As far back as 1944, Dewey (1944) recognized the importance of staying ahead of the curve in education when he said, “If we teach today's students as we did yesterday's, we are robbing them of tomorrow.” That statement is so important in today’s fast paced changing world of technology and the current generation of learners known as Millennials.
Millennials are different than any generation before them. The face of education is changing in order for K-12 education, colleges, and universities to serve this generation better.
Today teachers are instructing a “wired” generation known as Millennials, the current generation of students born between 1980 and 2000. Millennials can spend over 6 hours each day listening to music, playing games, watching television, using mobile devices, instant messaging, using social media, and other electronic and digital media like news(IEAB, n.d.). 3302200716
Millennials are the biggest and most varied generation ever. They are different from generations before them who attended college just 10 years ago. Their personalities, thought processes, and learning tendencies are unique to a traditional classroom. According to Martin and Monaco (2007), they “lack professional boundaries and are influenced bysocialization, need to have immediate feedback, have a sense ofentitlement, lack of critical thinking skills, have unrealistic expectations, have a high level of parental involvement, and expect a “how to” guideto succeed in and out of the classroom.”
Millennials need to develop better critical thinking skills to help them be successful in the future. The lack of critical thinking skills is partly due to the fact that they depend and rely on their parents more than generations before them. Millennials want to be successful with little effort and spend little time on tasks. Instructors will need to develop strategies for the classroom when teaching this wired generation.
Millennials like to be in control, like choices, are well-practiced with digital media, think differently, are group and social oriented, and take risks. They watch the world around them usually in real-time, live as it is happening and value their time (IEAB, n.d.). Their “wired” personalities carry over into the classroom and teachers must learn how to teach to this generation and engage them in learning.Millennialsprefer to use technology to study any time, anywhere. In the learning environment they use technology in creative ways. They prefer to use new and creative technologies that challenge them (IEAB, n.d.). Millennials are constantly connected socially and enjoy hanging out in groups. Socially they like to identify with other groups and communities around the world. They collaborate and share what they learn (IEAB, n.d.). Millennials are inclusive. They tolerate different races, religions, and sexual orientations. They prefer to use the internet instead of libraries or encyclopedias to learn or discover new information (IEAB, n.d.).
Millennials are practiced users of digital technology. They are the first generation to be surrounded by digital media and have made it a part of their daily lives. Because digital media is so common in their lives they naturally gravitate towards it. Millennials think differently than other generations. Millennials are not intimidated or amazed by technology. Millennials simply accept technology, adapt to it and use it (IEAB, n.d.).Millennials are more likely to take risks. Early Millennials shared a common mentality: “If this doesn’t work out, we’ll try again.” This mindset found wealth for some while others tried and tried again. Their parents, on the other hand, do not share this same mentality and are not likely to take repeated risks. (IEAB, n.d.).Millennials value their time because they view life as being uncertain. They have seen events from shooting massacres to terrorist attacks and as a result view life differently. Their free time is dictated according to their own terms (IEAB,n.d.).
According to the report by IEBA (n.d.) they can perform more functions with their devices and other wireless equipment than with a traditional computer. They use it is all aspects of their lives from waking up to using the calendar to prioritize their lives, to communication with their own language using acronyms like BTW, BRB, LOL, TTYL, and more. As stated by Jukes (2005), Millennials use technology without even thinking about it – it is a part of who they are.
Sweeney (2007), from New Jersey’s Science and Technology University, developed the Millennial Characteristics chart showing the many different characteristics of Millennials. “Overall, Millennials appear less prickly and pessimistic than their predecessors, the Gen Xers, a group that numbers about 59 million and was born from 1965 to 1982. They also seem better at reasoning and top Gen X when it comes to being organized and self-disciplined” (Sharon, 2006).
“If a generation had a mantra, “my way, right away, why pay?” would fit Millennials perfectly” (Gross, 2012). The Millennials feel that nothing is impossible. They want the everything their way, and they want it now. A generation of instant gratification of text-it, UPS-it, and why wait, not going to wait world. They demand choice and want everything customized just for them but not paying for it because it is entitled. They have a “you should be paying me” mentality.Millennials take technology for granted. Nearly every aspect of their lives is connected to social media. They Tweet, Instagram, Pinterest, FaceBook, and more to tell where they are, what they are doing, who they are with, and how they are going to do it. They expect immediate results. They are competitive researchers - before buying a product will research it to get the best deal. They think everything is up for negotiations whether it is a price, product, job, or situations. They don’t mind paying for a service but they will make the person earn their fee (Gross, 2012).
Because Millennials are a wired generation the way they use technology to learn, whether formal or informal, is different than any generation before them. Technology is second nature to them and they use it in every aspect of their lives. They are always connected and use multiple devices and media to gather information and stay “in the know” of what is going on around them (McGee, n.d.). According to a report on Teens and Technology 2013, teenagers are using mobile devices, mainly Smartphones, to access the internet for gathering information. One out of four teens mostly go online using their Smartphones. According to the report, teens are using their phones for much more than talking and instant messaging. It is used in and out of the classroom and teenagers are using it as a tool for learning (Cortesi et al., 2013).
