The advancement of technology in education has changed the way educators must approach lesson plans and communicate with millennialstudents. Teachers must stay up on new ways of teaching in order to connect with technologically skilled pupils. Although many of the older sources of instruction can still be effective, technology should be incorporated to keep the new generation of learners engaged. Tools such as cloud computing, social networking, web 2.0, and other learning tools can all be effective ways of teaching the digital natives. Using these tools and keeping up with the latest technology and methods can benefit administrators, teachers, and of course the learners.
A digital native or millennial is considered to be someone who was born after 1980 and grew up in the digital world. The term millennial generation was validated from students in the Fairfax County, Virginia school system that had completed a survey conducted by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe (Junginger, 2008). They have spent the majority of their time bombarded with technology and using a multitude of advancements such as: computers, cell phones, video games, etc. They are often referred to the term digital native due to the fact that they seem to have a natural ability for using new technology (Prensky, 2001). Also referred to as the generation Y or nexters, they are the largest generation in the past century with over 80 million people. Millennials are extremely technologically refined and can process vast amounts of visual material while having great motor, spatial, and strategy skills. These skills and other attributes are most likely due to game technology and the technology revolution of the 1990’s (Junginger, 2008). In addition, millennials are a social group that learn by teamwork, technology, and excitement (Junginger, 2008).
Technology, diversity, and working together as a team are strengths of millennial students. As technology has grown with leaps and bounds over the last few years, using computers for communication, work, research, and social interaction has come as no surprise. This generation is the most comfortable using technology as any generation ever has been. “From the historical events, technological developments, and social influences of their generation, Millennials have been shaped by the following characteristics: how they communicate, what they value as important in their lives, how they want to learn new information, and the pace at which they work and receive feedback” (Ciocco & Holtzman, 2008, pg 69).
Although no person or student is exactly alike, many share common traits that were established based on experiences, environmental influences, and the people with whom they interact with. Some of the strongest traits that many millennials share are: they are technologically savvy, desire clear direction, prefer to work in teams, good at networking, desire to work with project-based assignments and real-world projects, and desire immediate feedback (Ciocco & Holtzman, 2008). Generational traits can impact how an educational system is created and set up. The design of classroom projects, how an instructor chooses to deliver the material, and how technology will be incorporated into the learning environment can all be influenced by student traits (Ciocco & Holtzman, 2008).
The millennial generation has been subjected to many different cultural, social, informative, technological and even political environments that vary from other generations. With these altered environments, millennials have been given frequent positive feedback, technology has grown tremendously, and there has been economic turmoil which have all contributed to a change in attitudes, preferences, and expectations in relationship to other generations (Thompson & Gregory, 2012). There have been several stereotypes develop in regards to the millennial generation. Some see them as disloyal due to the frequent career changes, which can be viewed a self-serving behavior. Being “needy” is another stereotype viewed by some because of the need to be “spoonfed” everything. With daily positive reinforcement and growing up in an environment where rewards just for participation rather than performance were given, some feel the millennials have a sense of entitlement. However, the millenials themselves say it comes from the pressure and high expectations (Thompson & Gregory, 2012). An example of this is when every kid in a race gets a ribbon, not just the top finishers. Two other stereotypes are that the new generation is to casual and even unmanageable (Thompson & Gregory, 2012).
Digital immigrants are considered those who were born before 1980 (Prensky, 2001). This generation of learners came along before the major technology revolution of the 1990’s. Ways of learning both in and out of the classroom differed from that of the millennial generation in many areas. Classroom technology used for learning often included overhead projectors, films, televisions with the use of vcr tapes, and some PowerPoint presentations (Zickuhr, 2010). Free time in this generation was not as fast paced and watching television, talking on a landline telephone, and going to the movies were all activities that were common. Game play consisted of board games along with some basic digital players. Research was very different as when compared to generation Y. Without the use of the internet and computers, most students used the library and the Dewey card catalog system. In addition, microfilm and microfiche could also be used to gather information from journals (Zickuhr, 2010).
Digital natives or millenials are more likely to use the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile device than digital immigrants. They are also more likely to use the internet more than the previous generation for: social networking sites, instant messaging, music, online games, virtual worlds, reading blogs, and online classifieds (Zickuhr, 2010).
