In order to keep up with young people, and to be the best professor I can be, I stay abreast with ideas about how technology shapes the way we process content - the way we discern data - the way we learn.
I am not convinced that all persons (young & old) are using technology in the best ways [see note below] - but I do think all teachers need to be mindful of how technology is working for us in teaching environments.
Technology is reshaping the idea of learning - and new learning cultures, in fact, emerge with different forms of technology. [The ability to collaborate in real-time, in "the cloud," from multiple geographic locations with programs like Google Docs has already transformed the way I encourage learners to collaborate in this new culture! In fact, the educational technology guy offers 50 sites that offer collaborative tools for education.)
Along with others, I have to be aware of and conversant with "emerging pedagogies" that are shaping how we think and learn. I try, in fact, to routinely test & adopt learning technologies toward the best practices for online and blended (hybrid) teaching.
Today's SmartPlanet(dot)com article predicts the Ten Things to watch for in Online Education for 2013. (I'm not sure anything in the list is surprising for those who work with online technology and emerging pedagogies - but a good list to review, all the same.)
** NOTE: I think most of us use it too often to 'check-out' or 'tune-out' and it's all too easy to get sucked into a kind of Vortex of Unproductivity when it comes to being online or in front of a screen. [Teenagers are now being called "screenagers" with all the time they spend in front of some kind of computer, phone, or tablet screen!] In my own use of technology, I have found programs like "leechblock" and a "pause" feature for gmail help me stay critically aware of my own use of programs/websites as I try to best optimize my own goals and agenda!