Virtual School Meanderings

July 11, 2011

EDTECH597 – Examining Generational Differences

Earlier this summer semester, you read:

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

The main take aways from these readings included:

  • while the theory of generational differences exists and is a valid theory, there is no research at present that indicates instructional designers should modify instruction or instructional strategies to accommodate today’s generation of students
  • there is no reliable and valid research to support the belief that technology has somehow changed today’s generation of students
  • further to the fact that Prensky’s notion of digital natives isn’t based on research, McKenzie does a convincing job of illustrating how Prensky even misused the anecdotal “evidence” that he presents to support is beliefs
  • the only thing that can be said about today’s student, based upon reliable and valid research, is that they are more narcissistic than any previous generation

However, even faced with these realities in almost every semester where I use these three readings there are multiple students – often the majority of students – who still believe that the students they teach are fundamentally influenced by digital technology and it has changed the way that they learn in the classroom.

As educational technologists, what did you take away from these generational differences readings?  How would you handle a colleague who bought into the notion of digital natives?

Please post your response to this prompt ON YOUR OWN blog.  In addition to your response, you are asked to leave comments on at least three other students’ blogs.  As always, you are asked to respond to those who leave a comment on your blog.


  1. […] following post is based on a writing prompt for BSU’s EDTECH597: As educational technologists, what did you take away from these generational differences […]

    Pingback by Examining Generational Differences « Aleutian EdTech — July 12, 2011 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  2. Prompt response – Generational Differences…

    When considering the impact of technology on learning, it is important to consider different aspects. The first is to determine if technology actually changes the way student learn. In other words, does it change the way the brain process information? The…

    Trackback by Travis Begley's Blog — July 13, 2011 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  3. Response – Generational Differences…

    To think that the way in which one learns is now altered because of technology seems invalid to me. I say this because I don’t feel that the process in which the brain absorbs information is any different from what it was in the past. The students toda…

    Trackback by Sarah Begley's Blog — July 13, 2011 @ 11:43 am | Reply

  4. […] Prompt can be found on Michael Barbour’s (our instructor’s) blog. […]

    Pingback by Examining Generational Differences (Response to an Entry on a Different Blog) « ES Tech Integration-My Boise State Ed Tech Blog — July 14, 2011 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  5. Generational Differences – The Discussion…

    This is in response to a questions posed on Virtual School Meanderings Digital Native – Digital Immigrant How do you respond to a colleague concerning the idea of a digital natives/digital immigrants. Well.. we discuss it. I mean it’s actually a discus…

    Trackback by Virtual Worlds Graduate UnSymposium — July 14, 2011 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  6. Generational Differences & the Digital Divide…

    Several weeks ago in my EDTECH 597 – Blogging in the Classroom course, we focused on three readings that all addressed the topic of generational difference and whether or not there truly is a “digital divide” between the older generations who did not g…

    Trackback by Stefanie Welty's Blog — July 14, 2011 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  7. Response to M. Barbour Blog…

    In response to a blog written by Michael Barbour called Examining Generational Differences and having read two articles representing conflicting perspectives on the generational digital divide (see below 1&2), I have come to the conclusion that there i…

    Trackback by The CARB (Community Arts Resource Blog) — July 14, 2011 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  8. […] to Michael Barbour’s blog, Examining Generational Difference, while there is no valid or reliable proof that changed today’s generation students – […]

    Pingback by Examining Generational Differences (Response to an Michael Barbour’s Blog) « Christina DeLeo: EDTECH Portfolio — July 15, 2011 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  9. Prompt Response: Generational Differences…

    Earlier in the semester we read three articles about generational differences. Marc Prensky brought forth the idea of digital natives and digital immigrants, stating that today’s students process information much differently than their older counterpar…

    Trackback by It's an Ed Tech World… — July 16, 2011 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

  10. […] Examining Generational Differences […]

    Pingback by EDTECH597 – End Of The Course « Virtual School Meanderings — July 31, 2011 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

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