Guest Blog: What Emerging Technologies Do Adolescents Need?

Insight from School District Technology Director and CalPoly SLO Instructor: What Emerging Technologies Do Adolescents/ College Students Need To Be Exposed To?

“For some, new technologies have been such a defining feature in the lives of younger generations that they predict a fundamental change in the way young people communicate, socialize, create and learn. They argue that this shift has profound implications for education” (e.g. Prensky, 2001a; Rainie, 2006; Gibbons, 2007; Underwood, 2007). Adapted from Helsper, E., & Eynon, R. (2010). Digital Natives: Where Is the Evidence?

Our students thrive in a world of technology, and it seems counter intuitive to instruct them in an environment without it. My role in teaching technology to college students has been paralleled with my experience as a Technology Director enhancing technology in a small school district in California.

K-12 Education needs to prepare students to become digital content creators and consumers. The use of mobile devices create anytime anywhere learning that extends the educational setting beyond the classroom. Student learners leverage the power of technology through the use of mobile computing.

College students need full throttle instruction on how to augment technology in education. My class at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo explores research and theory on how children and adolescents use digital technologies, and its influences on cognitive, social, and identity development. The college students I work with value current technologies to help them in career choices and pursuing higher education.

I use a myriad of technology competencies to facilitate learning at Cal Poly and Coast Unified School District. Some areas covered are computer  science programming, robotics, web design, augmented reality, app development, photoshop skills, video production, and research based technology.   Useful emerging technologies for adolescents and college students include:

1. Understanding Creative Commons and Social Sites like Twitter

2. Basic Computer Programming (10 of the Best Online Programming Tools for Students)

3. Computing with mobile devices such as an iPad and the mobile operating system

4. Leveraging Kickstarter to create your own business

5. Using modern, Cloud-Based Web Design such as Squarespace

6. Creating Apps for mobile devices. One such resource is Buzztouch

7. Editing and using video as a vehicle for learning and creating content. Khan Academy is one proven example.

The structure of technology in the 21st century is fast paced and we must help students adapt. The surging culture of innovation in communities and schools can enhance student learning. We can prepare our students/ future teachers for a world that is creating jobs and enhancing workforce strategies through technology.

Henry Danielson is a Lecturer/Technology Lab Instructor at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, and the Director of Technology at Coast Unified School District in Cambria, California. Mr. Danielson can be reached @


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