The terms “digital natives” or “net generation” are used to describe young people who have been surrounded by technologies since their childhood. They are now students with good skills and excellent computer knowledge, and it is clear for teachers that the traditional system of education is not prepared for the new generation. There are active debates about the changes in young people of today and, consequently, the necessity of reforms in the studying process to be done. However, the existence of the term “digital natives” is questionable, together with the relevance of the educational system upgrade. Many arguments are supporting the idea of a fundamental change, as well as debate the possibilities of globalization.
The statement about the existence of the term “digital natives” is based on the assumption that young people of the new generation have excellent skills with devices, thus, having special demands for their educational process. The modern generation has been surrounded by technologies since their early childhood, as now there are a great number of clickable toys, games, baby monitors, and other devices. Later, this results in fluency in computers, the Internet, and video games. Although some of the young people are less interested in computers than others, a serious risk exists that they will be neglected in case the system focuses on technically adept students. This is one of the reasons for arguments about the meaningfulness of measures for reforming the educational system, as there is much variation within the existing generation, as well as the difference with previous ones.
Experts assume that the new generation processes information in other ways due to their immersion in the digital world. The youth of today is generally multitasking, for example, many students listen to music or watch TV while making their homework. These are the reasons why they prefer faster learning that allows them to test their knowledge and explore. However, there is a significant disadvantage as “multitasking on media and technology has a negative influence on working memory and attention” (Evans & Robertson, para.12). People being simultaneously engaged in a few different activities are less concentrated, and they risk making many mistakes.
Attributing a single new style for the education of the whole generation raises many questions. First, the researches proved that students vary their studying methods, based on their previous experience. Second, a generalization does not take into consideration the cognitive varieties of people of different ages. Third, the skills a person has maybe useless in the process of studying. For example, a student may know how to crack a video game on his computer, but it is hardly applicable for school.
In conclusion, recently, there appeared many arguments about the ways the new generation differs from the previous ones. Proponents giving arguments for fundamental changes in the educational system lack practical proof. Today, young people are certainly different, but there are no unique methods to be applied, as students are diverse, and approaches to teaching should vary. It is clear that the new generation is more interested in technology, and it should be used wisely to make learning effective for them. However, it is important to have a full understanding of students and their teachers to demand global fundamental changes.
Evans, C. & Robertson, W. (2020). The four phases of the digital natives debate. Wiley Periodicals LLC, Web.