Dear Commons Community,
Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and the author of more than 140 scientific publications including the book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, gave the best conference keynote address I have heard in years. Her talk focused on the iGen (those born after 1995) and the first generation to spend their adolescence with smartphones.
With a plethora of charts and data, Dr. Twenge demonstrated how iGen’ers spend more time online and less time with each other in person, are growing up more slowly as adolescents, and are more extrinsically and less intrinsically motivated. Of great importance to the ACCELERATE audience, these attributes necessitate new strategies for reaching them as learners, and an awareness of how generational differences affect non-traditional age online learners in both positive and negative ways. She went on to provide a number of practical teaching suggestions such as using blended learning models, videos in teaching and for assignments, and requiring shorter length textbooks.
Her conclusion, with this new group of young people growing into adulthood, we all need to understand them: Friends and family need to look out for them; businesses must figure out how to recruit them and sell to them; colleges and universities must know how to educate, guide them, and identify how these strategies can apply to all types of learners. And most important, as we learn to understand this new generation, perhaps we can all learn more about ourselves. Because where iGen goes, so goes our nation—and the world.