This is post that has been in draft form for a couple of weeks. I keep coming back to it and rewording items. First off, let me say that I really like the Reeves article on generational differences in instructional design (I will actually use this article in my class along with the Prensky article).
I would be lumped into the Generation X group based on being born in the 1960’s. I can remember buying my first computer for grad school back in 1990 and deciding between the black and white Mac Classic for $2,500, or the $4,000 Color version. I can even remember thinking “why would anyone ever need a color computer”, so, I brought the Classic. Now 27 years later, things have changed just a bit. I would consider myself fairly tech-savvy since that is what I do. Most mornings I spend 20-30 reading about new technology developments and new tools. However, when I talk about many of these items with 19 year old college freshman I am often greeted with blank stares. Yes, it is true they have grown up with technology and the internet, but outside of a small percentage of them, they have some huge holes in regards to effective use or understanding of technology. Sure, they can rock at Snapchat, video games, Netflix and YouTube, but given a collaborative task using google spreadsheets or even PowerPoint and the gaps quickly show up.
I think we have this misperception (fostered by folks like Prensky) that just because they grew up with it and use their phones on a daily basis, then they are tech wizards and much better it than us old Gen X’ers. Technology is a huge gamut of ever-evolving things that I really think is hard for anyone to be fully on top of. Yes, it is true that they might have a better overall grasp, but it’s really about what you use on a daily basis. My mother-in-law ( A women in her late 70’s) can kill me and about anyone else with her complete mastery of the cable TV remote and the DVR. It is an amazing thing to watch, but yet she struggles with any software update for her iPhone.
I really enjoyed reading the Reeves article. He seems to take a better approach by actually looking at the data to determine what the differences (if any) there are. Moderation is what I preach in life and I think it applies here as well. It is often very easy to get caught up in the generalizations of day and assume they are true. You hear enough about one thing and it seems to catch on (as the assumptions on learning styles proves).
If you have some extra time, I really recommend reading the Reeves article, it has continued to make me think about many things in regards to this generational debate.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do they really think differently? http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf
McKenzie, J. (2007). Digital nativism: Digital delusions & digital deprivation. http://fno.org/nov07/nativism.html
Reeves, T.C. (2008). Do generational differences matter in instructional design? http://paeaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/10c-Gen-Diff-Matter.pdf