Ian Jukes – Understanding the Digital Generation

Video Vision Casting:
Ian Jukes – Understanding The Digital Generation:

“Nothing endures but change.”
– Heraclitus, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
Greek philosopher (540 BC – 480 BC)

“If we want to truly unfold the full intellectual & creative genius of all of our students more of the time – if we want to prepare them for the world that awaits them – if we want to help them prepare for their future, not our past – for their future, not our comfort zone – if our nations are going to march through the 21st Century & maintain its longstanding tradition of success – if we want our children to have the relevant 21st century skills – we must create a bridge between their digital world and ours.”
– Ian Jukes, Director of the InfoSavvy Group

Bridge the Digital Gap

Cautionary signage is important in navigating in our daily lives. For example, the well-known concept above illustrates the importance of awareness when crossing the yellow and white parallel lines to board a train. Many variations on this warning have been replicated throughout train stations and subway lines worldwide. What if you were blind to this and other signs designed to visually warn you of an upcoming potential danger? Such a warning exists within 21st century learning institutions. Signs are exemplified by students today that are struggling to learn because many of their teachers are blindingly focused upon covering their content as dictated by local/state/national curriculum standards, rigidly teaching to standardized tests, and limited activities for students to learn. How should a 21st century school respond to 21st century learners? Minding the gap that exists between students and teachers to communicate  and understand the varied needs for students is absolutely critical to successfully preparing them for their futures.

Visionary Ian Jukes, author of Understanding the Digital Generation: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape, frames the implications of our new digital landscape for teaching, learning, and assessment of learning. Jukes argues, “What should be clear from the research and what we have said and shown you is that there is a growing disconnect between the learning preferences of digital students and the teaching and assessment preferences of traditional teachers” (Jukes, 2010). He connects this observation to the importance of recognizing student motivation as an essential component to engaged learning. Ultimately, Jukes believes students are being failed by us “mainly because our instruction is targeted at kids from another age” (Jukes, 2010). He proposes seven major changes to begin implementing immediately to “re-connect” and “communicate with the digital generation to leverage their preferences and learning styles, and adequately prepare them for the fundamentally different world of the 21st century” (Jukes, 2010):

  1. It’s Time For Educators And Education To Catch Up
  2. Teachers Must Teach To The Whole Mind
  3. Educators Need To Shift Their Instructional Approach
  4. We Need To Let Students Access Information Natively
  5. We Must Let Students Collaborate
  6. We Need To Let Students Create Real World Digital Products
  7. We Must Re-evaluate Assessment And Evaluation

For more information on these seven changes, read Jukes’ handout on Understanding Digital Kids II at: http://lvip.leeschools.net/pdf/UDK2.pdf

Jukes additionally heightens his “evangelizing argument” for radical change in education focused upon minding the digital gap between many adults and Generation Z as described in the YouTube video entitled Understanding The Digital Generation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecFizWZgIiA. Take a close look at how Jukes constructs his passionate argument to build a case for educators to meet the needs of their students by preparing for their futures using technologies many students currently use. This video clip exemplifies the cautionary signs we need to heed in changing to successfully help our students. Are you prepared to design with understanding the varied needs and intelligences of your students/children in mind?

Jukes, I. (2009, Apr. 13). Understanding the digital generation. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecFizWZgIiA.

Jukes, I. (n.d.). Understanding the digital kids II. Retrieved from http://lvip.leeschools.net/pdf/UDK2.pdf

Jukes, I. (2010). Understanding the digital generation: Teaching and learning in the new digital landscape. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.


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