On my way home from work recently I listened to a Radio National broadcast. The speaker was giving his view on the current younger generation of "digital natives". A digital native (to the more experienced of us) describes a person who was born more recently when technology was well developed and they have grown up with a sense of comfort, appreciation and ease with the use of technology. Whereas, the more elderly of us, born especially in the 70's or before, are considered to be "digital immigrants". This term describes people who were not born in a truly technological...
On my way home from work recently I listened to a Radio National broadcast. The speaker was giving his view on the current younger generation of "digital natives". A digital native (to the more experienced of us) describes a person who was born more recently when technology was well developed and they have grown up with a sense of comfort, appreciation and ease with the use of technology. Whereas, the more elderly of us, born especially in the 70's or before, are considered to be "digital immigrants". This term describes people who were not born in a truly technological age and therefore tend to view the rapid increase of technology and its devices with a sense of trepidation and in some cases, almost fear. As I listened, the old adage of what was once called the generation gap sprung to my mind. One of the great parts of my job as a teacher is that I am constantly surrounded by young people. This allows me to work in a vibrant, energetic and exciting environment. I am constantly amazed at what is available to our young men through the many mobile devices that they carry. I am also taken aback by the volume of information that is available to them at the touch of a button and how rapidly the devices change or the growth and development of apps and programs to impart the volume of information. There is little doubt that our young men have a far more global view of the world than I ever had.
The broadcaster was also very complimentary about the value and positives of having such technology. However, he also balanced this with another view. He spoke of the concept of "Infobesity". He described infobesity as a contemporary situation whereby we are being bombarded with information from a number of different mediums and variety of sources. The presenter suggested that infobesity was caused by two main reasons: the first being the exponential growth of technology and the devices that are available to pass on information and the subsequent issue of having to have constant information to allow these devices to be useful. He saw the introduction of 24/7 news broadcasts as a good example of this. Once again, the concept of constant news is not an issue on its own, but he argued that this caused many things to become newsworthy when in fact they probably wouldn't ordinarily be such. In turn, this could cause some things to be considered out of proportion or cause anxiety if people are constantly given bad news. One of the strengths of 24/7 news is that we are updated on news from all over the planet. However, the presenter did not necessarily see this as a good thing if that news was always about violent and bad things that are happening.
Once again, it could be argued that infobesity is not a bad thing if people have the ability to sift the news and consider what is important and what is not. The presenter argued that in the case of most adults, this would not be an issue. However, what he did suggest was that so very many of our younger children are open to this through the many devices that they may have from a very young age and that they do not have the skills or knowledge to sift this information. This can cause circumstances where they can become quite anxious about situations that are not of concern to them or they demonstrate an inability to prioritize information, thereby considering all of it at the same level.
At the time, I found what he said to be most interesting and consciously started to look around at the news and technology available to all of us on a minute by minute basis. Today, I can watch a news broadcast and have condensed headlines pass constantly below my screen, I can turn on my computer and the first thing that I might see is the news headlines or headlines about celebrities and what they have done or said (rarely good headlines). I can receive constant messages from people (even those that I do not know) and they have an expectation that I will respond immediately and I can spend an entire 24 hours each day watching screens full of information or entertainment.
I am not familiar with any research that may have been done on the amount of news that is actually good news compared to bad or catastrophic news within broadcasts or headlines. My own experience would suggest that it is by no means a balanced view and that we hear far more bad news than good news. My "takeaway" feeling from this broadcast was that it is so important for adults to ensure that we also constantly give our young men messages of hope and emphasize the good things that also happen. I am sure that they would also benefit from discussions around the dinner table or over the news where they can also learn the ability to prioritize and understand that they are not affected by all that happens and that they often have much to be grateful for in their lives.
Last week, the Queensland State Government announced its new direction for the future of senior schooling and tertiary entrance. This news affects our students who are currently in Year 8 or younger. The announcement was not new to Queensland schools as we have been involved in discussions and workshops within the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) for the past two or more years. However, it is significant news with changes that are akin to the movement from the old ROSBA system. The current student Overall Position (OP) system has been in place since 1992, so many would argue that it was due for a review. That is not to say that some minor changes and refinements did not also occur over this time. The current system has served Queensland students well over a long period of time and will continue to do until the completion of 2018. The new system will also be welcomed with a sense of excitement and change and we will have good time in the coming years to prepare for the changes for the benefit of our current Year 8 cohort. I will continue to update parents about the changes as more information and guidelines come to hand. You can be assured that we will be well prepared for our Year 11 cohort in 2018 as well as still working with determination for our final Year 12 cohort in the same year as they finish the current system.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, our Year 12 students undertook the Queensland Core Skills (QCS) tests. There were four tests spread over the two days including the Writing Task (2 hours), Short Response items (2 hours) and two Multiple Choice tests (90 minutes each). The students have been practising for these tests for some time and their efforts over the two days was most commendable. I would like also to pay particular mention to Mr Chris Campbell for all of his organization and presentation to the students in preparing them for the test and also to Mrs Maxine Nott for her work in assisting with the preparation. The results of these tests will be used to scale the student's school results so that they can be ranked against all of the other Year 12 students across the state. These Overall Position (OP) scores are used to determine tertiary entry for further study at universities and other institutions upon the completion of senior school studies.
In last weekend sports we had very positive results in both Tennis and Basketball against St Laurence's College. Both of our Firsts teams won and our Basketball team is still undefeated, with a further two rounds to play. Most importantly, I see so many of our young men compete each week with a smile on their face and a great sense of comradery. If I can apply my earlier views about prioritizing, at the end of each Saturday we are talking about schoolboy sport, not professional athletes. If each young man can play for enjoyment and compete in a humble and sportsman-like manner and accept the decisions of the referee and coaching staff and learn from what is being said or from their own mistakes, one could assume that "everybody will be a winner", everytime that we compete.