There was an addition to the digital generation this week, my grandson! Experiencing his arrival was vastly different from the time my mother was waiting for the arrival of her grandson. She sat by the phone (landline) waiting for a call. I sat with my Smartphone in my hand monitoring text messages from both Mom (my daughter-in-law) and Dad (my son).  Family members hundreds of miles away were glued to Facebook to see the first photo which was posted less than 30 minutes after his birth. Friends and co-workers were anxiously waiting to receive a MMS (multimedia message service – picture message).

My grandson has digital generation parents. They are not afraid to post his photo and information on the internet. My grandson will have an internet domain name establishing his own digital identity. His Mom is connected to Mommy Bloggers and internet support groups. His Dad developed digital skills through computer and video games and prefers receiving information from multiple multimedia sources.

When my children were young I watched parenting television advice shows by Terry Brazleton but today I follow his website and subscribe to blogs like http://blogs.goddardsystems.com where experts Dr. Kyle Pruett and Sue Adair post articles about healthy eating for children, self-esteem development and other related articles of advice in raising children today. I follow the Digital Grandparent (http://www.digitalgrandparent.com ) blog: technology by and for baby boomers.

Last month I attended a session at ISTE (International Society for Technology Education) by Ian Jukes and Lee Crockett: Understanding the Digital Generation. Here are a few of the key points I took away from the session:

  • Digital learners prefer receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources.
  • Digital learners prefer instant gratification and immediate rewards.
  • The digital generation processes information differently than the people of the older generation.

As parents, grandparents and educators we have much to do to effectively prepare our digital generation students for the digital culture of today. According to Jukes and Crockett education leadership is needed to bring a shift in instruction to keep students engaged in learning. Educators need to access the value of new online digital experiences with traditional nondigital ones guiding students to develop 21stcentury collaboration skills they need while working on digital online projects.

Jukes and Crocket say, “If we ever want to take a part in nurturing those who will be the architects of our future, it’s up to us to learn their language and step into their world so that we may truly understand the digital generation.”