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Bridging the Generation Gap in Technical Education Gary Whittle, St. Catharine College.

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Presentation on theme: "Bridging the Generation Gap in Technical Education Gary Whittle, St. Catharine College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bridging the Generation Gap in Technical Education Gary Whittle, St. Catharine College

2 Who is in you class?  Veterans- Born before 1945 - 75 million  Baby Boomers – Born 1946 to1964 – 80 million  Gen Xers – Born 1965 to 1980 – 46 million  Gen Yers– Born after 1980 – 76 million

3 Veterans (ages 62+)  World War II  Korean War  Cold War  Nuclear Bomb  The New Deal  Social security  Income taxes  B/W TV  The Silent Generation  Value duty, discipline, thrift, sacrifice, authority  Life is about work, not fulfillment  Conformity is good. Individualism is iffy.  Strict gender roles.  Follow rules. Respect authority

4 Boomers (ages 45-64)  Space Race  Civil Rights  Vietnam  Kennedy & King Assassinations  Woodstock  Women’s rights  Color TV  Treated as “special,” advantaged children  Focus on individuality, creativity, personal fulfillment  Want to “make a difference”  Optimistic and team-oriented  Socially and intellectually involved  Proud of working long hours to get ahead

5 Generation X (ages 27-44)  Fall of Berlin Wall  AIDS  Chernobyl  Desert Storm  3 Mile Island  Watergate  Tiananmen Square  MTV  Trust authority only if accompanied by competence  Focused on developing skills to enhance marketability  Self-reliant and independent  Less optimistic, more pragmatic and self-reliant  Confident in their technology-based skills  Want a life, as well as a job

6 Generation Y (ages 26 and under)  9-11 Attack  War in Iraq  Columbine  Global Warming  Cell phones  Internet  Xbox and iPod  Socially accepted delayed adolescence  Still reliant on parents  Access and process information faster  Extensive users of technology at home and at work  Optimistic, sociable and achievement-oriented  Believe their experiences/opinions are the ones that matter .

7 So… What Difference Does it Make?  Who are our students?  How do they learn?  How do we teach?  How is college-level instruction changing?  What about technology?  What about the “old ways”?

8 Personal and Lifestyle Characteristics VeteransBoomersGen XGen Y Core Values Authority Conformity Discipline Hierarchy Optimism Involvement Work Team play Skepticism Fun Informality Loners Realism Confidence Extreme Fun Social Family Traditional NuclearDisintegratingLatch-key kidsMerged families Education A DreamA birthright A way to get thereA tool Communication Rotary Phones Party Lines Written notes Phones "Call me anytime" Cell phones "Call me only at work" Internet Facebook Email Money Pay Cash Save Buy now, Pay later Cautious Conservative saveEarn to spend

9 Classroom Characteristics VeteransBoomersGen XGen Y Work Ethic Hard workers Respect authority Obey rules Workaholics Desire quality Question authority Elf-reliant Distrust authority Multi-tasking Goal oriented Tenacious What’s Next? Performance is: An obligationAn adventureA challenge A means to an end Interactive Style IndividualTeamEntrepreneur Participative Feedback No news is good news Leave me alone ‘til I finish !! Sorry to Interrupt, but how am I doing? Whenever I want it, at the touch of a button Message to Motivate Your experience is respected You are valued and needed Do it your way—forget the rules You will work with other bright, creative people

10 How Do They Learn? Veterans:  New is not necessarily better  Slow to change ideas  Prefer structure, schedules and procedures  Must have time to tie new ideas to old mental framework for full assimilation  Can be technologically challenged  Want a clear statement of goals, procedures, expectations and product parameters

11 How Do They Learn? Boomers:  Want their efforts to matter  Are frustrated with busy work  Want to see the big picture and how things fit  Like team projects  Motivated by responsibility to the group  Don’t care about in-line feedback  Value the product, not the process

12 How Do They Learn? Generation X:  Task oriented – want to learn new skills  Change oriented – want version 5.0.1  Want to work quickly  If it isn’t fun, there better be a good reason for doing it  Prefer informal communication  Do not like team activities  Want lots of feedback

13 How Do They Learn? Generation Y:  Always looking for the “new”  High end technology  Consumer oriented  Need help orienting to college level expectations  Skill development focused  Productivity, not attendance = rewards  Short attention span  Critical thinking skills undeveloped

14 OK…. So How Do I Teach?  Traditional Classroom  Hybrid Classes  Online

15 OK…. So How Do I Teach? The class lecture “may be the worst pedagogy, relatively ineffective for most aspects of most subjects and for most students.” Porter, 1999, p. 16



18 Teaching With Technology  Be sure you know how to use it before you introduce it  Let the students teach/mentor each other  Don’t expect universal acceptance  Don’t fall for bells and whistles  Keep the human element foremost  Use multiple levels to meet the needs of all

19 Teaching With Technology  SAM  Web 2.0  Xbox Live  Google Earth  Facebook/MySpace  The Sims  Wii  Myst  Second Life

20 Take advantage of their strengths..  Veterans– good mentors, follow rules, value the institution  Baby boomers – hard workers, results oriented, team players, intellectually involved, proud of their “product”  Gen Xers – Self-reliant, fast working, techno- savvy  Millennials – Open, optimistic, social, techno experts

21 Learn together, Network together, Grow together  Questions???  Comments….  Thank You

22 A special thank you to Mary Alice Burkhart Coordinator, Noncredit and Customized Programs Austin Peay State University Center for Extended and Distance Education For her contribution and research.

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