During the last weekend in January of 2008, Barry Hill, Joel Kline, Mike Fry, and Jim Duffy attended the Educause Learning Initiative Conference in San Antonio. For me, (Barry), it represented a completely unexpected mindshift in my perspective on how students approach not just learning, but life in general. I have not generally used a great deal of technology in the classroom, and only viewing it as a tool to simply supplement what we do in our classes. It finally dawned on me that students don't just use technology, they live it and don't even think about it. They obtain information, collaborate with friends, and generate content in a totally digital media world. In other words,
they simply think and operate differently from us old people, and it's difficult to wrap our minds around this concept. We got enough of a taste at ELI to finally convince me that we must consider students' perspectives, perceptions, and preferences to better connect. We need to shift from students-as-content-receptacles to students-as-content-producers. We need to better utilize class time by time-shifting one-directional lecture content to podcasts, freeing our valuable face-time for more productive, interactive activities. We need to reorganize our classrooms for more collaborative work - work that is authentic and real for students to dig into. Long lectures, quiet study, and exams just aren't very relevant in today's real world. Individuals must learn how to interact, collaborate, create, and solve problems. This will require some significant re-thinking of how we show up to class Monday morning at 9am.