California Educator


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 39

The most technologically advanced g Today’s generation may be tech-savvy, but they need more attention and compassion from educators than the previous generation, observes Peg- gy Cameron, a paraprofessional at Alice C. Stelle Middle School in Cal- abasas. According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive, 30 percent of students say they worry about family financial difficulties, and 36 percent say they worried more this year than last. “The last few years and the poor econo- my have really been a reality check for a lot of them,” says Cameron. “Their parents may be out of work, there’s a war going on, and they are less optimistic about the fu- ture. They may feel that they’ve been shuf- fled around and that parents don’t have time for them. They may be prone to de- pression. They have much less of a sense of entitlement than generations that have al- ready gone through here.” But for all the struggles that today’s youngsters face, they are also the most technologically advanced generation yet — many of them headed for careers that don’t even exist today. They are well educated and very likely to benefit from the inde- pendence provided by cell phones, com- BELOW: 10th-grader Dawna Thornhill at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles. puters and whatever other technology awaits around the corner. “It’s great being able to automatically know how to use technology — we don’t have to ask anybody for help,” says Dawna Thornhill, a 10th-grader at Dorsey High School, Los Angeles. “We already know what to do, so that saves time. I really love technology.” Thornhill is a “Digital Native” and, like other members of Generation Z, seems to have been born wired to the Internet. Raised on video games, e-mail, and instant messaging, they see technology as their friend and grasp it much more quickly than previous generations. They are intimately familiar with the Internet, cell phones, MP3 players and all manner of digital media. They use technology for work, for play and to form relationships with people they have never met. “The best thing about this generation is that they know where to get information to solve problems way faster than I do,” says Alec Mackenzie, a member of the Hillsbor- ough Teachers Association. “They answer questions much more quickly; they are cu- rious and they’re smart.” “They are much more connected to the outside world than previous generations,” adds Mackenzie, an eighth-grade Spanish, language arts and film teacher at Crocker High School in Hillsborough. “They know what is hanging in the Louvre because “It’s great being able to automatically know how to use technology — we don’t have to ask anybody for help.” –Dawna Thornhill, high school ❙ they’ve seen it on the Internet. They know more about the world because they visit it on the computer.” Technology has led students to expect instant results for all things, says Daniel Watts, a computer graphic arts teacher for at-risk youth at Elinor Lincoln Hickey Ju- nior/Senior High School in Sacramento. “I Generation Z members are: > Well educated and the most technologically advanced generation. > Growing up in smaller households with older parents. > Until recently, more materially endowed. > Headed for careers that don’t even exist today. > Likely to have at least fi ve careers and more than 20 employers. > Very concerned about the environment. 10 California Educator | FEBRUARY 2010 Source: Researcher Mark McCrindle

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - FEBRUARY 2010