Nowadays, the traditional concept of teachers should teach and students should listen to is disappearing. Indeed, due to technological and digital development, students have become active learners, or better, digital natives.
With the beginning of the 21st century, the Internet and search engine bots such as Google and Bing have become new tools for students to acquire knowledge. As well as this, technologies have grown around universities and, currently, most students who are attending lectures use their mobile phones when they are in class.
Despite these digital changes, traditional classes still exist. Nevertheless, these lectures have been supplemented by blended learning, Massive Open Online Courses and flipped classrooms. As well as this, the Internet and all its related resources have become a support for both lecturers and students.
Although technologies can be very beneficial in the education sector, over the latest few years, it has been noted that students are paying less attention when they are in class and sometimes they even don’t attend their timetabled lectures. The reason behind these behaviours is justified by the fact that some students believe that there is no longer a need to attend classes, as they have multimedia content and resources at their fingertips, thanks to the Internet. As well as this, they can easily study whenever and from wherever they want to be able to fit their study in their busy lives. This suggests that teachers may not be the main source of knowledge anymore and they have been somewhat replaced by the Internet. In addition, technologies have improved communications among people and learners do not need to go to the campus anymore to communicate with their peers or work on a group project.
Is there a solution to this issue? Can teachers still engage with students?
The answer is yes; however, teachers should revolutionise their teaching methodologies in order to start re-engaging with learners.
Firstly, they should start organising their classes in a creative way. Making a lecture seem like an entertaining performance piece could be a way to grab students’ attention and invite them to attend lectures. Also, this methodology can capture their curiosity and make learners interested in deepening different topics by using their digital resources. Furthermore, creative classes can be seen as special occasions in which students will get rid of their mobile phones for a couple of hours and enjoy engaging more with different topics.
Finally, it is also important that teachers consider technology as a support source for their classes. Indeed, the Internet can help them find new interesting resources which are able to make their content more engaging.