Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials

I actually enjoyed reading this article by Diana Oblinger!  It discusses the generations of learners (The Depression Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millenials), characteristics of the “new student,” and what schools are doing to engage and draw these students’ attention.

One point I found to be quite surprising was when they listed the Baby Boomer’s as a part of the “new student.”  I thought this was quite surprising because when I think of “new students,” it is the children who are still in elementary or high school.  I personally don’t think that they should be applied to this term because their schooling experience was completely different from my generations experience (I’m a Millennial).  I also think the Millennials should almost be split up into two different groups because the earlier Millennials had a different experience from the later Millennials.  I remember in elementary school, we had a single computer lab, a couple TV carts to share with the whole school, and overhead projectors.  Also, we were taught mostly through taking notes from the board or working on handouts.  I compare this to my most recent class practicum, I was placed in a grade 6 class where each student brought their own laptop, iPhone, or iPad and there was a SMART board in each class to replace the overhead projector and TV cart.  Instead of taking notes on the board with paper and pen, students were using all sorts of different ways to do so and also teachers were using PowerPoints, pictures and videos to teach.  So in almost ten years, teaching and learning has changed quite significantly and yet they’re still in the same category for experiencing learning.

One section that I thought had me thinking about was when the author talked about how students feel educators use of technology is lacking and disappointing.  I think that one way to keep up to date with technology and use it so that students are engaged is to ask them if they have any ideas of how you could integrate technology into the lessons or what different types of technologies are available to change things up.  I think that this could also help engage students not only by integrating technology, but because you are getting them involved in finding ways to improve their learning so they will want to pay attention to class and pin point areas that could be improved on or that they liked.

One point that made me think back to a video I had watched in one of my classes last year was “They expect that services will be available 24×7 in a variety of modes.”  I found this video to be extremely funny but also very real in how much people expect nowadays.  “Everything’s Amazing and Nobodies Happy” (watch 2:14 – 6:05)

If you want to read the article, here’s the link!


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