Teaching the iGeneration

Larry D. Rosen

Ed Leadership - February 2011


Children and teens today are immersed in technology. Just as we don't think about the existence of air, they don't think about technology and media. Individualized mobile devices have given them the expectation that if they conceive of something, they will be able to make it happen. Yet schools still expect these members of the iGeneration to "unitask," writes Rosen—listening to teacher lectures, completing worksheets, and writing with pen and paper. Bringing technology into education will not only get the iGeneration more involved in learning, but also put teachers in their most effective role, as facilitators of meaning-making.

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This was a thought provoking article! Thank you so much for sharing it! One thing I loved the most about it was that at the very end, the author talked about simple ways to easily integrate technology in the way our students know best, but allowing them to find multi-media resources to support learning. They are already very savvy with YouTube and other multi-media sites, why not let them use those skills to then deepen their knowledge and enrich their experience in the classroom? Thanks for sharing!


I agree - a terrific article, and perhaps a shameless plug for Apple products by coining the "iGeneration" term!


All kidding aside, the opener of this article rings true in just about every 21st-generation classroom environment:  An interested, engaged student asks a teacher a difficult question, perhaps beyond the scope of the lesson itself.  When the teacher, stumped, hesitates to respond with a confident answer, the student prompts, "can we look it up?"  With computers, smartphones, and, really, unfettered internet access at everyone's fingertips, the teacher's job isn't just "to use technology to convey content more powerfully and efficiently" but also to model technology/web literacy and the ability to sift through sources to find reliable information on the fly.


I especially liked the discussion of the more personalized "knowledge broker" as a favorable, alternative to overwhelming, "one-size-fits-all" lists of web resources sometimes provided to teachers, without any real follow through, or classroom application.


I'm still scratching my head as to how that 7 year-old set up the bluetooth printer and all of the home computers...is this what second-graders are talking about during lunch?


A good read!

Thanks for the interactive connection.


This is exactly what was predicted by several generations and used in practice during the late 1980's and early to mid 1990's. 


When I included and discussed this concept, with colleagues, coursework and in committees during the mid 1990's, many did not understand the thought that platforms will not be critical (or necessary) for use of technology. These are intended to assist and expand the learning "platform" beyond the historically traditional classroom walls. Parallel to this writing, included a concept of an all encompassing "books" with "real virtual" pages which could incorporate multiple media formats, including traditional text, which were produced (and disappeared) a few years back.


Expansion of the comments and applications (apps) is just a matter of time, as they are not really "new," just addressed in a manner (or format) that is not familiar to some of the individual learners. These tools offer the opportunity for differentiation and individual learning built in, using many of the foundations (best practices) that currently exist. Technology is a tool and we must not see it as a panacea, rather as a welcome addition to increase the global pedagogical  community and collegial/learner collaboration.


This "digital" generation is able to manipulate, control and function with the tools. However, as pedagogues, it is imperative that we form (and expand) the foundations so they truly understand the power and possibilities of these tools. As with all learners, we are always acquiring new skills and gain new insights (even if we do not want to admit it.) 


This is great a format for PD - beyond the traditional meeting and learning environment. Asynchronous. 


If anyone would be interested, I can send a link to anyone who might wish to discuss these concepts - "off list" individually.


Again, thank you for providing this forum for collegial, collaborative and differentiated interaction.






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