Thursday, March 30, 2017

Making Learning Meaningful for New Gens
New Gens
This week we will be exploring who are the New Gens (Gen Y and Gen Z) and how they are changing the world. Most of you are members of the millennial generation (Gen Y) and you will be teaching Gen Z students. We will explore these students who you will find in your classroom. We can't teach today's students with 20th-century strategies.  We must first understand our 21st-century students so that we can provide learning challenges that address their needs.

Here are some resources that you should review before watching the lecture:

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants
Let's explore how digital technologies have changed the world, the people and how we interact with one another. The work comparing the Millennial Generation (born 1984 - 2001) with the older generations (Gen X, Baby Boomers) was begun by Marc Prensky.  He defined your generation as Digital Natives because you have always grown up with digital tools and toys. He defined the older generations as Digital Immigrants because we have had to learn about using digital tools and it just doesn't come as natural to us. 

Begin by reading Dr. Prensky's article, Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.This is the classic article about generation differences. Reflect how this applies to your life and your associates.

To be an effective educator, you need to appreciate your students' characteristics. You will be teaching Gen Y and Alpha Gen  (born 2010 to present) students. That means that they are entering first grade now. Most of you are at the older end of the Millennials but that doesn't mean that you can necessarily identify the important characteristics so that you can address them in your class. Watch/Read the following resources carefully so that you will be more aware of these issues.

Here is a different perspective by watching this 20-minute TED Talk by Scott Hess telling us Millennials: Who They Are and Why We Hate Them.   No, this isn't a hate speech. It is a Generation X-er (Millennial) comparing and contrasting them with Millennials. This video builds a good basis for our discussion of Millennials.

How Millennial are you?  Complete this quick survey to see how millennial you are.  Keep track of your results, we will discuss them in the lecture.
How Millennial Are You Survey.

Generation Z and What Does It Mean In Your Classroom (article) 
You will be teaching Gen Z students. You are part of another generation (Gen Y or wiser) and you need to consider how you will need to frame your work in a way that will be more relevant and meaningful to your students.  

What do YOU see as unique characteristics of the NewGens?


  1. I really enjoyed the Don Tapscott interview and listened to it while playing World of Warcraft and the t.v. in the background which I found ironic. It was nice to see an older gentleman defending our generation.

  2. Dose anyone think that all this sharing might hurt someones rep, or have a neg effect on kids when they are adults?

  3. I agree. I like how he was clearly impressed by our generation rather than annoyed by the digital age. It drives me crazy when older people talk down to our generation because of my age, as if my technological affinity somehow makes me less important.

  4. Yes, go to to see what he is doing now. Quite impressive.


  5. Telling me about a third of youth was important.
    I think the other 2/3 have much more responsibility in the family life, etc., and may not have time or money to take advantage. I think they are the people who should be targeted for updating education. New ideas for this part of the population would help everyone as a population.

  6. Watching these videos was amazing... I posted two of them on my FB to share with friends :-)

  7. I am quite impressed with our generation! I feel really far behind though! But I guess I would be behind being born in 84! It's amazing how much things have changed! I also shared some of the videos on facebook!

  8. While watching these videos I found so many other great videos about brining more social media and tech. in the classroom. Im so excited to start using these ideas in future classrooms.

  9. I'm interested in bringing technology to the classroom, but there was a big disconnect for me in Prensky's article and Tapscott's video. They cite a lot of facts without directing individuals to the scientific evidence to back it up. "A survey of 11,000" is impressive, but it was also funded and performed by his own research company. As a student of liberal arts, I want to see these things with the information. I see a lot of observations / data and conclusions, but I want to see the other scientific information if they are going to make conclusions about neurological science. (This means I will be Googling a lot of things!)
    I think these articles have great points, but I also want to think critically about what I am watching and reading. They have definitely wet my curiosity. I loved the TEDxSF clip. I have listened to other TED clips before on youtube. They are always entertaining and informative.
    Ideas I liked: Digital brain storming, student focused education, game to learn, and protect your privacy.
    As for the Millennial Quiz? It's placed me in the 1960's, which I wholeheartedly disagree with given I spend an absurd amount of time on the internet and on social media on a regular basis.

  10. Thanks for sharing our blog post! We also made a guide about #Edchat if anyone is interested in learning more about that Twitter chat!