Bernardo M. Villegas
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It Is This Way, Grandpa

           If you're over sixty and have grandchildren who are four to six years old, you could have been the addressee of the five-letter words making up the title of this column.  The  little tot's innocent remarks must have been surely about the use of a tablet or a smart phone.  It is common among families in the rapidly expanding middle class of the Philippines for children barely out of the cradle to be more skillful than their grandparents in handling the ever expanding array of consumer products spawned by the digital era.  These digital natives will face a completely different world of technology in the way they are educated, entertained, informed, and managed at work from that of the generation of the 1960s.

          This was dramatically illustrated by the recent announcement of Jack Ma, Chief Executive and founder of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, who was stepping back from the CEO position of the company he founded.  He said that at  the "old' age of 48, he is no longer young enough to run such a fast-growing business.  Although he is not leaving entirely, retaining the role of executive chairman of Alibaba, he and some other top managers will hand over part of the company's reins to those born in the 1970s and 1980s.   He opines that those who are below 40 have a better ability to understand the future and a better chance of seizing  the opportunities that the future would provide.  As children are introduced to the internet and other forms of digital technology even before they reach the age of reason, leaders in this digital era will get younger and younger.

          Parents  who want to know what the future holds for their children would be interested in attending lectures that will be in given in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo by the author of the best-selling books such as "Understanding the Digital Generation:  Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape," "Teaching the Digital Generation:  No more Cookie Cutter High Schools," and "Literacy Is Not Enough:  21st Century Fluencies for the Digital Age."  The guru of digital natives, Ian Jukes, has worked with clients in more than 40 countries and made more than 8,000 presentations typically speaking to between 300,000 to 350,000 people annually.  Teachers and parents in the Philippines will finally have a chance to listen to his presentations when he visits the Philippines from January 30 to February 2, 2013.

          Catalyst for Professional Development will host Mr. Jukes for the three-city tour:  Waterfront Hotel in Cebu on January 30, Rose Memorial Auditorium in CPU, Jaro, Iloilo on February 1 and SMX Convention Center in Pasay on February 2.  The conference entitled "Teaching the Digital Generation:  Powerful Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Learners" will run from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m in the three venues.  Each workshop will begin by exploring the effect digital bombardment has on digital kids in the new digital landscape and will consider the profound implications this holds for the future of education.  What does the latest neuroscientific and psychological research tell us about the role of intense and frequent experiences on the brain, particularly the young and impressionable brain?  On the basis of research findings, what inferences can be drawn about kids' digital experiences and how are these experiences wiring and shaping their cognitive processes?   More importantly, what are the implications for teaching, learning and assessment in the new digital landscape? And most importantly for parents, what are the implications for child rearing, especially the inculcation of virtues and values? 

          The presentations would provide a comprehensive profile of ten core learning attributes of digital learners and ten core teaching and  learning strategies that can be used to appeal to their digital lifestyle and learning preferences.  The presentations than would look at the modern workplace and examine the new entry skills students will need to be successful in the digitally infused working environment.  Parents in their twenties and thirties need some answers to the following very relevant questions:  How has the world of work changed? How is it likely to change in the future?  What are the new thinking skills workers will require?  And how must we shift instruction to ensure we are equipping our students with these skills?  A new model of instruction to address these issues would then be introduced by Mr. Jukes.

          Participants will leave the presentations with a clearer understanding of various research-based strategies that can be used to optimize learning by the digital generation in the evolving digital landscape that they face.   Both parents and educators will have a common understanding of how they can address learning standards and improve test scores, while at the same time, meeting both curricular goals and preparing students with the skills, knowledge and understanding that go beyond content recall in order to meet the new realities of the 21st Century. A question I would personally ask Mr. Jukes concerns the impact of digital technology on the completely indispensable role of the humanities in the whole-person formation of every individual.

          Tickets may be purchased at P400 each.  This price covers certificate, seminar kit and snacks.  For information on how to reserve tickets, and how to avail of discounts, interested parties may visit the Catalyst website at www.catalystmanila.org or call Mann Rentoy at 0908-864-8491.  For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia.