Generational Diversity for Theories on Thursday

Today's 5th grader was born in 2000.

Today's 5th grader knows smartphones, texting, Web 2.0 and 3.0, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and over 100 Pokemon characters. 

Today's 5th grader does not know carphones, pagers, VHS tapes and DOS operating systems. 

Heck, today's 5th grader barely knows land lines (for phones) or CDs.

Times have changed, no?

Today's generation born after 2000 is known as the iGeneration or Digital Natives.  If you are wondering which generation came before them, it was Generation Y, or the Millennials, born after 1980 - the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.  Of course, if you are like me, you are wondering, "Where's my generation?"  Hold on, wait for it..... people born after 1965 are Generation Xers.  And do we have any Baby Boomers in the house - born after 1946?  Just to make my moms and dads proud (yes, I have multiples of them - most GenXers do), if you were born prior to 1945, say hello to the "Silent Generation;" though my parents seem far from silent when they are offering me unsolicited advice.

Hi moms and dads, love ya!

From Marc Prensky's article from 2001, On the Horizon, the iGeneration (or Digital Natives) are known for:
  • Being the first generation to grow up completely in the digital age.
  • As a result, they inevitably think and process information differently.
  • They are used to receiving information quickly and easily.
  • They learn best when “edutained.”  I like to say "edugaged," personally.
  • They prefer graphics before text.
  • They tend to multi-task and have “hyperlinked” minds.
  • They function best when socially networked.
  • They tend to collaborate well with others.
How does the above list affect teaching and learning?  Should we be tweeting our lessons?  In 140 characters or less, today I'd like to discuss Newton's Theory of Motion.....

To assist you in your classroom and to hone the skills of your Digital Natives, consider the following seven recommendations from Marilee Sprenger's 2009 article, Focusing the Digital Brain of the Digital Native:
  1. Provide reflection time:  Digital natives tend to move at rapid speeds.  Provide time for them to stop and reflect.
  2. Disarm them:  Take away the technology and have students practice listening and reading facial/body cues.  Encourage them to “go Amish” or de-tech for a period of time.
  3. Let them teach:  Use the Digital Natives’ expertise.
  4. Use interactive white boards:  Digital Natives interact with the world through screens.  Consider meeting them in their comfort zone.  Consider embracing other technology or applications (like Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
  5. Build emotional literacy:  Digital Natives are connected to others.  Help build their emotional Intelligence so they connect in healthy, positive ways.  I feel a blog post coming on.....
  6. Teach mindfulness:  Living in a digital world can be stressful.  Help Digital Natives be in the present moment, taking a deep breath, slow down, and become more aware.
  7. Encourage storytelling:  Digital Natives are experts at finding information, but they must also be able to repackage it and share it with others.  Storytelling enhances connectedness to others and can foster connectedness to content, as well.  Daniel Pink supports this idea, too.  You know how I adore Pink.
What are you doing to edugage students?  Which ideas from Sprenger have you tried?  Parents, what are your thoughts?
From a digital immigrant,