Millennials use many different Web 2.0 tools to learning and collaboration. The list shown is just a small sampling of what is available on the internet. Millennials can upload content, organize information, give ratings and reviews, combine data from many different locations, collaborate and create groups, share information and opinions, answer and ask questions and share thoughts…just to name a few. Many of the Web 2.0 tools listed can be used for sharing, learning, and communication. They can be used inside and outside of the classroom allowing for anytime, anywhere learning (McGee, n.d.). As shown in McGee’s (n.d.) diagram, Millennials use Web 2.0 in many areas of their lives from communicating, collaborating, learning, and sharing. It is a part of who they are.
Learning is personalized with personal media, iPod playlists, iGoogle accounts, blogs, personal web pages, and others. Personalized media can be shared with others as well as other Millennials can review and rate personal media. Personalized learning can be incorporated into the classroom to create a collaborative learning environment. Millennials communicate digitally more than any other generation and form trusted communities (McGee, n.d.). Games and simulations are methods educators can help Millennials learn by visualizing complex systems. For example, seeing the inside of a cell or games to learn higher math can change the learning environment.
The World Wide Web allows Millennials to adapt their learning to their needs, as well as their environment. With wifi and satellite capabilities, Millennials can have learning occur anywhere and whenever they need it allowing for convenience. Information on the WWW is vast and constantly being updated.The WWW allows for knowledge to always be accessible. Millennials are always connected to data and each other and can find, filter, and focus (McGee, n.d.).The role of the teacher for Millennials will be to guide, assist, and coach this wired generation.
Millennials get their news and learn from the internet verses the television. A study by the Pew Project reported that 18-29 year olds consume 59% of their news from the internet where Gen Xers consume 53% but in the ages of 30-45 but they get 61% of their news from television. The report refers to Millennials as “on-demand grazers” of digital news (Krigman, 2010).
Millennials use of social media has exploded from 7% in 2005 to 75% as of today. They use it to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as social networking for communities, business, and learning. Educators are incorporating social media into the classroom and Millennials are willing and ready (Krigman, 2010).
Martin and Monaco (2007) suggest using a learning-centered syllabus to give course assignments, expectations, rules and regulations for Millennial students. This type of a syllabus will give guidance allowing the students to decide for themselves how they can be successful in the classroom. The chart on this slide and the following slide reveals characteristics of Millennials and how they may apply to the learning environment.
Millennials need and work best with structure and are social individuals in and out of the classroom. Therefore, “frequent and quality contact between students and educators can increase the motivation and commitment of the student” (Martin & Monaco, 2007).
Educators must provide a productive learning environment and develop strategies to reach the Millennial student. They have been accustomed to being hand held by parents and anticipate the same environment in the classroom. As a result of this environment, Millennials need help to develop independent thinking, as well as develop decision making skills. The educator should act as a facilitator of learning when working with Millennial students. Providing directed dynamic engagement within the educationalenvironment from the beginning willsignificantly support the learning process of these students (Martin & Monaco, 2007).
Millennials like to participating in groups for class discussions, team learning, and activities inside and outside the learning environment. They are social creatures who share their thoughts and opinions. The group dynamic seems to create a feeling of success for the Millennial. According to Martin and Monaco (2007), collaborative learning theorists feel the use of group work with an average of four students should be encouraged. Group activities promote socialization, communication, and builds team skills but it may hinder independent thinking and decision making skills. One method to help in this situation would be to integrate group projects that contain an independent evaluation for each person in the group. This allows students to express their expectations and encourages creative and critical thinking (Martin & Monaco, 2007).
In order to have success in the classroom, today’s educators must know their audience – the Millennial generation. By understanding how the Millennials think and learn, the educator will create a successful learning environment. Educators must not only be content experts, but should also be a developer of life-long learning. Educators must be creative in their content delivery and should incorporate engaging and interactive lesson plans that will challenge the student both inside and outside the classroom. Millennials like to construct their own knowledge and the educator must guide them in how to search for more knowledge. Be a “guide on the side” and no longer a “sage on the stage” (Martin & Monaco, 2007).
Educators should incorporate collaborative learning like group discussions, online discussion boards, and classroom blogs. This type of environment will create a personal experience along with the didactic course of study. Educators may also incorporate presentations, wikis, and online collaborative software. Millennials enjoy a challenge and group games such as “Evaluation Jeopardy” will engage the student (Martin & Monaco, 2007).
Education is no longer textbook and lecture. Master educators must change the classroom in order to engage the Millennial audience. Millennials are a collaborative and social generation who want to build their own knowledge and understanding using many forms of medium. It is the role of the educator to provide and create an atmosphere of learning where students are discovering and engaged. The educator is the content expert and mentor to this “my way, right away, no pay” generation of learners (Martin & Monaco, 2007).