Millenials use various means of technology for both formal and informal learning, many of which can be used for both (Thompson, 2009). Educators looking for new ways of improving the learning environment in the classroom may look at the use of cloud computing. Cloud computing is the ability of a user to expand the capability of a computer without buying added hardware or software and incorporates a pay-per-use service (Pang, 2009). The cloud symbolizes resources that can be retrieved using the Internet and is considered computer resources such as: storage, applications, services, networks, and servers (Iyoob, 2013). Dropbox may come to mind as an example when thinking about cloud computing in which data can be shared from various computers, laptops, and tablets wherever and whenever (Iyoob, 2013). Web 2.0 is another useful learning tool for today’s students. This tool is a group of web applications that can assist in the interaction between learners and instructors by supporting communicating and sharing (Tunks, 2012). This takes place in an online setting where interaction takes place by various means; such as, blogs, wikis, discussion boards, etc., and adds flexibility as to when the user can be online (Tunks, 2012). This form of learning can create critical thinking, discussion, response, and various other forms of communications.
Millenials use various means of technology for both formal and informal learning, many of which can be used for both (Thompson, 2009). Staying connected with friends can be an important aspect of technology for many millenials. Texting and social media can keep them connected yet improve writing. This is a good example where technology has both an informal and formal way of learning. Another example is with the use of online games which can promote learning (Thompson, 2009). Social media has surged with popularity in the recent years, as backed by statistical data and research (Chen & Bryer, 2012). It has become a part of the educational system for students as well as teachers. Social media can be defined as “technologies that facilitate social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberation across stakeholders” (Chen & Bryer, 2012, p. 88).
How the use of technology for formal and informal learning actually effects a student’s learning is one thing to consider when developing a program. Thinking about the age of the learner, internet use on a daily basis, equipment available, etc. are all examples of things to contemplate. The younger the age group often means more use of the internet for multiple reasons. “Today, students often are on the cutting edge of technology that is, in most cases, beyond the knowledge of their parents, teachers, and even potential employers” (Junginger, 2008, pg 20). Often times, the technology a student has at home is better than that of their educational institute. Some educational settings are using older equipment and may also have certain restrictions in place for student protection that the student does not have to work around at home. Teachers need to come up with various methods to teach millennials that fit their needs. Attention spans have decreased with the new generation and thus creates a greater need to keep the student engaged (Junginger, 2008).
Making good use of new technologyin education has become somewhat of a necessity when looking at the overall success of a program and student accomplishment, especially when teaching the millenial generation. Instructors should grasp how to use the technology and be able to pass that along to the students (Liu, 2011). The media that is chosen for instruction is important in that it can ensure that there is support in the desired learning objectives (Holden & Westfall, 2007). Basically, technology can be treated as a bridge to get information from the teacher to the learner. Educators have a choice to embrace modern means of teaching or lag behind by using the more traditional approaches and miss out on what technology has to offer the students of today. However, with this use, teachers must be prepared to be challenged by technologically gifted students of the new generation that have grown up in the technology age.
As there is an array of instructional media tools available, choosing what is right for one’s own teaching style can be an important factor. In this short video clip, Dr. Marzano discusses the importance of looking at all the tools and choosing what may be appropriate for a specific setting. Understanding what way millennials learn best can be a crucial part of having a successful program.
Educators can have all the necessary tools in the world, but how they use them is a significant factor. With a growing need for technology in the classroom, communication between teacherand student is as important as ever (King-Sears & Evmenova, 2007). They must work as a team so to speak and have open communicationWith the successful integration of technology and teacher competency comes an increase in learning using the varied tools.
Next generation teaching can be a challenge with many obstacles. There are a few basic concepts that an instructor should follow when creating a curriculum and building a toolbox of teaching methods. Teachers should always be a good roll model for students while leading them with trustworthiness and civility. Give them learning opportunities with projects, tasks, critical thinking steps, etc. that will challenge them and allow them to grow. Also allow them to work as a team on occasion. Millennials have the need to work with others and some employers have even started hiring groups of friends (Junginger, 2008).
The final 3 basic concepts of teaching and designing curriculum are to allow the students to have fun, respect them, and to be flexible. A fun environment can be a learning environment, so a little humor can go a long way in the classroom. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. Listen to their ideas and encourage them to be creative. Finally, be flexible as millennials are the busiest generation that there has ever been (Junginger, 2008).
As previously mentioned, formal and informal learning can take place with the same technologies.Students learn from innovative teaching methods and technology in their educational program and can take these learned skills and use them in their home lives and within social interactions. The addition of instructional media has shown an increase in student’s responsiveness, added more critical thinking, concepts have become more meaningful to the students, and an overall improvement in classroom performance (Abdo & Semela, 2010). The Learner will benefit by having up to date technology in their classroom setting. This can benefit the millenneals by keeping them engaged when often attention span can be an issue.
