Having taught Geography since 1974, teaching by many methods, and observing the trends, my conclusion is that education has to move to the mobile smart phone. Geography and other topics not reducible to the mobile format are dead in the world of current students.
The current malaise among students appears in politics, geography, and many other topics. As a joke, I was will to blame it on Mayan Calendar fever, but it hints at a deeper change in the operating worlds of students. Students have appeared deader the last two years. Their interest in other peoples and places has dropped. They giggle at people starving. The beauty of mountains and valleys and rivers is of no interest. Solving world problems is not their job. Even when that is the career they have selected to engage, they show little concern for what they will be doing. Knowing anything is a waste of time as they can press a couple of buttons or icons and find out anything. Why study Geography, I can press my finger and find a cities’ population. Why learn math I can press n icon. Why learn English rules as no one writes 20 page papers after college and texting has it own structure. Of course, History is the dead past not the now of my device. Knowing what to do with that is something someone else will lead them to when they need it. Understanding how something works is not for normal people.
Yet, their cells attract the devotion of worshippers. It is fully acceptable to ignore people you are talking to live, but one must never not answer a mobile text. Even as they are informed of the heavy cost to learning cell use brings them, they are addicted. Smart phones are the leading drug of those unwilling to seek the normally escapist drugs. The world not on their phone does not carry any value.
They certainly are losers in the beauty of the world. They will be useless in soving this world’s problems not on their phones. They are people who think Facebook friend totals really measure their worlds. Jay Leno even cited one study that 28% would answer their cell during sex.
Unfortunately for those stuck with the charge of educating these types of people, there is little left but to accept and adopt. Even joining in groups, the gold standard of current education, is dead. Mobile phone education is the only place to advance learning. The classroom is to become only the gathering place for students focused on their mobile devices. The humanity of the place is gone now. And, it is hopeless to revive it.
Faculty must adopt all courses to the mobile device. Chairs and tables must be only for fogies using a laptop. Comfort is the word. Comfort brings retention as the government desires. Learning is an adaptable commodity. From real experience, to the lecture, to the cooperative group; education marches on. The mobile device is where students live. They worship. They exist. All must be a part of that world, I am afraid.