Generations and Technology

The previous blog post discussed Simon Senik’s view on technology and the millennial generation. He mentions in his video that millennials are addicted to their phone and that there is an imbalance in the way social media and cell phones are used in today’s society. Within the current literature on young people, there is a growing recognition of the impact of computers in the social world, and the consequences of such technology on shaping learning, dispositions and attitudes of new generations. Unlike any time in history, the rapid expansion of technology into the worlds of young people has resulted in the development of a new generation quite different from previous generations. The question is, how has technology impacted previous and later generations?

The first generation is baby boomers, anyone born just after the second world war, 1945, until approximately 1965. Baby boomers were raised in moderately safe conditions and had post-war economic stability. At the time, there was an obsession to work hard, look after their money and provide for their offspring. At that time, there was little to no interaction with technology. At the most, if you were a moderately wealth family, you had a black and white TV with only two channels on it. The next generation is generation X, individuals born between 1965 and 1985. This generation has different outlooks than their parents in relation to work and family.


Generation Y, also known as millennials Young people born after 1980. This is the most recent generation, the generation that follows Generation X. This generation has experienced very different social conditions from previous generations, brought about through the development and uptake of digital technologies. This is most obviously seen in the use of computers but extends to other areas as well, including white goods (microwaves, ovens) and household goods (television, DVDs), as well as personal items (watches, mobile phones, PDAs). They have nearly all grown up in environments where they are exposed to such tools and this exposure creates different experiences and orientations to learning and thinking.


The last generation, digital natives, a term created by Prensky (2005), refers to the generation who has grown up with digital technologies so that they are a part of their world view. For digital natives, ways of acting and being in the social world are framed by their experiences with technology. Young children’s toys, for example, contain sophisticated technologies in comparison with their parents’ toys.

Tech generation.

As you can see, there is a rapid expansion of new technologies. Every generation has become more and more exposed to these new technologies leading to a difference in the way they learn and behave. As educators we need to understand this in order to properly adjust out teaching styles to accommodate the needs of the newer generations. (Word Count: 466)




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