The readings for my blogging class this week were very thought provoking and I think you will find them thought provoking as well. After reading Prensky‘s article, I was convinced that it made perfect sense and that to an extent I could see the generational difference in my everyday life. My boyfriend of 7 years (there is also a seven year age difference) and I have repeatedly talked about how our different upbringings and ways of doing things have made us converse differently, seek different things and learn differently. In fact, when I had just read this article, before reading the other two (that disprove it) I showed him how it was describing us almost perfectly, We both agreed that it made total sense and described us to a T. We process information very differently. He needs a lot more thinking time, and I seem to get frustrated when people are too slow to catch on. Just like in the article by Presky, I, who you could call a Millennial get impatient when things are not moving fast, I am definitely used to obtaining information quickly and the only thing I do while I am not multitasking is sleep! He, on the other hand, is a Gen X-er. He can only focus on one thing at a time, hates when things go too fast and he can’t keep up, needs a lot of time to process new information and he likes doing on his own. Before continuing with my reading I was sure that I was a digital native and Josh was a digital immigrant.
However, when I read the other two articles (by McKenzie and Reeves) I quickly realized that I may have jumped on the idea of identifying myself as a digital native too quickly because these two articles clearly concluded that Prensky’s claims are not supported by good references and he forgot to address how his claims relate to any learning theory. “Without better research, the debate will continue about the impact of the Information Age on the learning needs, preferences, and potentialities of the Net Generation” (Reeves, 2008).
It is clear that this topic needs to be further researched. However, in the meantime, I believe that if a new idea is proposed there is some small fact or truth that triggered it in the first place for someone to take the time to write about it. Although I know now that Prensky’s article may not have a solid research behind it, I have to play with and investigate some of the ideas that the article pushed me to think deeper on because there may be a shift in the future or simply because a colleague may want to push Prensky’s ideas on me.
Here are some of the things I stuck with me from all three readings:
-The idea of needing to communicate with my students in the language and style that they understand without changing the content
– Provide choice on how they prefer to work, perhaps they would like to listen to music while they work, create a product for a project using a device of their choice,…
– Allow them to multitask and see if they are capable of doing so if not, don’t encourage it
– Can’t assume that everyone learns the same way even if they are from the same generation
– Don’t take what one source says as the only truth but instead compare it to what other sources say and then decide what your beliefs are
If I have a colleague that believes that Prensky’s ideas are the only ones that make sense because the students are surrounded by so much technology and they don’t know any other way, I would suggest him/her reading the counter research and asking questions to challenge their thinking like:
– Do you think that students learn more when enrolled in a distance course? – Provide me with some research to back up your statement.
– Do you think that the way we are teaching our students is not helping them get a job in the workforce? – Provide additional research.
– Where do the traditional learning theories fit in all of this?
– Can we generalize that all of our current students are surrounded by the impact of technology? What about poverty? What about students in different countries?
These are just questions that you should ask yourself. I encourage you to go and research more about this topic and find that extra research to back up your beliefs in case any parent, administrator or colleague were to ask you why you do what you do.
Reeves, T.C. (2008, January 22-25). Do generational differences matter in instructional design? Online discussion presentation to Instructional Technology Forum from. Retrieved from http://paeaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/10c-Gen-Diff-Matter.pdf