Is this the dumbest generation?

This is how Don Tapscott begins his conversation with the students and they are responding on the forum as we speak. Wow! What a great intro!  If you respond on your blog, please use the technorati tag   (just copy that at the end) so we can aggregate responses from the blogosphere.

Here is my response.

“My generation was characterized by the television and rock music. I remember hearing someone on the Today show who had research to prove that loud rock music would interrupt our heart rhythms and make us unhealthy. Also, I remember that people said that we watched so much tv, so closely that we would have eye damage.

To me, there are adults who are inter-generational relational and there are those who are generational gappers. The former are those who are willing to change and also, very often who love and enjoy and appreciate children and youth. The latter are often those who don't want to change, who have somehow forgotten the way that adults stereotyped them when they were growing up.

When we went to Qatar, we taught the students that there was no superior culture – just different cultures. The same is true with generations – no superior generation, just different generations. Some adults mistake the fact that they are in authority with thinking that they are superior. In fact, if we look at the adult generation now, I think we too have some flaws. And in looking at our own flaws, we have some things we have GOT to teach our students.

To me: ethics, digital citizenship, cultural awareness, global collaborative skills, and discernment are all things that should be part of our student's upbringing. Then, we will inoculate them against becoming corporate executives who lie on their financial statements to get ahead – people who build bridges with other cultures instead of burning them, and people who treat each other with ethics.

I lay much of the blame for cyberbullying and copyright infringement upon the fact that this is a subject totally ignored in most schools and which most parents are either unaware or uneducated about. It is time to move these things front and center and realize that this generation is DIFFERENT and that we must DIFFERENTIATE and learn how to best teach them.

It is exciting that we are having them cast the vision for this and be part of this with the NetGen Ed project which is part of your good challenge.

PS. And the students and I commented on how your audience was very likely adults with this video! Students said they could see how some adults would be nodding their head “yes! Yes! YES!” and then all of a sudden a big “NNNNNOOOOOOOOO!!” as you turn the tables on the common misconceptions of youth. Great job and wonderful video. Thank you for sharing and conversing with students.”

I particularly love Kayla's response:

“Wow Mr. Tapscott. In the beginning I was shocked because I was thinking, goodness, he's talking about us! But you are right, we are the smartest generation and the future pretty much lies in our hands. That's the power we have. The “digital immersion” has actually improved communication with people around the world and has become part of our everyday life.

Addicted? Yes we are. We're anxious to learn as many new things as we can about the internet and new technologies. We are a powerful force of change, and change is for the better.

The future isn't hopeless because of us, the future is actually hope-FUL.”

And Kathryn has a good one as well:

“Mr. Tapscott is right when he says that everybody criticizes our generation. Fortunately, he and I both disagree with these criticisms.

First, he said that people think we are the dumbest generation. We are actually the smartest generation because we have had to deal with school plus all of the extra technological advances that have come out during our lifetime. We manage to keep up with the changing world and make good grades. We also read when we get on the computer, and we can look up useful information on the internet. Another reason that students are smarter is we have harder tests than our parents did.

He also mentioned that we have no social skills. I definitely disagree with this stereotype. What do you think people do on MySpace? Socialize, duh. Our parents think that everyone is addicted to the internet but no one talks to anybody else. This is not true because there are tons of spaces on the internet that are just for collaboration and socializing. I believe that these spaces and websites are actually helping kids become more social because we can talk to people from anywhere around the world, and past generations did not have that opportunity.

Another common criticism is that we are violent and bully everybody. I truly believe that every generation bullied, it just happens to be better documented now. There is actually an advantage to fights being put on the internet: It offers proof of who did it. In the past, kids could just lie and say that they didn't do it, but now we can't lie because everybody has a copy of the fight.

Lastly, he said that people think we are self-centered and don't get involved in anything. This is not a true statement because Obama got involved on the internet and began blogging, and he won the election. Many young people voted in this past election because Obama knew how to reach the Net Generation.

Past generations need to realize that we are not the horrible people they think we are.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Peach Pod February 23, 2009 - 5:31 pm

I don’t feel that this is the dumbest generation. I also don’t particularly agree that we need significant modification to what and how we teach. I do feel that the generation that is currently raising this generation needs to look at itself. These kids didn’t come out of the womb with these behaviors. They were allowed to develop them by parents. Parents who are more concerned about their own needs/wants/desires, parents who want to be ‘friends’ with their kids, and parents who are afraid of hurting their kid’s pride/ego/self-image are causing the damage. School systems that are more worried about being sued than educating minds are also part of the problem. People can blame this generation all they want, but the bottom line is that someone is raising them to be this way.

Thuyanh91 March 8, 2011 - 9:49 pm

I am a college student and I think that the author of “The Dumbest Generation” does not give enough credit to my generation. There are all these stereotypes and misconceptions that we are lazy and don’t are about our community. But from my experience, I have seen people my age express strong opinions about what is happening and want to make a difference. A friend and I actually made a video response about this topic:

coolcatteacher March 10, 2011 - 12:32 am

Thank you! I agree that you are not a dumb generation at all!

Vicki Davis
Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Building the bridges of today that the society of tomorrow will walk across.

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