Monday, January 19, 2015

Unit One: Generational Differences

First I would like to begin commenting on the videos that I watched about generational differences. The introduction video got me thinking about what labels I would give to my students. The labels that stuck out to me most were:
Instant gratification
Tech savvy/Digital natives
Media consumers

I believe that each of these titles closely matches the students that I have today in my classroom. Conversely, there were titles that I do not believe match the current students that I have today. They are:
Achievement oriented
High expectations

Some of my students do not display these characteristics. Although there are times that the students have high expectations and want to achieve, these desires seem to get easily overran by their desire for things to happen instantly.

The second video that I watched had college students in it who held up signs. I didn't really understand the point of the video at first until the end when the hours spent in a day doing various tasks were calculated and it equaled 26.5. It made me think how many hours a day I spend doing things. As I type this, I am thinking about vacuuming, starting to prepare dinner, putting in grades, taking a shower and much more. We are definitely a generation of multitasking people.  

The second video hit a little closer to home. This video had young students hold up signs about how they learn. Many of the signs expressed that they learn best digitally and yet their teachers rarely incorporate technology into their lessons. This video reaffirmed why I teach technology and made me remember that I am so lucky to teach a subject that we use technology every day. It's not a mystery as to why my class is a favorite of most students.

On to the readings..."Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" was an interesting read. I agree with most of what Mr. Prensky said especially while describing digital natives. Concerning digital natives, Prensky stated, "They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work". (Prensky) I completely agree with this description of digital natives because I see it daily in my own classroom.

Although I agree with the article as a whole, there were a couple things that I do not totally agree with. Prensky stated, "Digital Immigrants don't believe their students can learn successfully while watching TV or listening to music, because they (the Immigrants) can't. Of course not – they didn't practice this skill constantly for all of their formative years. Digital Immigrants think learning can't (or shouldn't) be fun. Why should they – they didn't spend their formative years learning with Sesame Street" (Prensky).I do not agree with his assessment that digital immigrants think that learning cannot be fun or students cannot watch TV or listen to music to learn. Every teacher I know is constantly trying to keep their lessons engaging all while making them fun and educational. I also do not agree that the reason why students are not engaged and learning is because of the way they are being taught. Being a technology teacher, I CONSTANTLY use technology and allow my students to explore and have fun with their highly engaging and interactive assignments, however, some students just choose not to engage. That cannot be blamed on the educator all of the time.

The next reading...Wow! I should have probably read both articles first before reading one and then blogging and reading the second and then blogging. The author of the second article, Jamie McKenzie, basically takes Prensky's article and rips it to shreds. She too shares the same feeling as myself about the fact that digital immigrants do not completely ignore that students need technology and engagement in order to be successful.  She does a great job quoting him and backing up her statements with evidence. I was also shocked about the whole section where Prensky wasn't even citing the correct doctor. Really makes you questions the validity of his article!

Until next time...

"Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants." Marc Prensky. On the Horizon (NCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)


  1. Hi Victoria,
    Good dialogue! I agree with your regarding McKenzie's article. He did bring up some points about Prensky's article that were a little one sided. I was concerned with Prensky's article as he stated students could not be multitask, but I've seen my own children, myself and the students in my classroom multitask daily. I think multitasking means we really are only interrupting our train of thought for a minute and doing something else, then we go back and work at the other task. We feel like we are getting more done, and yes I believe we can get more done that way. We don't become bored, I have learned to be open to students learning through multitasking.

    I did not agree with Prensky's article as he made it sound like teachers "Digital Immigrants" could not teacher "Digital Natives" as they are stuck in the past.

    1. Exactly! I definitely do not agree that digital immigrants are any less able than a digital native would be. If anything, it's a good thing, we've seen both sides and can teach the students from the "other side" too.

    2. Very fine prompt! I agree with you that you do not believe that Achievement oriented, high expectation, patient are personality, attitudes and behavior to most of our current students that we have today. In addition, most of them are all about me and who cares about the rest. That is exactly how Twenge described the Millennial Generation as the “generation Me”. Twenge said: "I see no evidence that today's young people feel much attachment to duty or to group cohesion. Young people have been consistently taught to put their own needs first and to focus on feeling good about themselves." I think that we need to make a major change in our curriculum to help create “generation we”.

  2. Opponents of the multi-tasking theory often claim that while it gives the appearance of getting more done, the constant interruptions in focus due to shifting decrease quality and efficiency.

    1. I can see that, but if it keeps the students from getting bored and stopping completely, it's all good with me.

    2. Yes, but are they really learning. Is being bored an excuse students give when they do not want to do the work? Do they give up to easily? What about self discipline?

  3. That's a great point. It reminds me of the commercial where there is a woman watching a police show while looking up a lemon pepper chicken recipe. In the end her multi- tasking combines and the police offices are reading rights as if it were the recipe, " You have a right to... Set the oven to 400 degrees". This shows that we may be completing tasks, but how much do we remember, understand, or care to focus on.

    1. Some people are just better at multitasking than others. I pride myself on my ability to multitask and get many things done. Right now I am cooking dinner, about to hop on the elliptical for a few minutes, and then returning to my homework. I believe that teachers have to be master multitaskers and I believe I fall into that category.

    2. Me too ! Its just one of the downfalls or upgrades of the new technology ease age. Great example: podcasts :) Love them!

    3. Consider the relative cognitive load of those functions, or the importance of committing the fruits of those tasks to long term memory. I'd rather my airplane pilot or surgeon say, "I'm really good at multitasking."

  4. Although some believe they can multitask (and I believe technology is making this worse, especially with the ability to run many apps at the same time) there are various articles out there that say that multitasking either doesn't exist. Those in the neuroscience field are currently looking how multitasking is changing the human brain.

    Students can learn with technology and think of learning as fun. It depends on each student's motivation in the classroom.

    1. "The study confirms evidence from previous research that links high levels of media-multitasking with depression, anxiety and poor attention when faced with distractions." To me this sounds like one of the main issues our society today is faced with. It really amazes me the links and the outcomes.
      Article on :

    2. I definitely do not agree that multitasking doesn't exist. Most of us do it on a daily basis. Talking on the phone and driving. Exercising and reading a book. Eating and watching television. Those aren't examples of multitasking? Although some are at lower levels than others, it's still multitasking.

    3. Interesting article Mallory, thanks for sharing.
      Victoria, I agree with your examples of multitasking, but how many items can your brain multitask. I've heard it is between 5 and 7. I think the problem comes when people start multitasking and accepting it as ok. When multitasking becomes dangerous driving and texting for example.
      Low level multitasking is acceptable if it is not putting you or other in danger.