Usable Knowledge

Technology and Youth: A Remix that is Changing the Education Landscape

By Maria Fusaro 06/23/2009 1:42 PM EST | 11 Comments

New technological tools are expanding — and fundamentally altering — the ways students can interact with the world. Helen Haste, visiting professor at HGSE, offers some provocative views of the implications for education that stem from new means for accessing information, communicating with others, and participating in a community. In these video segments, building on her four decades of , Haste describes the 21st century student as a collaborative tool user who needs a new brand of competences to thrive within a changing environment.

The student as tool-user

In this first clip, contrasts two ways of conceptualizing the student. In one view, the learner is an individual problem-solver, using logic to work through puzzles independently. In the other view, learners are tool-users, collaborating with others using cultural resources, including technological tools.

Technology and youth participation

The 2008 U.S. election and the street protests in Iran may signal a new era of youth engagement with civic concerns—it’s too soon to say. But from Internet-organized rallies to Twitter-borne bulletins, it is clear that new digital technology is expanding the ways youth can participate in the political process. Participating in public protests and getting involved in single-issue politics are only a subset of the ways youth may demonstrate concern for the community. In this clip, Haste discusses four distinct patterns of youth participation she has identified through a sustained series of surveys, interviews, and related research on civic participation. She also discusses the school’s role in shaping students into competent citizens, able to be effective participants in the larger community.

Now it’s your turn. We welcome your comments on technology and youth engagement in politics and the community.

Five competences for adapting to a changing world

Helen Haste argues that citizens of the future need to be able to adapt to change, to use new and old tools effectively, and to be confident that they can act in effective ways. In this clip, Haste describes five competences that will be important for students in the 21st century, and should be developed in school.

Rethinking the landscape of education

The British government invited Helen Haste and other leading researchers to report on how technological change will affect education into the future—beyond the year 2025. In their report, Beyond Current Horizons, Haste and her colleagues focused on implications for youth identity, community, and citizenship. In this clip, she describes how the lessons learned from this experience, together with her model of the human as tool user, have led her to rethink the landscape of education.

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  • Gabrielle Thomas

    My research at UCLA was focused on technology and the socio-sexual development of the adolescent female into womanhood. What I have found, is a direct corrolation between technology and an accelerating teen sexuality trend. With the decimation of the COPA (child online protection act) this past January 2009, came a series of stories related to teens, tech and sex. “Sext messaging” and crackdowns of sex offenders/pedophiles on social networking sites like MySpace surely made headlines. Yet and still, no action has been taken to address underlying issues as to why kids are behaving in this way. Certainly, there are several reasons, the most relevant being the unrestricted availability of pornographic websites. Without copa guidelines in place, anyone can access internet porn in the palm of their hand via cell phones. In this way, technology has become a convenient pedagogical tool from whence teens learn how to “perform” the adult.
    Gabrielle Thomas

  • Margaret Mercer

    These are absolutely brilliant insights. Thank you. As a college educator it is my job to engage students with useful technology before these students opt to tune out of education altogether.
    M. Mercer

  • Mary pree

    I think that our students are tool users but our school system is lost in an older paradigm.
    Mary Pree

  • Frank Withrow

    Digital technology will change the organization and structure of learning just as the printing press did in the past. Modern schools and learning will be even more accessible than the universal public school system is today. It is up to educational leaders to be wise enough to use these digital tools in the learning process. Traditional schools will remain a part of the process but teaming and interaction with the digital world will become the norm in the learning systems of our youth. Project based learning may include participants from around the world working as team members.
    Frank Withrow

  • Feraille Cowan

    At Yokohama International School where I work, we are rapidly approaching one laptop for every two children. Students are taking charge of leading the instruction of the learning tools and collaborating to research and represent their understanding in a variety of ways. It is becoming the role of teacher therefore to pose problems for them to address and think about. I don’t think the problem solving necessarily comes naturally as they will sit and be lecured to and expect all the answers from you. Problem solving is, however at the core of learning as it offers experience with concepts.
    Feraille Cowan

  • Jeffery Zujie Shang

    Emotional and rational both are important parts of education. Liberate students’ minds from technology, we are the owners not the slavers of technology. To learn history can makes us smart and gives us wisdom, that’s the way of developing creative thinking. Culture is a key element of education both in language and custom of different countries, it will enlights our life. Technology will not change the way we think, but the tools we use to communicate.
    Jeffery Zujie Shang

  • Edson Monteiro

    Congratulations for the outstanding report.
    All the best,

  • tramky

    It is not at all clear to me that many of the technologies that have come to be at our disposal are beneficial, and in fact it is clear that many of them are detrimental to social development of young people–even dangerous.
    Cell phones and MP3 players are involved in an increasing number of highway deaths as drivers–particularly young drivers–fiddle with these devices and lose awareness and/or control of the vehicle.
    We just learn that a study of Twitter reveals that most of the traffic in tweets is categorized as ‘pointless babble’.
    We see large numbers of people who are on cell phones while driving or walking around town. What the HECK are they talking about all the time, and WHY? It is my view that much if this is, in actuality, aberrant behavior.
    This began in the world of employment with pagers (remember those nasty little things?!), when many employees of all kinds were forced by their employers to be reachable 24/7. It is not clear when it was decided–and who decided it–that rank-and-file employees were obliged to be available & on the job 24/7. But it IS clear that these technologies made all of this nonsense possible, even ubiquitous.
    We have created a culture of co-dependent twits who can’t think without having a cell phone stuck in their ear, who can’t act without making sure 6 other people agree after an exchange of text messages or tweets.
    Some call this collaboration taken to the level of an art form–I call it, well, pointless babble.

  • Scott Lovingood

    I think the foundation for thinking has to be established before we concern ourselves with being problem solvers or tool users. If we develop a strong curiosity in children they will learn to be both tool users and problem solvers.
    Creating a foundation in logic, analysis, and reasoning, will allow them to adapt as the world changes.
    The tools they have will change and evolve. The skills required to be successful won’t. Learning to learn, being able to execute, planning, thinking logically, these will never go out of style.

  • Michael Reber

    As a former HGSE Project Zero Participant, it is great news that Helen Haste has joined their team. I will be giving a lecture in the School of Engineering and IT at Aoyama Gakuin University in Japan in the coming weeks and I will be making reference to Helen’s work and hopefully these ideas will be incorporated into curricular development for their high school.
    Michael Reber
    HGSE PZ Participant, 2001

  • Carlos Burnes

    There are many models that we, as great educators, currently use in our classrooms. I believe that the mental model is one of the great models because it challenges students to focus on education and receive resources from the community. Tools used such as technology will only enhance students’ logical, technical, and analytical skills. In turn, they will be great contributors to their community and society.
    The mental model is actually a circle of life with direction. This cognitive approach aids students’ mental capability to become interpersonally motivated while solving problems. Technology does contribute to enhancing students’ learning process. Now, students can become a resource to their society.

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