The Internet has only been around for 10 years, yet it has profoundly changed the way we live, work and entertain ourselves.
Particularly for children, they have readily adapted to this technology so much so, that teachers and educators are finding that their traditional based curriculums are leaving kids bored. These are the kids who are used to surfing, instant messenging and downloading digital music.
Of course, older JW students are also finding out just how great that "Net" thing is.
Consider a recent news article...
Teaching in the Wireless Cloud
Students with mobile devices are slowly redefining some fundamental campus rules.
During the 1990s, American colleges gradually admitted instructional technology into campus life. Now these schools are catching the m-learning wave, building wireless infrastructures, and experimenting with pilot programs. New ways of learning are emerging as wireless education unfolds.
The most controversial instance of m-learning occurs in the traditional classroom, when students gain access to wireless connectivity. Some professors report frustration at students' wandering attention, as Minesweeper or instant messages become more attractive than a lecture. A Texas law professor went so far as to climb a ladder to disconnect a wireless access point. Others turn to technologies that beam students' desktops to a projector, using the threat of embarrassment as attention enforcement.
Different instructors feel constructively challenged by the wireless environment. They consider wandering attention as feedback on their classroom presence, a goad to energize their presentation. They welcome wirelessly enhancing the Internet's already established educational benefits: googling a topic for deeper information, posting to discussion fora, exploring on-line class materials, producing better notes and compositions.
Portable computing experiments have also struck the classroom. The University of Minnesota Duluth has taught several computer science classes using PocketPCs, where faculty and TAs wrote eighty applications for students' iPaqs, then added reference materials for CS-1511. Students learned with these tools, while collaborating via handheld email and beaming. East Carolina University medical students stored, annotated, and shared medical information on Visors. They appreciated improved note-taking (making up for proverbially bad handwriting) and ready-to-hand references. Virginia Tech deployed a simulation game to Cybiko handholds in 2002.
Students equipped with mobile and wireless devices are reshaping the classroom environment. Spaces structured by static rows of computer desks, with screens or bulky monitors blocking views, are increasingly obsolete. Instead students can sit where they like, depending on the instructor's flexibility. A class can change quickly from a lecture to a small group discussion or lab format, while retaining the full powers of computer-mediated communication. Instructors project notes on a wall, talking through a sequence of points, then break the class up to pursue team projects or discussions. In my experience, learners quickly arrange themselves in ways conducive to their comfortable conversation and writing, rather than following the dictates of pre-arranged furniture (which is often hostile to the best learning).
As educational spaces change, so does learning time. The traditional class works on a two-step information access schedule, alternating between an isolated classroom and an out-of-class connection to the full world of information via libraries and the internet. Always-on connectivity allows learners to blur those two modes, hitting the internet on demand or in mid-discussion, texting classmates (and instructors) at any time.
Outside the classroom, wireless connectivity's effects on a given campus' life depend on rollout strategies. Many schools have launched pilot programs in limited areas, such as a library, science building, or student center. Awareness of connectivity clouds attracts users to those spots for reasons personal (IM to friends) and academic (check class discussion). Leading the way in developing wireless practices are members of a community anchored in such locations, including reference librarians in a library, and students living in a dorm. At a broader level, other universities, such as Dartmouth and American, support extensive, even campus-wide coverage . Classroom- and library-identified work spills into the rest of college space. Research sessions take place on lawns, collaborative writing on the steps of buildings, group work distributed across an entire campus.
The notion of college as a separate space removed from the world, already weakened by the internet, is further sapped by mobile access to the world beyond the ivory tower. The campus becomes a different place when a student can connect with a content expert anywhere in the world from the steps of a gym, or compare notes with a student on another continent from a classroom doorway. The full potentials of this format are still being explored - how will faculty and student behaviors change when they can carry most of their work around in digital, connected formats, and communicate as effectively from a quad bench as from an office? How much more attractive and supported will inter-campus collaborative learning become?
This news article raises some interesting points for JW kids and students in school...
What's to stop JW students from researching their religion?
What's stopping the peers of JW students from researching Jehovah's Witnesses and presenting their findings?
An interesting comment in this article that particularly got my attention is the following...
The notion of college as a separate space removed from the world, already weakened by the internet, is further sapped by mobile access to the world beyond the ivory tower.
Now, let's reword this...
The notion of The Watchotwer Society as a separate organization removed from the world, already weakened by the internet, is further sapped by mobile access to the world beyond the ivory tower.
Is it any wonder that the Society had to make a DVD, entitled, "Young People - What Will You Do With Your Life?"
My friend who saw this DVD, said that the Society is encouraging JW youths to take courses IN HIGH SCHOOL to get a job, such as secretary schools, auto mechanics, electrical engineering, RATHER THAN GOING TO COLLEGE.
I guess in this way, the JW who does all his career moves in high school, will not go to college and be taught to think critically, to be creative and to do thorough research. Not suggesting that this doesn't happen in high school, but college and university take this to a much higher level.
Do you think the younger generation of JW's will pose a threat to the Society? What do I mean by threat?
Well, what happens if they tell their parents what they found on the Internet on Jehovah's Witnesses?
What happens if they leave when they see the truth?
Then, the Society will lose its futures leaders, elders, servants, pioneers and Bethelites.
Within a generation or two , the Society will be all grey hair and little else.