From Discovery Education comes yet another great webinar in their EdTechConnect series featuring Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D. on what parents and educators should expect, socially and academically, from their wired children and adolescents? Virtual attendees include continental United States and Australia. Nice global representation for this hour’s foray into understanding the rewired iGeneration with over 100 people in attendance. Known for his understanding of the current classroom generation and how they process and learn, Rosen is a globally-renowned keynote speaker, author, educator.
From the Silent Generation in 1925 to Baby Boomers born in 1946, to Gen X, 1965, to Net Gen born 1980 to iGeneration, our current generation, this generation is an iGen, or individualized generation. They can individualize their lives and they want their education individualized as well. Their media consumption, compared to NetGen of 20:38 hours daily use to iGeneration’s totals, the iGen are multitaskers, with their activity changing radically. By third grade, students are spending 5.5 hours a day with technology and media, compared to 16 – 18 year olds with 20:25 hours. But the usage has changed for this age bracket of techno-cocoons with technology in their bedrooms.
The iGeneration owns their technology and they cannot live without it. Equally interesting is their use of free time, moving from task to task, rather than multitasking, like the NetGen.
What marks the iGeneration is the portability of their devices. They can have multiple tabs open and can be on multiple sites while IMing, texting, and the question becomes has all this multitasking, or taskswitching, and Rosen calls it, gone too far. Students are mobile, and let’s face it, they are masters of texting without our really knowing it.
Simply put, texting is the iGeneration’s communication tool, with many children getting 3000 texts a month. They connect through texting and they do it all the time. And they socialize differently. Facebook forms the largest country in the world, with 80 percent of a teen’s time spent social networking. They explore their identity, determine their personality, find who they are. They comment back and forth, and when they are online and not communicating, they are content creating. They are blogging, creating music, creating websites, podcasting, and creating their own social networks.
Consequently, they have different learning styles. They are tactile/kinesthetic learners, which is why they take to technology so well. They don’t need manuals; they just touch something and open it up. They differ in their personality type. This group is open to change, loves their family, like to live, stay at home, work at home with friends. They are the most confident generation ever.
We know this generation is very different, but we really don’t understand them. We are only beginning to understand their traits and core values: social connections are everything; speed and immediacy are critical–everything should happen instantly; and they firmly believe that anything they can imagine can be done. Interesting philosophy. These students will develop all the new technology and they believe they have no limitations. The technology they use has made them independent, narcissitic, want to brand themselves and create their own companies, and they will have more jobs in their lifetimes because they will continue to switch to find their own identities.
This generation needs instant gratification and motivation because their technology does that for them. Games reinforce through bells and whistles and rewards how good they are. The number one trend is technology for socializing and a way for learning. WMDs, a wireless mobile device, are ubiquitous. Ongoing WMDs can be used in multiple ways, Twitter for parent updates, Poll Everywhere…endless possibilites. WMDs can give them 24/7 access. And social networks encourage students to discuss, enjoy, participate.
|Switching to virtual environments (Second Life)|
It’s about realism and immersion. And it impacts brain activity. Students like to learn in virtual learning environments like Virtual Vassar College in Second Life with avatars. Teachers have to move from content determiners to content selectors, letting them learn in their virtual environments. Teachers assimilate learning and assess. Textbooks are creating online versions, making textbooks less expensive and providing more monies for technology. Rosen says we need to find someone who is a knowledge broker who finds different ways, for example, to explore the Sistine Chapel. Your knowledge broker pulls together the learning and helps teachers retool for education. There is a gap between how student work in and out of school, and that is part of the iGeneration’s rewiring.
In Q & A:
- Students don’t multitask; they switch tasks and wait for down time to text in a class.
- Gap between rich and poor is about access, not how they learn.
- People don’t use phones very much; they use portable wireless devices.
- Research about brain development on the iGeneration between on and off-line working is so new that we still do not know much, except there is increased activity in parts of the brain, suggesting rewiring or at least more brain use.
- 3-D is coming and in a few years, everything will be 3-D.
- Gender issues in technology: girls text, use Facebook more than boys, but technology is affordable, flattening the gender issue.
- Medical issues and technology: we are part of a very large experiment. Research is controversial and no one seems to know about radio waves and issues. You can talk your texts and finger tap less, but medical issues will come up. Mobile apps allow speech to text.
Time flies when you participate in a Discovery Webinar, and the hour ended packed with information about the iGeneration.
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