Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's so big about being a "Millenial" anyway?

If you read my blog occasionally, you may know that I am working on obtaining my Master's degree in education. Currently, I am taking two courses: Reading in the Context Area and Philosophy of Education. Both very interesting classes, and it is amazing to see how many different perspectives there are just in the field of Education alone.
I have a fellow student who goes on and on about Millenials - that generation which was born in the last decade of the old century or the first decade of the new one. I was reading an article in the Washington Times which stated these Millenials are the children of the generation called the Baby-boomers. They aren't. They belong to us, Generation X, otherwise known as the children of the 70's and 80's.
This new generation - referred to hereafter as M's - have been blessed with an ever expanding access to information and technology. There is no question that they are more connection and have more access to information than any other generation in our history. It's all right there for them at the touch of their fingers. But is that always a blessing? If it is, it's a mixed one.
M's can multi - task and organize thoughts and data in ways not previously realized. They are also spoiled, used to the answers being at their finger tips. They don't have to know who John F. Kennedy was, or what his accomplishments were, if they need to know, they just google it. My father, who was a member of the Greatest Generation, could do amazing math facts all in his head. Now, our children rely on calculators and have difficulty performing without them or other technological tools.
They don't read. Not because they can't, but because they chose not too - which is worse. In 2005 research was conducted on high school seniors. This research was conducted by the American Freshman Society, and is a yearly survey. Alarmingly, they found that in this year and throughout the new millenium, one- quarter of high school graduates who've gone on to college have NEVER read a word or literature for their own enjoyment and or enlightenment. Further, this generation seems to view this anti-literacy as cool.
So I ask again, what is so great about generation M? As a future educator and as the mother of two members of this generation , I view them as the greatest challenge I will ever face. They have the potential for so much and yet, so often seem to opt for the easy answer.