Up Front: Dive into the Future of Learning

Welcome to the Digital Generation Project. Edutopia's in-depth coverage of students from around the country reveals how young people are using new media to learn, communicate, and socialize in new and exciting ways.

Welcome to the Digital Generation Project. Edutopia's in-depth coverage of students from around the country reveals how young people are using new media to learn, communicate, and socialize in new and exciting ways.

Kids with a laptop, video camera, and cell phone

Always On:

Today's kids are born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities.

Credit: Chris Walsh
Parents live with it. Teachers see it daily. You can't observe young people and not notice how smoothly and seamlessly they dive into new Web 2.0 communication technologies. With a flick of the cell phone, they share more texts, photos, music, and video than any other demographic group on Earth. A decade ago, kids led the charge to Napster and IM and then to MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr. Now, they're on to Flip, Twitter, and Wii. Youth are encamped at the farthest outpost of digital technology -- and you can be sure they'll be on to the next cool thing quicker than you can say "Guitar Hero World Tour." Where does that leave us not-quite-young folks? Some of us grouse about the bewildering circus of gadgets, games, and groups intruding on our social circles. Others long to join in the fun -- if only someone would show us how. Either way, the teachers, moms, and dads among us find ourselves on the outside peering into a world we neither know nor understand. Too often, we draw conclusions that miss the point -- and the promise -- of what these new communication tools offer. Sound familiar? Perhaps it's time for all of us to explore the Web 2.0 frontier. Throughout this site, you'll meet unique kids who will show you how they've mastered digital tools. They'll show you how they create, collaborate, and teach in ways that kids before them could scarcely imagine. As you watch and listen, you'll learn, too. If you're an educator, you'll understand how digital tools are changing the classroom. You'll find practical ideas on how to leverage the unique skills of this generation. If you're a parent, you'll access ideas and resources about how to support, protect, and better guide our children as we all continue to explore the digital age. Have fun, and don't forget to email, text, or tweet (@EdutopiaDG). We're all on this journey together.

This article originally published on 5/4/2009

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Comments (10)

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Senior Manager of Video Programming, Production, & Curation at Edutopia

Hi Sherri! Thanks so much for

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+2

Hi Sherri! Thanks so much for your interest in the Digital Generation Project. In the years since we published this package, the MacArthur Foundation, who helped underwrite it, has continued to research the ways in which kids learn from digital media. One of their recent projects is the Connected Learning Research Network (http://clrn.dmlhub.net/), which follows the same themes explored in Digital Generation. Another great MacArthur resource is the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub (http://dmlhub.net/) and the DMLCentral website (http://dmlcentral.net/), a collaborative blog and collection of open resources. All of these MacArthur resources are "dedicated to analyzing and interpreting the impact of the Internet and digital media on education, civic engagement, and youth," in their words.

On Edutopia, in 2013, we continued adding to our Big Thinkers series of videos, which featured interviews from many of the experts featured in Digital Generation, including Kurt Squire, Katie Salen, James Gee, Constance Steinkuehler, and more. Go to http://www.edutopia.org/big-thinkers to see a list of all of these interviews. In fact, tomorrow we're publishing a new video interview with Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist who specializes in this field.

So while this package is not continually updated, a bit of digging should yield lots of good information on the topic you're interested in.

Hope that helps!
Amy

Teacher Librarian Mead Middle School Colorado

I just came across this, The

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I just came across this, The Digital Generation Project. I see that it was developed in 2009, but can not find any current posts or information. Where is the project today and is there an ongoing project similar to this happening today? I'm searching for new and current literature on the digital generation for my teachers.

Connect with them or lose them

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The Web 2.0 tools are just that, tools. They are great tools in fact. They enable so much more learning with access to content never before possible. Make no mistake, we still need to teach students to read, write and do math, but our ability to make that happen has exploded with this new technology. No longer will it just be "creative writing." It will be called "creative media production." If these tools spark creative thinking, help students find their life's passion, and inspire them to learn, then not learning how to connect with them through these tools is a huge loss for both teacher and student. We've done this in Portland with the Portland Project. A Title I middle school in that district has shown amazing work and behavioral shifts when given the opportunity to express themselves through Web 2.0. Learn from our experiences at www.edsome.com

The video emphasises the fact

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The video emphasises the fact that integrating IT into education is a necessity not a luxury. This is the new language of the generation.In my country most of the computer based activities are automated. We also lack experts who could teach teachers and guide them as they integrate IT into their courses.

Digital Generation

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The first part of the video very clearly depicts that what we are trying to give to our students is very much different from what they want. If the teacher and the learner are on two different paths then the instructional process definitely will not be effective. As educators we have to accept technology integration, embrace it and try to take up the role of a facilitator. Involving students in the process of technology integration is extremely important. Technology misuse is dangerous but guiding them and showing them the safe usage is another aspect which educators should be familiar with.
Vandana Chawla

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The inevitability of integrating technology in learning is a fact. The digital kids of today need to be given the freedom of expression and creativity that technology integration will offer them. It needs our courage as educators to use this tool in our instruction to reach our students. In my school in Egypt we try, with our limited resources, to integrate technology, but still, we apply it as an automated format for our teaching. We need to take one web tool and experiment in applying it in our lesson plans and utilize it to enhance our students' creativity and learning.
Mawheba Safey Eldin

Technological generation gap

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In my country which is a developing one we have a great gap between the old generation of parents and teachers and the younger generation of students and children. so the old are struggling to close this gap and also to integrate this technoloy into education.

Digital Generation

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At the school where I work we are still integrating technology into our classes, although students are now slightly in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information transmitted by a teacher or a textbook before using technology, it didn’t improve the student performance as we thought it would. Moreover we noticed that most of the teachers have taken something that they have already done and simply automated it, such as illustrating lessons using power point slides in a linear fashion instead of writing on the whiteboard. But even though we are one of the Third World Countries struggling with illiteracy problem, this generation of students in our country is “Digital Natives” and in order to empower them to change their academic outcomes, we need to close the huge gap between us as administrators, teachers and parents, the older generation or the “Digital Immigrants” and them being born into and raised in the digital world.

English 2 (10th grade)

I'm going to open the mother

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I'm going to open the mother grundy can of worms and ask WHEN students will learn to write if education starts moving so far away from practice? I am all for the Sams of this world being encouraged and supported in their creative use of media, but please notice that Sam is an articulate, self-motivated, critical thinker with exceptional support at home - all that good stuff that doesn't necessarily apply to the majority of my students (who would LOVE this creative approach to learning, but who might never learn to think deeply in logical, parallel-structured ways, because they will never be shown the nuts and bolts of grammar and sentence structure, or "made" to practice writing).

MsVRBurton (not verified)

English I

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I have had the pleasure of introducing my clas to wikis last year. I know that many of them felt empowered to publish their work and publish it with all of the bells and whistles that they could find. Many of them are able to express themselves as artists without worrying about whether or not they could draw or write. The Web 2.0 tools provided to them freed them up to not just being called upon to compose a poetry notebook but compose it, decorate it with music and pictures, and add a self-made MovieMaker movie version of one of their poems that they posted to their wikipage. The use of wikis brought the quality of some of their work that I was literally blown away. It was their responses that made me commit to including technology into my class. I want to teach them using podcasts, movies, wikis and allow them to teach me using the same mediums.

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