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Understanding the Digital Generation

Understanding the Digital Generation
Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape

Foreword by Marc Prensky

February 2010 | 176 pages | Corwin

An innovative look at reshaping the educational experiences of 21st-century learners!

Inspiring thoughtful discussion that leads to change, this provocative resource for teachers and administrators examines how the new digital landscape is transforming learners and learning. It makes the case for rethinking teaching processes in the face of these emerging developments within an environment of standards, accountability, and high stakes testing, and for providing informed leadership that supports 21st-century learning.

The book provides strategies, ideas, and compelling viewpoints to help leaders deepen their understanding of how educational thinking and instructional approaches must translate into relevant classroom experiences for today's learners. Understanding the Digital Generation describes implementing educational approaches that build critical thinking skills, and discusses the role of digital media and technology used by students and how that fosters the crucial development of new 21st-century fluency skills. In reader-friendly terms, the authors provide:

  • A comprehensive profile of digital learners' attributes
  • An exploration of the concepts of "neuroplasticity" and the "hyperlinked mind"
  • An approach to educational models that support traditional literacy skills alongside essential 21st-century fluencies
  • An examination of appropriate methods of evaluation that encompass how digital generation students process new information

For staff developers leading study groups, this text provides powerful chapter-opening quotes, built-in questions, and additional tools to generate reflective dialogue and an open exchange of ideas.

The 21st Century Fluency Project
Part I. Understanding the Digital Generation
1. The Need for Balance
2. The Problem of the Gap
3. What We Know About the Digital Generation
4. Learning Preferences of the Digital Generation
Part II. How Should Education Respond?
5. An Impending Tragedy
6. It’s Time to Catch Up
7. A Shift to Whole-Mind Instruction
8. Teachers Must Move Off the Stage
9. Teachers Must Let Students Access Information Natively
10. Teachers Must Let Students Collaborate
11. Teachers Must Teach Students Visually
12. Teachers Must Re-evaluate Evaluation
13. A Need for Balance and Leadership

"A highly relevant book that gives specific reasons for educators to shift to meet the needs of digital natives. This book is loaded with vignettes and cases to demonstrate how the kids of today think and learn, with strategies to help educators engage today’s tech-savvy students."

Beth Madison, Principal
George Middle School, Portland, OR

“Jukes, McCain, and Crockett provide an excellent argument of why schools are not effectively preparing our students for the 21st-century global workforce. This shift of the paradigm where students move from consumers of knowledge to creators of their knowledge is paramount to students’ future successes.”

Matt McClure, Superintendent
Cross County School District, Cherry Valley, AR

“In their new book, Jukes, McCain, and Crockett have broken new ground. While focusing on 21st-century skills, this group of authors has laid important groundwork for lifting our thinking into the 21st century. As they so aptly point out, we cannot correctly identify the skills for the 21st century with thinking still grounded in the 20th century. Jukes, McCain, and Crockett challenge our thinking first and then lead us to what is important for our students to be able to do in this new century. They are right on target for truly understanding the future of educating children.”

Donna Walker Tileston, Author and International Presenter

“Jukes, McCain, and Crockett have laid out an excellent road map for learning in the 21st century. Readers will have clearer understanding of this digital generation and why our classrooms continue to teach analog students in a digital world.”

James Cisek, CEO/President
Audio Education, Inc.

“This book dramatically documents the need for educators to recognize that 21st-century learners do not learn like their predecessors. The included research and suggested strategies for change provide hope for the future. As a former Ohio school superintendent and staff development director, I believe this is a must-read for those truly interested in educational reform.”

Steve Franko, Educational Consultant

"Understanding the Digital Generation is grounded in the recognition that today's students are very different from those in the past, and it outlines new approaches to schooling with technology that should be heard and acted upon now."

Frank Kelly, Senior Partner, SHW Group
Author, Teaching the Digital Generation

“This book explores critical questions that intrigue today’s educational leaders: How do I balance the best of the past with the opportunities and realities of the present? How do I balance all that I know with all that we are becoming? And how does all this create the best possible learning environment for our students? A great guide to the future!”

Nikos Theodosakis, Author, The Director in the Classroom

“The students populating today’s schools are fundamentally different from those of previous generations. If we are serious about educating them for life in the 21st century, we must acknowledge this difference and rebalance our approach. In Understanding the Digital Generation, Jukes, McCain, and Crockett fully deliver on their goal of providing a greater understanding of the digital generation and sparking ‘...deep thinking about how instruction should change to teach them effectively.’”

Brian Celli, Superintendent/CEO
Wild Rose School Division, Alberta, Canada

“Jukes, McCain, and Crockett offer up a highly readable, terribly important summary of the attributes of today's technologically enhanced children and explore the urgent implications for today’s schools. Get this book and read it. And then pass it along to your administrators!”

Doug Johnson, Director of Media and Technology
Mankato Area Public Schools, MN

“A book that captures what real learning is all about. Thank you Ian, Ted, and Lee for sharing your knowledge and casting new insight on digital kids. A must-read for every teacher, teaching in this modern, high-tech, digital online world. This book equips teachers to meet these challenges and is the first of its kind to make a significant shift in focus from how teachers teach to how students learn.”

Nicky Mohan, Developer
University of Waikato, New Zealand
Key features

Written to inspire and generate reflective dialogue that leads to change, this book:

  • Explores what the latest neuroscience and psychological research suggests about students' use of digital media and the relationship to changes in the brain
  • Helps to reconcile new information about brain development with instructional practices in the current environment of standards, accountability, and high-stakes testing
  • Provides an entire chapter on the role of leadership
  • Offers tools that leaders can use when facilitating book study groups, including thought-provoking discussion questions