Rant: Education And The iGen

November 9, 2009

The October issue of Toronto Life magazine had an interesting article Lament for the iGeneration by Gregory Levey. As a GenY and new media enthusiast, such subjects are of great interest to me. Having gone through college and receiving straight A’s I was particularly appalled and equally fascinated by the article explaining why he feels teaching my generation is a so-called nightmare.

He poses a lot of points that surprisingly lack any understanding of my generation. A lot of people can’t seem to understand Gen Y, and rightfully so – a plethora of characteristics that define us are substantially different from the generations that came before us. Studies prove over and over again how computer usage alters one’s brain functions and thought processes. As a technologically inclined generation, our minds simply work differently from the generations before us, creating more than a subtle evolution. We have taken a major leap to what I like to call the hybrid of the young adult.

So, I ask the question: Should the entire generation be required to change and, in a sense, dement their growth/evolution to reflect an outdated education system or vice-versa?

Personally, I don’t attend a seminar without my latop for one main reason – efficiency. I can take notes once and in the press of a button, share them with my team and online communities.

In the article, he states, “The new assumption is that knowledge doesn’t belong to any set hierarchy; information is something that everyone can share—and even change.”

The new assumption? Open your eyes – mainstream (traditional) media is collapsing and being replaced by social media. This is not a radical concept, it is the reality.

In another argument, he references Neumont University, “a school in Utah that specializes in computer science and has a reputation for turning out top-notch tech talent, has begun a multi-pronged initiative to force its students to learn how to engage with the real world, instead of just the virtual world.”

Interesting, especially since The Wall Street Journal recently crowned us the greatest generation of networkers and a study conducted by The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that online social activities actually stimulate and increase in-person socializing and networks.

“Social media activities are associated with several beneficial social activities, including having discussion networks that are more likely to contain people from different backgrounds. For instance, frequent internet users, and those who maintain a blog are much more likely to confide in someone who is of another race. Those who share photos online are more likely to report that they discuss important matters with someone who is a member of another political party.”- The Pew Internet and American Life Project

The part that had me rolling my eyes thinking You Really Don’t Get It? “Surely for a few hours a week, I thought, they could put aside their computers and focus on one issue instead of multi-tasking. The request resulted in a lot of indignant and perplexed students. Nevertheless, they all complied, and the result was a more engaged classroom, with a higher quality of discussion.”

In my opinion, this entire article (and every similar argument) sounds like one complaint after another, pissing and whining about how this generation is inconveniencing those who, lets be honest, are simply set in their ways. My suggestion is simple and summed up into one word: Adapt.

I am reminded of a George Bernard Shaw quote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

My vote’s on #Fail – what do you think?


4 Responses to “Rant: Education And The iGen”

  1. Alex Ikonn Says:

    As I was reading this Ken Robinson’s TED talk on Why school kills creativity was playing over and over in my head. Our current education system is too slow for the current generation and doesn’t make any significant use of the present technology.

    The question is how can we bring our education curriculum up to date and actually have the abilitty to stimulate current generations.

  2. […] at it again now, I’m not exactly sure why I’m validating it with a retort. Coming from a very opinionated blogger such as myself, I must say it was a conscious effort not to takes sides on the iPad subject… This […]

  3. […] at it again now, I’m not exactly sure why I’m validating it with a retort. Coming from a very opinionated blogger such as myself, I must say it was a conscious effort not to take sides on the iPad subject… This […]

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