The Millennial’s future is promising. As shown in the Millennial Chart (2013), 50% of the workforce by 2015 will be Millennials. With this “Rise of Millennials in Leadership Roles”, educators need to prepare this generation to be our next leaders and help them establish critical thinking and decision making skills that will last a lifetime.
Who are Millennials?•Millennials orGeneration Y are studentsborn between 1980 and 2000•Different than anygeneration before them(Images, 2010)
Who are Millennials?• A “Wired” generation• Spend over 6hours aday using technology(Images, 2010)(IEAB, n.d.)
Who are Millennials?• Largest and mostdiverse generationto attend college• Lack boundaries• Want immediate feedback• Sense ofentitlement(Images, 2010)(Martin & Monaco 2007)
Who are Millennials?• Lack criticalthinking skills• Unrealisticexpectations• High level of parentalinvolvement(Images, 2010)(Martin & Monaco 2007)
Characteristics ofMillennials• They like to be incontrol• They like choice• They are social andgroup oriented• They are inclusive(Images, 2010)(IEAB, n.d.)
Characteristics ofMillennials• They are practicedusers of digitaltechnology• They think differently• They enjoy taking risks• They value their time(Images, 2010)(IEAB, n.d.)
Characteristics ofMillennials“They use digital technologytransparently, withoutthinking about it,without marveling at it,without wonderinghow it works.”—Understanding Digital Kids:Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape,Ian Jukes(Images, 2010)(Jukes, 2005)
Portrait of MillennialsMy Way, Right Away,Why Pay?• Take technology for granted• Live through social media• Negotiators• High expectations(Images, 2010)(Gross, 2012)
Technology & Learning• Grew up with the Internet• Always connected– instant & text messaging– social networking websites– personal media– email•Information on demand• Multiple formats“…teenagers preferrednew technology, likeinstant messaging ortext messaging, fortalking to friends anduse e-mail tocommunicate with "oldpeople” (Cortesi et al.,2013).(Images, 2010)(McGee, n.d.)
Technology & LearningDigital News• Primary source for news– 18-29 year olds– 59% use internet for news– 6% use television for news• Prefer news aggregators– 20% use Yahoo– 18% use CNN.com– 10% use Google• Different from Gen Xers(Images, 2010)(Krigman, 2010)
Technology & Learning•Social MediaExplosion– 7% of Millennials were usingsocial media in 2005– 75% of Millennials use socialmedia today• Staying Connected• Social Media in class(Images, 2010)(Krigman, 2010)
Teaching Millennials•Learning environment•Facilitate learning• Help students developindependent thinking• Help learn decisionmaking skills•Engage students(Images, 2010)(Martin & Monaco, 2007)
Teaching MillennialsLearning environment• Group Activities– Socialization– Communication– Team Building Skills– Evaluation• Class Discussions• Team Learning• Activities(Images, 2010)(Martin & Monaco, 2007)
Know the AudienceEducators must:• Be content experts• Developer of life-longlearning• Interactive and engaginglearning• Guide the learner• Incorporatecollaborative andconstructivist learning(Images, 2010)(Martin & Monaco, 2007)
ReferencesDewey, J. (1944). Democracy and Education. Retrieved from:http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2011/10/06-personalize-learning-westGross, T. (2012). Portrait of a millennial. Retrieved from:http://www.forbes.com/sites/prospernow/2012/06/27/portrait-of-a-millennial-2/Images. (2010). Microsoft Office 2010 ClipArt.Images2. (2013). Office Images. Retrieved from:http://officeimg.vo.msecnd.net/en-us/imagesIEAB - International Education Advisory Board. (n.d.). Learning in the 21stcentury – Teaching today’s students on their terms. Retrievedfrom:http://www.certiport.com/Portal/Common/DocumentLibrary/IEAB_Whitepaper040808.pdfJukes, I. (2005). Understanding digital kids: Teaching and learning in the newdigital landscape. Retrieved from:http://www.certiport.com/Portal/Common/DocumentLibrary/IEAB_Whitepaper040808.pdf
ReferencesKrigman, E. (2010). Millennials defined by technology use. Retrieved from:http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/no_20100225_3691.phpMartin, M. & Monaco, M. (2007). The millennial student: a new generation oflearners. Retrieved from: http://www.nataej.org/2.2/EJMonaco.pdfMillennial Chart. (2013). Retrieved from:http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8520/8507138871_00494bd919_d.jpgMcGee, J. (n.d.). Teaching millennials. Retrieved from:http://www.ame.pitt.edu/documents/McGee_Millennials.pdfSweeney, R. (2007). Understanding millennials – implications for college.Retrieved from: http://library1.njit.edu/staff-folders/sweeney