Background: Children, since 2007, have grown up in an unprecedented information age from Google Classroom and Zoom, to email and texting. From YouTube, to Facebook and Tik-tok to Instagram. All information is supported by the use of several devices, has be sorted, re-sorted, gathered and analyzed, and synthesized into a meaningful, purposeful expression of inquiry on topics that are relevant to the Swipe Generation today.
The Swipe Generation refers to children who grew up after Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007.
I wrote about the Swipe Generation in my book, Andamio! Engaging Hispanic Families for ELL Success Using Brain-Based Learning (Second Edition, 2021). The Swipe Generation refers to children who grew up after Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007. These were the first smartphones one could swipe to buy and ship something, call or text someone, record or video someone or something. One can learn anything at all on their smartphone, anything at-all. Shortly thereafter, Jeff Bezos introduced and released the Kindle electronic book that is read by swiping the screen. Today, tablets such as iPads use applications (apps) that bring platforms of learning to students and the world of Google to find anything.
Project based learning (PBL) has grown over the past 20-25 years to include these devices. Now, students are more proficient that ever, from just paper, pencil, practice, assess and repeat, to a science project at home or school. Education consultant Louise El Yaafouri was not wrong when she reminded us that, “Technology is a great tool, but it is only one modality. Proficiency requires our students to be masters of many modalities, including old-fashioned print and face-to-face exchanges.”
Children need to respond to reading and writing in an effort to think and ask questions, as they receive, perceive, analyze and evaluate ideas and how they fit together in collaboration.
Project-based learning such as Think-write™ Seminar for Kids is a research-based program that includes learning about how the brain thinks and learns, and how-to gather, sort and re-sort, analyze and evaluate information. It engages children in high-interest themes and topics as they learn how to question and search for information both online and in books.
Today, there is a more hybrid or blended learning look in terms of the children exploring both books and the world of technology. Children need to respond to reading and writing in an effort to think and ask questions, as they receive, perceive, analyze and evaluate ideas and how they fit together in collaboration. In the Think-write™program, children have an array of 24-themes to select from for exploration. From there they scaffold a more manageable topic with which to engage, supported by how to move to organization and writing behaviors that produce a research project.
Our children are wondering about the children of Ukraine and how those kids are feeling and living in the middle of a war.
Why PBL? Younger children have a great need to understand how and why a massive pandemic such as COVID-19 affected them and their learning. What is a virus? Why did we have to learn virtually, why parents had a hard time helping their children with virtual-learning? Subsequently, our children are wondering about the children of Ukraine and how those kids are feeling and living in the middle of a war. What is Russia? Why do they want to make their country bigger? Other areas of significant and notable interest are enveloped in STEM, and the connection with computers and robots, what they are and how they work; what is happening on Mars? These are some of the newest most interesting themes from our children, to name but a few.
Our future depends on our children’s thinking and learning. Helping children to find out the how-to and why’s and what-for’s takes time and attention in the executive functions of the brain. This requires explicit and systematic instruction. How-to read, write and question, which interdependently wraps the loss of science and social studies critically together in today’s American schools, due to years of standardized testing. The future of our children’s inquiry learning can be interrelated and connected as Bblended learning process through such programs as Think-write™ Seminar for Kids.
Dr. Susan F. Tierno, Ed.D. is the author of ¡Andamio!: Engaging Hispanic Families for ELL Success Using Brain-Based Learning, as well as a series of 7 children’s books. All of her books are available from Andamio Press in both English and Spanish. A longtime educator, scholar and education authority, she specializes in brain-based learning and parent/family engagement. Dr. Tierno is available to speak at your conference or educational event, as well as plan, produce and conduct seminars, workshops and hybrid educational events. Dr. Tierno currently lives in Texas.