Millennials are different from past generations and future generations will be changed as well. So as technology improves and advances in teaching methods become available, the importance of educators keeping pace with current strategies of teaching is of utmost importance. With many types of tools available; such as, cloud computing, social networking tools, web 2.0 tools, and classroom instructional media, the avenues and ideas in teaching become extremely broad. An educator must be knowledgeable in the field of study, yet know how to pass along that expertise in many forms so that the technological students of today can comprehend it. These technologies effect how the new generation learn.
Abdo, M., & Semela, T. (2010). Teachers of Poor Communities: The Tale of Instructional Media Use in Primary Schools of "Gedeo" Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Australian Journal Of Teacher Education, 35(7), 78-92.Ciocco, M. D., & Holtzman, D. (2008). E-Portfolios and the Millennial Students. Journal Of Continuing Higher Education, 56(3), 69-71.Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating Instructional Strategies for Using Social Media in Formal and Informal Learning. International Review Of Research In Open & Distance Learning, 13(1), 87-104.Holden, J. T., & Westfall, P. L. (2007). An Instructional Media Selection Guide for Distance Learning. Fourth Edition. Online Submission.Iyoob, I. (2013). Cloud computing clarity. Industrial Engineer: IE, 45(4), 32.
Junginger, C. (2008). Who Is Training Whom? The Effect of the Millennial Generation. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 77(9), 19.King-Sears, M. E., & Evmenova, A. S. (2007). Premises, Principles, and Processes for Integrating TECHnology Into Instruction. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 40(1), 6-14.Liu, O., & Educational Testing, S. (2011). Examining American Post-Secondary Education. Research Report. ETS RR-11-22. Educational Testing Service,Pang, L. (2009). Applying Cloud Computing in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://deoracle.org/online-pedagogy/teaching-strategies/applying-cloud-computing.html
Prensky, Marc. (2001, October 5). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from Marc Prensky's Web site: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdfThompson, C. (2009, August 24). Clive Thompson on the new literacy. Retrieved from Wired Magazine's Web site: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-09/st_thompsonThompson, C., & Gregory, J. (2012). Managing Millennials: A framework for improving attraction, motivation, and retention. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 15(4), 237-246. doi:10.1080/10887156.2012.730444Tunks, K. W. (2012). An Introduction and Guide to Enhancing Online Instruction with Web 2.0 Tools. Journal Of Educators Online, 9(2),Zickuhr, Kathryn. (2010, December 16). Generations online in 2010. Retrieved from the PewResearch web site: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1831/generations-online-2010
Who Are The
Born Into Digital World
Integration of Technology for
Technology as a Learning Tool
Work With Friends
School, Home, Social
Overall Improved Education
•Formal & Informal
•How It Effects
Abdo, M., & Semela, T. (2010). Teachers of Poor Communities: The Tale
of Instructional Media Use in Primary Schools of "Gedeo" Zone,
Southern Ethiopia. Australian Journal Of Teacher Education, 35(7),
Ciocco, M. D., & Holtzman, D. (2008). E-Portfolios and the Millennial
Students. Journal Of Continuing Higher Education, 56(3), 69-71.
Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating Instructional Strategies for
Using Social Media in Formal and Informal Learning. International
Review Of Research In Open & Distance Learning, 13(1), 87-104.
Holden, J. T., & Westfall, P. L. (2007). An Instructional Media Selection
Guide for Distance Learning. Fourth Edition. Online Submission.
Iyoob, I. (2013). Cloud computing clarity. Industrial Engineer: IE, 45(4),
Junginger, C. (2008). Who Is Training Whom? The Effect of the
Millennial Generation. FBI Law Enforcement
Bulletin, 77(9), 19.
King-Sears, M. E., & Evmenova, A. S. (2007).
Premises, Principles, and Processes for Integrating
TECHnology Into Instruction. TEACHING Exceptional
Children, 40(1), 6-14.
Liu, O., & Educational Testing, S. (2011). Examining American
Post-Secondary Education. Research Report. ETS RR-11-22.
Educational Testing Service,
Pang, L. (2009). Applying Cloud Computing in the Classroom.
Retrieved from http://deoracle.org/online-pedagogy/teaching-
Prensky, Marc. (2001, October 5). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from
Marc Prensky's Web site: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-
Thompson, C. (2009, August 24). Clive Thompson on the new literacy. Retrieved
from Wired Magazine's Web site:
Thompson, C., & Gregory, J. (2012). Managing Millennials: A framework for
improving attraction, motivation, and retention. The Psychologist-Manager
Journal, 15(4), 237-246. doi:10.1080/10887156.2012.730444
Tunks, K. W. (2012). An Introduction and Guide to Enhancing Online Instruction with
Web 2.0 Tools. Journal Of Educators Online, 9(2),
Zickuhr, Kathryn. (2010, December 16). Generations online in 2010. Retrieved from
the PewResearch web site: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1831/generations-