Thursday, June 27, 2013

Digital Generation Gap?

I really enjoyed these readings.  As I started "Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants", from a Geography teacher's perspective I was thinking, wow, this guy is really spot on.  I really liked the comparisons and analogies he was making.  I could relate to a lot of his theories and ideas and then I read the second article and I felt like I had been exposed as a total "non-critically" thinking sheep.  As I read the first article, I thought I needed to stop everything I was doing and find video games to play in my class and then I read the second article and I realized that while generalizations might sound logical, they never are totally accurate.  I still believe that both sides made intelligent points, but Pensky could have and should have been more detailed and less stereotypical.

Wow, that final article was very comprehensive, talk about a lot of research.  I really liked the broad approach that it took and I think it made some interesting observations and provided some practical advice.  Below is a short list of some of the points supported by reading that I have done outside of this class.

I read a Time magazine article about millenials back in May and it made some of the same points.  It focused on the technological literacy of this generation and their apathy towards authority.

I think the cheating and the As go hand in hand today.  As a teacher I found the stats on cheating and grades to be very interesting.  I think there is a lot more pressure to get As these days and with pressure comes short cuts.

Technology will continue to close the Gender gap.  I teach a unit on gender and technology has been the bridge throughout the years that has closed the gap and the technology bridge is getting wider and wider.

Anger of Gen X males at females and foreigners.  Thomas Friedman, in his book. "The World is Flat" he points out that technology makes it possible for people from around to world to compete with what used to be male employees in America.  Now those male employees have to compete with females, immigrants to the US, and foreigners in foreign lands.

Digital Divide (we assume that everyone has access, but they don't).  Again, this article points out that most of the research has been conducted on middle to upper class college students.  This is not representative of the lower classes and the digital divide that still exists in America, not to mention second and third world countries.

My favorite lines form "Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants"
I can relate to the only 5,000 hours reading (probably less) and the 20,000 hours of TV, but the 10,000 hours of video games blows my mind until I think of my little ones.

My wife is acculturating must faster than I.  I am still reading books and watching documentaries and she is searching the web and following blogs or facebook groups

Idea of the accent

What students today expect and want

Why pay attention to a foreigner when the can get it all right now in full color on their phone

Kids learn the new language not the old

Use the methods they are use to, Video games

Digital Nativism
Digital Delusions 

and Digital Deprivation

I love the counterpoint provided by Jamie Mckenzie

Avoid stereotypes

Make sure you have a solid source and you don't take their statements out of context.


Most generational research has been based on those who attend higher education.

They millennials are innately technological.  Are not work-a-holics like their predecessors because they use technology to get tasks done while they manage their social media based social lives.

Highlights the short falls of research in the world of social science.

"current generation of students entering higher education has information technology skills that
exceed those of the faculty members who will be teaching them, a trend that demands significant
changes in the way that programs, course, and learning environments are designed and implemented."

• In 2002, 74% of high school students admitted to cheating whereas in 1969 only 34%
admitted such a failing. (p. 27)
• In 1967, 86% of incoming college students said that “developing a meaningful philosophy of
life” was an essential life goal whereas in 2004 only 42% of GenMe freshmen agreed. (p. 48)
• In 2004, 48% of American college freshmen reported earning an A average in high school
whereas in 1968 only 18% of freshmen reported being an A student in high school. (p. 63)
• In the 1950s, only 12% of young teens agreed with the statement “I am an important
person” whereas by the late 1980s, 80% claimed they were important.
• In the 1960s, 42% of high school students expected to work in professional jobs whereas in
the late 1990s, 70% of high schools expected to work as a professional. (p. 78)
• In a recent poll 53% of GenMe mothers agreed with the statement that a person’s main
responsibility is to themselves and their children rather than making the world a better places
whereas only 28% of Boomer mothers agreed.

What interactive games can do for some learners

• engage unmotivated learners
• engage learners who lack confidence in ability to learn
• develop skills in literacy
• develop mathematical skills
• develop skills in visualization
• develop capacity for strategic and tactical decision making
• develop critical thinking and problem solving skills

Chester (2002) offers the following five basic principles for training the Net Generation without any reference to principles of learning theory or findings from educational research studies:
• Make it fun
• Engage them
• Make it fresh
• Keep up the pace
• Reward skill development

Chester (2005) offers six slightly more specific guidelines for training, although again unsupported by theory or research:
• Begin with an orientation, not skills training
• Assess what they know
• Continually reinvent your training
• Communicate where to turn for answers
• Don’t just train the what, train the why
• Keep training fun, interactive, and engaging

Their training advice is boiled down what they call “the three Ss”: setting, style, and substance (p. 282). These are elaborated as the following principles:
• Make sure the setting for training is comfortable.
• Pay attention to the learning styles of the different generations represented.
• Be sure the training has real substance.

“points to keep in mind” when training the Net Generation, (p. 244):
• They read more than any generation ahead of them.
• They are used to learning in a highly interactive way.
• The popularity and productivity of role-playing and other interactive activities work in
inverse proportion to their age.
• The experts say that the Millennial Generation will make the Xers look like technological

I am surprised the Prensky made it into this article after the last article pointed out how unsubstantiated many of his claims are.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6). Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

McKenzie, J. (2007). Digital nativism: Digital delusions and digital deprivation. From Now On, 17(2). Retrieved from

Reeves, T.C. (2008). Do generational differences matter in instructional design? Online discussion presentation to Instructional Technology Forum from January 22-25, 2008 at


  1. Jeremy, I love the line "a total "non-critically" thinking sheep"! One of the reasons I do this topic at the beginning is because it is one of those that the more you think about it and dig into what we actually know, as opposed to what seems intuitive and the stereotypes being promoted, it often surprises folks. Look forward to hearing what you think of the Reeves piece.

    1. Michael, I finished my blog entry and am officially done with week 2. Thank you for your comments and your feedback. I should be on track from now until the 21st of July when I report to my next military assignment. I hope to stay ahead or on track while I am there through the 3rd of August.