These kids will change the world

Pop Goes the Classroom was created to help today’s educators find a way to make learning relevant to today’s youth. It’s about building real and meaningful connections. Pop culture defines a generation and using the artifacts from that generation helps build bridges.

One of the reason I love the discussion of Pop Culture in the Classroom is because so much of popular culture is founded in the arts. So when we have this dialogue we are really talking about arts integration. Quite simply put, art is the voice of a youth generation. Think about it. The music of our youth defines us still today and aren’t we all a little upset when our music starts getting played on the oldies station? Or when our favorite band that shook the world is now featured on PBS?

The artifacts of popular culture are the native language of each generation. We are able to effectively navigate that generation if we are able to speak and understand that language. It helps us find common ground.

So what does the language of this generation tell us? Well its art so I can only articulate my interpretation of that art. You’ll have to come up with your own but this is what I see.

More we than me–

I look at the pop culture artifacts of this generation and I see a greater emphasis on the whole than on the one. What helped me come to this conclusion? Social media is about community and connecting. I saw this in a very real way recently when I witnessed a group of high school students harness the power of social media to raise money to keep a fellow classmate from being evicted from his home. In 24 hours these kids arranged a car wash that raised over $1500 and allowed the family to stay in their home.

What are the implications of this attitude? This is a generation that isn’t as willing to leave a man behind. As a social activist this excites me. These kids are going to change the world.

I want it all and I want it now–

I see a generation that is used to instant access to information and entertainment. In an debate over a fact, look it up online. Have a few minutes between classes, watch a short on You Tube. Nextflix offer long form entertainment on demand. Technology has eliminated the need to wait for information or entertainment. They can access it quickly and because they’ve grown up with it they do it far more efficiently than those of us who had to learn it later in life.

Because information is so easily accessed, I don’t see a generation that “hoards” information. This combined with the fact that they are more focused on the community means we have to look at assessment in our classrooms in a very different manner. Class ranking doesn’t mean as much to these kids as it once did and I believe Socratic assessment is far more effective. Yes it can be more difficult on the part of the instructor but these kids build on the knowledge of their peers.

Huxley was right, “It’s a Brave New World”.

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