Virtual School Meanderings

July 24, 2017

EDTECH537 – Examining Generational Differences

This week 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?

As I described in the Week 5 overview for EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom, 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. Do Generational Differences Make an Impact in How Teachers Should Teach?

    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 generat…

    Trackback by Technology in the Language Immersion Classroom — July 26, 2017 @ 4:36 pm | Reply


    This week I was asked to respond to a few readings on generational differences in education. As a librarian with over 15 years of experience I have seen many changes in the library field especially in the areas of technology and teaching. Full-text jou…

    Trackback by KELLY SPIESE : EDTECH LEARNING LOG — July 26, 2017 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  3. EdTech 537: Digital Generations

    The readings for this week’s coursework were all focused around the idea of digital nativism and generational differences in technology. Many will read passing news stories online about the new generation and how they are fundamentally different from p…

    Trackback by Kristin Gaynor EdTech — July 26, 2017 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  4. Digital Natives & Instructional Design

    At the end of every school year, I throw out my lesson plans. Some would question that practice by telling me that I should merely tweak which lessons didn’t go well and reuse what did to avoid the time-consuming task of perpetual re-creation. However,…

    Trackback by NAOMIJAYNES.COM — July 26, 2017 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  5. Generational Differences and Educational Technology

    This week, I was asked to read the following articles that discuss generational differences and the idea of Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants. You can find the articles here: Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do th…

    Trackback by Jake Lee — July 26, 2017 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  6. Are You Defined By Your Generation?

    Recently, I made a shocking discovery: I am consider a Millennial. Yes. I’m part of that generation that is the current bane of everyone’s existence as shown below: Ok, I definitely laughed at a few of those and even made me think of my sister, who i…

    Trackback by Celebrating Failure in Rm 23 — July 26, 2017 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  7. EDTECH537: The Digital Generational Gap: Does it Affect Learning?

    This week’s prompt regarding digital natives and generational differences in learning has forced many an edit on this blog post – many an edit! On the one hand, I don’t buy into the assertion that modern students (“digital natives” – those raised with…

    Trackback by MHS GAPP - MHS-GHS: Partners seit 1993 — July 26, 2017 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  8. Digital Natives?

    I have always been a bit skeptical as to the notion of digital natives. The term itself suggests that today’s children are born knowing how to use technology. This is certainly not the case. Just a few days ago, I asked my eleven year old brother to e…

    Trackback by The Tech Teacher Mom — July 26, 2017 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  9. Generational Differences

    I am a Millennial and according to Prensky, I am also a digital native. A digital native is someone who grew up with technology, where as digital immigrants are people who grew up with no technology and later in life learned how to use technology. Ther…

    Trackback by MS. CRAMER'S TIPS AND IDEAS — July 26, 2017 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  10. Our World Explained

    This week I was asked to give my perspective on three readings dealing with generational differences in the areas of learning and use of technology. The terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant” were conjured up by Marc Prensky in his creative…

    Trackback by Response to "Digital Natives" — July 26, 2017 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  11. Mind the Gap?

    Generational traits is a topic of interest given the new technological advancements over the past two decades. Generation X, Milennials, and now, even, Xennials are compared in the ways each learns, but IS there a difference REALLY? From this week’s re…

    Trackback by EDTECH WITH ANGELA — July 26, 2017 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  12. To Be or Not To Be….a Digital Native?

    In this week’s reading, there is a notion that students today are considered “digital natives” because they have grown up surrounded by computers and video games. It is believed by one of the authors, Prensky, that the students of today (the Digitial N…

    Trackback by Jaci Prance: EDTECH Learning Log — July 26, 2017 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  13. Digital Natives

    Our professor posed these questions for his students this week, “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?” I can…

    Trackback by The Transparent Tech Teacher — July 26, 2017 @ 8:22 pm | Reply


    To use Prensky’s descriptor, I would consider myself a Digital Native. While I was still born before the iPod and I have nightmares of the dialup internet sound, I still had technology available to me almost my whole life. We owned a computer growing u…

    Trackback by RYANN WALDMAN: EDTECH LEARNING LOG — July 27, 2017 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  15. Sidebar: Generational Differences in Education

    For my EDTECH 537 class we read three papers about generational difference in education, with one arguing that “digital natives,” or people who were raised with technology, fundamentally think differently than other learners (Prensky, 2001). A second p…

    Trackback by WHEN YOU WILL USE THIS — July 29, 2017 @ 7:07 am | Reply

  16. Generational differences – fact or fiction? (537)

    This week in my blogging class we are exploring generational differences in technology. Prior to completing the readings I would say that the students I work with are certainly on a spectrum regarding digital literacy and skills. I have some students t…

    Trackback by REFLECTIONS ON TEACHING & TECHNOLOGY — July 29, 2017 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  17. Teaching Digital Natives

    I do not consider myself a digital native, in the sense that I did not grow up with the technology readily available to students today. My family got our first computer when I was 16, I vividly remember printing my senior paper on my dad’s dot matrix…

    Trackback by Rebecca Davis Education Technology — July 31, 2017 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  18. […] EDTECH537 – Examining Generational Differences […]

    Pingback by Statistics for July 2017 | Virtual School Meanderings — August 11, 2017 @ 1:52 am | Reply

  19. […] Examining Generational Differences […]

    Pingback by EDTECH537 – End Of Course | Virtual School Meanderings — August 14, 2017 @ 8:02 am | Reply

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