Virtual School Meanderings

July 9, 2012

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 http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

McKenzie, J. (2007). Digital nativism: Digital delusions and digital deprivation. From Now On, 17(2). Retrieved from http://fno.org/nov07/nativism.html

Reeves, T.C. (2008). Do generational differences matter in instructional design? Online discussion presentation to Instructional Technology Forum from January 22-25, 2008 at http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/Paper104/ReevesITForumJan08.pdf

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.

24 Comments »

  1. I am excited to get to reflect on this controversial issue again…It was something I had considered blogging on once more and decided against. I guess it was meant to be!

    Comment by danicamarble — July 9, 2012 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

    • I’m glad you feel that way Danica. I just responded to the entry on your blog. I apologise for being a little (okay a lot) long winded. But I wanted to clarify what I think may be a few misconceptions.

      Comment by mkbnl — July 9, 2012 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  2. […] our EDTECH 597 course we have been asked to respond to the following questions which were posted on our instructor’s blog. The questions […]

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    Trackback by DON'T PANIC — July 12, 2012 @ 8:14 am | Reply

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  5. Response To Instructor Blog…

    PROMPT: 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? RESPONSE: I am debating how honest to be in my blog today. Do I s…

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  6. Response to Instructor Blog…

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  9. Generational Differences: Do they matter?…

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  10. Response to Instructor Prompt…

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  12. Generational Differences…

    I’ve been asked to answer two questions regarding some very intriguing articles I read earlier in the semester, namely: Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6). Retrieved…

    Trackback by Mrs. Sevy's Tech Blog — July 12, 2012 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  13. EDTECH 597 – Generational differences revisited…

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  18. Generational Differences and Digital Natives?…

    My first reaction to the original article by Prensky, was dread at having to re-think the way I teach, again! Upon reading about the myth of digital natives by McKenzie, I was, at first, angry. I felt duped! I should have known better and now I have to…

    Trackback by SMMS Chorus Parents- L.Dean — July 12, 2012 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  19. Generational Differences…

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    Trackback by Jamie: EDTECH Learning Log — July 12, 2012 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  20. EDTECH596.06 – Examining Generational Differences…

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    Trackback by Craig Dean: EDTECH Learning Log — July 12, 2012 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  21. To tech or not to tech, that is the question ……

    Recently I read a few articles talking about the idea of “digital natives” vs “digital immigrants.” One author (Prensky) believed there is a fundamental difference between digital natives and digital immigrants. In fact, he goes so far as to state that…

    Trackback by Jailhouse Rock — July 12, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Reply

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  23. […] Examining Generational Differences […]

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