Technology and Learning in Higher Ed: Looking Beyond the Millenials


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Workshop on next generation learners given at various conferences - 2007.

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  • Education oriented: College-directed goals take hold as early as the first year of high school. They decide which learning techniques work best: includes lecture notes online, viewing interactive media or digitial images, reading the text, or working in groups.
  • Make conscious choices about what learning techniques work best for them Immediacy: of everything from customer service to performance feedback.
  • (visual images as representations, rise of 3D spaces - all giving rise to a representational competence
  • Some educators object to the the pressure to reshape higher education to meet the Millenial expectations. They assert that the move to incorporate technology, reduce lecture time, and reshape assignments to engage impatient Net Geners merely caters to a lack of discipline. Net Geners do typically lack information literacy skills and their critical thinking skills can be weak (Oblinger and Oblinger 2005).
  • What explains these shifts in learning styles? The more independent learning style has grown out of the ingrained habits of seeking and retrieving information from the Internet, or game environments, which marks a striking contrast from previous generations of students, who acquired information, if not passively, from authority figures and the written text.
  • Prensky says: Based on the latest research in neurobiology, there is no longer any question that stimulation of various kinds actually changes brain structures and affects the way people think. The brain is, to an extent not at all understood or believed to be when Baby Boomers were growing up, massively plastic. It can be, and is, constantly reorganized .
  • Is it that Digital Natives can’t pay attention, or that they choose not to ? Often from the Natives’ point of view their Digital Immigrant instructors make their education not worth paying attention to compared to everything else they experience – and then they blame them for not paying attention!
  • Cell phones, iPods, MP3 Players Xbox, Sony Playstation iPhone combines three amazing products — a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, maps, and searching — into one small and lightweight handheld device. 
  • A recent study from Pew Internet and American Life found that more than half of all teens online--12 million kids--create original material for the Web, whether it's through a blog, home page or school Web site, with original artwork, photos or video. A large portion of that active group also will creatively "remix" other material from the Web to create something unique.
  • Technology and Learning in Higher Ed: Looking Beyond the Millenials

    1. 1. Technology and Learning in Higher Ed: Looking Beyond the Millenials April 2007 Lesley Blicker Director of IMS Learning and Next Generation Technology Minnesota State Colleges and Universities [email_address]
    2. 2. A Profile of Today’s Learners - the Millenials <ul><li>The generation born between 1982 and 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as “Echo boomers,” the Net Generation, Digital Natives </li></ul><ul><li>Very comfortable with technological learning tools including online learning and courseware, presentation software, Web page design, spreadsheet software </li></ul>Source: “Identifying the Generation Gap in Higher Education: Where do Differences Really Lie?” Paula Garcia and Jingjing Qin. Innovate Journal of Online Education, April/May 2007.
    3. 3. Product of the Environment <ul><li>Video games </li></ul><ul><li>Computers </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul>Generation X <ul><li>The Web </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple, mobile devices </li></ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Online communities </li></ul>Millenials Baby Boomers <ul><li>TV generation </li></ul><ul><li>Typewriters </li></ul><ul><li>Memos </li></ul>
    4. 4. A Profile of the Millenials – cont’d <ul><li>Education-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>More assertive information seekers </li></ul><ul><li>No tolerance for delays </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet is better than TV </li></ul><ul><li>Doing is more important than knowing </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-tasking is a way of life </li></ul><ul><li>Typing is preferred to handwriting </li></ul><ul><li>Staying connected is essential </li></ul>Source: “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation,” Barnes, Marateo, and Ferris. Innovate Journal of Online Education, April/May 2007. Also “Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millenials: Understanding the New Students,” D. Oblinger, Educause July/August 2003.
    5. 5. Differences in Learning Styles <ul><li>Learn differently </li></ul><ul><li>Varied forms of communication (easily bored with traditional learning methods) </li></ul><ul><li>More hands-on, inquiry-based approaches to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Less willing to absorb what is put before them </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for immediacy </li></ul>Source: “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation,” Barnes, Marateo, and Ferris. Innovate Journal of Online Education, April/May 2007.
    6. 6. Shift in Learning Styles <ul><li>Shift from description to depiction </li></ul><ul><li>Peer-to-peer learning </li></ul><ul><li>Interactivity —an immediate response to their each and every action </li></ul>Source: Marc Prensky, 2001.
    7. 7. Are Their Attention Spans Really Short? <ul><li>Yes…for the old ways of learning </li></ul><ul><li>But NOT for games or for anything else that interests them </li></ul><ul><li>They crave interactivity— an immediate response to their each and every action </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional education provides very little of this compared to the rest of their world </li></ul>Adapted from Marc Prensky, 2001.
    8. 8. What Caused the Learning Style Shift? <ul><li>Ingrained habits of seeking and retrieving information from the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Playing video games where instruction is needed only “just-in-time” or “on-site,” </li></ul><ul><li>And something called neuroplasticity… </li></ul>Adapted from “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation,” Barnes, Marateo, and Ferris. Innovate Journal of Online Education, April/May 2007.
    9. 9. Neuroplasticity <ul><li>The brain reorganizes itself throughout life: neuroplasticity </li></ul><ul><li>Stimulation changes brain structures; the brain changes and organizes itself based on the inputs it receives </li></ul><ul><li>Different developmental experiences impact how people think </li></ul>Source: Marc P rensky, 2001. “ Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Parts 1 and 2. ”,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.htm,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.htm
    10. 10. Forest Park High School Digital Video Media Segment – The Millenials at School Digital Natives Source: Marc Prensky, 2001. “ Every time I go to school I have to power down,” complains a high-school student.
    11. 11. &quot;If I'm not texting my friends over the cell phone, I have my laptop with me and I'm IM'ing them. Or I'm doing research on Google. Honestly, the only reason any of my college friends use the library is for group meetings.&quot; --Andrea Thomas, senior, Miami University Source: C/Net Special Report: Taking Back the Web: New Generation Technologies Return Net to Social Roots. Always Connected
    12. 12. Media Exposure <ul><li>Spent 10,000 hours on video games </li></ul><ul><li>Read 200,000 emails </li></ul><ul><li>Watched 20,000 hours TV </li></ul><ul><li>Spent 10,000 hours on the cell phone </li></ul><ul><li>Spent under 5,000 hours reading </li></ul>By age 21, the average person will have: – Marc Prensky, 2003 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 E-mails Video Games Reading Television Cell Phone
    13. 13. What Technologies are The Millenials Using?
    14. 14. Portable Devices and Game Controllers
    15. 15. Self-publishing, “notice me” software; allows consumer to also produce. Digital connected is prized above all else. Social Technologies
    16. 16. 3D Virtual Worlds (Games/Sims)
    17. 19. The Gen Nexters <ul><li>Students presently age 5-15; college entrance between 2010 and 2020 </li></ul>* Sometimes referred to as the Gen Nexters
    18. 20. <ul><li>Fusion of mobile, IM and Web </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread availability of Open Source software (esp. enterprise) </li></ul><ul><li>3D engine product ubiquity </li></ul><ul><li>Customized educational opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Digital textbooks (e-books) </li></ul><ul><li>Continuation of social networks moving to the 3D virtual world </li></ul>Future Technology Trends
    19. 21. <ul><li>Open standards approach to tool interoperability and integration </li></ul><ul><li>Content-sharing beyond the bounds of one organization </li></ul><ul><li>Cont’d blurring of content creator and consumer </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 tools (software people nuse without being told to) </li></ul><ul><li>Mashups </li></ul>Future Technology Trends