The learning mode of students in the future
Leung Ho Chung
CCC Kung Lee College
Hong Kong SAR, China
Nowadays, as the Internet speeds up data processing, students are changing their life patterns, for example in the ways they communicate with friends and learn. They only need to connect the computer to the Internet to search for material, instead of having to find the relevant books in a library. This paper examines future trends in student learning, raising the issue of whether schools should promote a student-centred approach in teaching and learning.
Our school students have always learned from, for example, classroom teaching, books and magazines, but the Internet has created a more recent and very effective way to acquire new knowledge. Also, the Internet meets the demands of students who, in our fast-paced society, want instant answers to questions which interest them. As a result, students sometimes know more about certain topics than their teachers, even in their specialist disciplines.
When the students encounter a problem, they turn to the Internet for an answer. Its significance can be seen in reactions to the impact of an undersea earthquake off the coast of Taiwan on Boxing day 2006 which severely disrupted communications across east Asia by damaging cables and nearly stopped the Internet connection between Hong Kong and the US. Students also communicate with their friends through MSN, and they go to Internet forums such as Yahoo Knowledge Platform (http://hk.knowledge.yahoo.com/), Google, and uwants (http://forum.uwants.com/).
This paper argues for the teacher playing the role of a facilitator, with the problem as the motivator and the Internet as a mediator in student learning. Changing our mode of teaching by letting students use their methods to solve problems first rather than teaching them how to solve them promotes students' skills in both information retrieval and self-directed learning.