Teaching Gen Yers - Tech Learning

Teaching Gen Yers

Are you a professional developer, a high school teacher, or university faculty? Are you finding that some of your adult students born between 1976 and 1995 maybe even up to 2001 have specific needs that are difficult to meet in
Publish date:

Are you a professional developer, a high school teacher, or university faculty? Are you finding that some of your adult students born between 1976 and 1995 maybe even up to 2001 have specific needs that are difficult to meet in a traditional classroom situation? This generation is what we call the "Generation Y" high school and college students. You may be a Gen Yer or "Millennial". Think about what type of learning environment works best for you. If many of your students are the Generation Y, here are some ideas that might help you when you design your learning activities:

1. Present the big picture. Many Generation Yers are global or "big picture" learners who learn better if they have the big picture and then learn more concrete and specific information.
2. Use technology. This is a generation that uses technology for "everything." A traditional classroom that does not integrate technology will not meet students' needs for variety, stimulation, and access to information. Some classrooms still require students to study and learn in ways that, to them, are completely different from the ways they operate in every other aspect of their daily lives.
3. Make it fun. Like their Generation X predecessors, Generation Y's want to enjoy their learning. If it is not fun, they will consider it "boring" and then will become less effective. Gen Yers learn best when they are entertained.
4. Incorporate games. Computer games if used wisely can be very effective. These involve many of the strategies that Generation Y's have already developed for learning: multimedia sensory stimulation, interactive (either with other people or with the computer), or individualization (customization) of the learning experience, control over time, and highly visual.
5. Develop opportunities for experiential learning. Small group discussions, projects, in-class presentations and debates, peer critiques, team projects, service learning, field experiences, developing simulations and case method approaches.
6. Encourage the development of learning communities - small groups of students that can discuss and analyze readings and assignments. This also addresses the need of many Generation Y students for hands-on activities in the classroom.
7. Provide lots of structure. Generation Y students look for structure in their learning setting. They want to know precisely what is required of them, when work is due, and very specific information about expectations.
8. Be organized. Because they need a lot of structure, Generation Y students also learn best when materials are presented in a well-organized and rational way. Generation Y students are much more prolific readers than Generation Xers, so reading materials for them are not a stumbling block. However, materials should be clear, use lots of white space, and be visually accessible, just as for Generation X. Summarizing key points is very important for this group. They want to know where they are going with their learning - and why.
9. Provide lots of feedback. Providing frequent feedback is essential for Generations Y's. This allows them to know when they are headed in the right direction and when they are getting off-track. Frequent attention from teachers is welcome.
10. Be relevant. Generation Yers will demand relevance in what they are learning. This will also want to "skip" steps in learning if there are areas of the information that have already mastered, and will avoid repetition and rote practice once they feel they have mastered the information.
11. Use their talents and strengths. This is a generation that likes to be useful and helpful. If you have students who know more about a topic than you do, let them talk about what they know. If they finish an assignment early, let them help other students.
12. Allow for creativity and be creative. This is a generation that thinks in many dimensions at once. Their brains work more hyperlinked where there needs to be opportunities for them to be creative in how they approach and fulfill requirements. Music, art, and games are good teaching tools.
13. Offer multiple options for performance. Try to provide a variety of acceptable, measurable outcomes and assessment strategies so that students can demonstrate what they understand their way.
14. Be visual. This group is the most visual of all learning age groups.
15. Be smart. Generation Yers will not be upset with you if they feel they know more than you do about a specific topic. They will expect you to accept their ideas and be a competent teacher. To this generation, being "a good teacher" is more important than knowing everything.
16. Be fair. Like their Boomer parents, fairness is important to this group.
17. Recognize the need for social interaction. Develop learning strategies that incorporate social interaction.
18. Encourage discussions. Develop activities that encourage students to exchange information verbally. When they say it, it is converted more quickly to long-term memory.
19. Demand respect and positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement, from teachers and peers improved learning and increases motivation.
20. Think positively. Positive thinking stimulates the brain. It increases the likelihood of success.
21. Schedule shorter activities. The Generations Y attention span declines after 15-20 minutes. You have you student's brain for only 20 minutes at a time. Break up the class time into 20-30 minute segments with some kind of activity (outbursts, e.g.).
22. Make learning relevant. Tie learning tasks to real-world problems. If it is not seen as relevant, there will be resistance to learning.

Barbara Bray, President, My eCoach http://my-ecoach.com
Blog: http://barbarabray.my-ecoach.com



Keep Gen Y Teachers Teaching

A recent report released by the American Federation of Teachers and the American Institutes for Research has shown that Generation Y teachers–those in their mid-30s or younger–have said need workplaces that support high-quality teaching and learning, or else

Questions and Changing Teaching Practice

Tip: A lot of my work with adult learners came out of research on CBAM (Concerns-Based Adoption Model) and Stages of Concern. Determining at what stage the teachers were helped me design their professional development learning plans with their help. Their questions helped me figure out how to guide them along

Online Teaching: How Hard Can It Be?

Abstract As online course offerings grow, the allure of teaching online also grows in appeal. There are many reasons for this: It can be done from anywhere in the world, you don’t need a special wardrobe; you don’t even need to bathe or get out of your pajamas to do it. Teaching is teaching, regardless of

Songs for Teaching

Songs for Teaching What better way to teach those difficult subjects than to make them into songs? This effective interdisciplinary approach incorporates easy educational lyrics for the younger students to sing. The authors offer songs in mathematics, foreign languages, character

Teaching the Language

Tip: I think we need to avoid using jargon (defined as what I know that you don't)...I have begun to teach some real novices this summer. (I've begun to realize that some clever person drew an invisible but powerful line around big city schools and said, we'll cut these people out of technology in a big way. What

Interactive Whiteboards for Interactive Teaching and Learning

Sidebar: ACTIVBoard Lessons Used in the Study In today’s society both children in educational settings and adults in workplaces are exposed to a wide assortment of information technology that allows learning and production of knowledge to take place in a variety of ways. Walter McKenzie, the Instructional

Image placeholder title

Teachers Teaching Teachers

When Jana Hambruch of Lee County School District in Fort Myers, Florida, learned that despite the district’s having secured state grant funds to cover teacher certifications, no funds would be available to cover travel costs, the industry-certifications coordinator realized that Lee County SD had a logistical and financial nightmare on its hands.

Teaching Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives

Save money and still show kids how to do math problems without expensive equipment. Virtual manipulatives are free and available to the entire class. You don't even need Internet access to use virtual manipulatives—many can be downloaded and used offline.