Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another interesting snippet

Lifted from: The Net Generation Goes to College, by Scott Carlson

"I had a feeling that the Millennials were different," the Penn State professor says. "This brought the differences into sharp focus for me."

Sitting in his office, its walls covered with pictures of his six children (two of whom are Millennials), Mr. Sweeney ticks off some of those differences:

  • "They have no brand loyalty," he says. They "accept as their right" the ability to make choices and customize the things they choose.
  • They are more educated than their parents and expect to make more money. "Many more have changed majors and expect to change jobs and careers," Mr. Sweeney says. But they often wait until they are already well into a major or a career track before they decide to make a change, he adds.
  • Playing with gizmos and digital technology is second nature to them. "They like portability, and they are frustrated by technology that tethers them to a specific location," he says. Studies show that Millennials don't read as much as previous generations did. They prefer video, audio, and interactive media.
  • They multitask. "They are much more likely to mix work and play than we are," he says, "playing a game or chatting while they are doing an assignment."
  • "In grade school, they were pushed to collaboration," which explains the popularity of group study in college today, Mr. Sweeney says. "The collaboration," he adds, "is both in-person and virtual."
  • Moreover, "they want to learn, but they want to learn only what they have to learn, and they want to learn it in a style that is best for them," he says. Often they prefer to learn by doing.
So, it seems to me that we have a generation of students who are very much a moving target. There are many different books/articles/opinions out there about who they are and how they are different from all previous generations. Not only do they break the previous molds, but they don't fit nicely into their own mold either. I guess we just keep trying to reach them, but I suggest that we try some new techniques because the old ones are playing very poorly with the "traditional" college students.

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