teaching and furthering their understanding of teaching and learning at the University of Toronto.

Registration is open for the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP)’s Winter Workshop Series. There are 16 workshops between January 21st and the end of March, including Active Learning Methods in the Sciences and Engineering, Effective Communication with Your Course Instructor: Building Positive Working Environments, and Get em’ Talking: How to Plan and Run Discussion-based Tutorials.

The Course Design Institute for Doctoral Students will be held on February 20 & 21, 2013. This institute will introduce the principles of integrated course design to senior doctoral students who must either face teaching a course for the first time or who would like to hone their course development skills and overhaul a course they’ve already taught.