10. Technological Sophistication and Teacher Preparation for Generation Y (2/3) – Best Practices for Education Professionals

132 Best Practices for Education Professionals
Which search engine do you use? Google (64)
Yahoo (18)
AOL (5)
Bing (2)
Ask (2)
MSN (2)
Internet Explorer (2)
Wikipedia (1)
CNN (1)
ESPN (1)
Mozilla (1)
Facebook (1)
BBC (1)
YouTube (1)
[university name].edu (1)
Do you know how to create a Web page? Yes (8)
No (66)
If so, what software do you utilize? Websites (6)
Yahoo Geocities (2)
Do you have a social network account? Yes (72)
No (3)
If so, which social network(s), do you utilize? (i.e.: Facebook, MySpace,
LinkedIn, etc.)
Facebook (71)
MySpace (28)
Twitter (2)
Strand (1)
My Yearbook (1)
Do you Blog or Micro-Blog? Yes (6)
No (67)
If so, which one(s) do you utilize? (i.e.,: Blogger, WordPress, Twitter,
etc.)
Twitter (4)
Facebook (2)
MySpace (1)
If you have a cell phone, other than making phone calls, what else do
you enjoy doing with it?
Text (66)
Take Pictures (12)
Internet (10)
Email (7)
Play Games (6)
Photos (6)
Picture Messages (4)
Music (4)
Calendar (4)
Listen to Music (3)
Technological Sophistication and Teacher Preparation for Generation Y 133
Weather (3)
IM (3)
Just Calls (3)
Web Browsing (2)
Ringtones (2)
Videos (2)
Calculator (2)
Facebook (1)
Search Music (1)
Take Video (1)
Recording (1)
Yahoo Messenger (1)
Mobile IM (1)
Alarm Clock (1)
Have you ever heard the term: Web 2.0? Yes (5)
No (70)
If so, what do you think it means? Latest Version of the Web (4)
No (3)
Software Updates (2)
Internet Provider (1)
Do you know what Open Source Software is? Yes (22)
No (51)
Do you currently use Open Source Software? Yes (13)
No (51)
If so, what software do you use? Firefox (5)
OpenOffice (3)
LimeWire (2)
Microsoft (2)
a
Word (2)
a
PowerPoint (1)
a
Do you know how to use: Presentation Software (i.e.: PowerPoint) Yes (74)
Do you know how to use: Presentation Equipment (i.e.: how-to hook up
a projector to a computer)
Yes (14)
Do you know how to use a: Scanner Yes (61)
Do you know how to use a: Digital Camera Yes (74)
Do you know how to use a: CD Burner Yes (64)
Do you know how to use a: DVD Burner Yes (40)
Do you know how to use a: Flash Drive/Jump Drive/Thumb Drive Yes (72)
Do you know how to use a: Digital Camcorder Yes (38)
Do you know how to use: Digital Video Editing Equipment Yes (7)
Do you know how to use: Audio Recording/Editing Software Yes (5)
134 Best Practices for Education Professionals
Do you know how to use: 2D/3D Animation Software Yes (1)
Do you know how to use: Desktop Publishing (i.e.: Publisher or In-
Design)
Yes (8)
Do you know how to use: Photo Manipulation Software (i.e.: Photo-
shop)
Yes (39)
Do you know how to use: Game Design Software
Do you know how to use: DVD Authoring Software Yes (1)
Do you know how to use: Mind-Mapping Software
Do you know how to use: Database Design Software (i.e.: FileMaker
Pro)
Yes (1)
Please list any other types of hardware or software with which you are
familiar.
Adium (1)
Excel (1)
Basic PC programs (1)
Microsoft Office (1)
MP3 Players (1)
Microsoft (1)
a
Participants categorized these items as “Open Source”.
Several survey items had high response rates. For instance, all 75 participants re-
sponded that they owned their own computer, with 74 of them stating that they owned
laptops. Sixty eight responded that they owned a PC-model, while six indicated that
they owned a Macintosh-model.
Participants indicated on the survey how they use their computers. While 34 re-
sponded they use word processing, 30 indicated they go online to Facebook, and 25
responded they use Microsoft Word. Seventy-three responded they use email regularly
and 62 stated owning email accounts in addition to the one issued by the university.
When participants were asked about which search engines they use, 64 responded they
use Google, while 18 responded that Yahoo was their choice. In response to whether
the participants knew how to create a Web page, 66 participants responded “no.”
When asked whether they had social networking accounts, 72 participants re-
sponded “yes.” Seventy-one responded that they use Facebook™, while 28 responded
that they use MySpace™. On the topic of Blogging or MicroBlogging, 67 responses
were “no.” Of the six participants who did respond “yes,” 4 responses were for Twitter™
while 2 were for Facebook™. In response to the item about cell phone technology, 66
participants responded that they “text message.”
Participants were asked if they have ever heard the term Web 2.0––70 participants
responded “no.” When asked if they knew what Open Source Software was, 51 par-
ticipants responded “no.” When asked whether they currently use Open Source, again
51 participants responded “no.”
Responses to items about specic individual technologies ranked high with 74 par-
ticipants responding “yes” to knowing how to use Presentation Software, 74 respond-
ing “yes” to knowing how to use digital cameras, 72 responding “yes” to knowing how
Technological Sophistication and Teacher Preparation for Generation Y 135
to use a ash drive, 64 responding “yes” to knowing how to use a CD burner, and 61
responding “yes” to knowing how to use a scanner.
Several survey items had low response rates. When asked about which platform
the participants preferred, there were no responses to the Linux option. In the area of
computer usage, three participants responded that they play games, two responded that
they use Adobe Photoshop, while responses for uploading pictures, watching videos,
and banking were all scored at one apiece. One sole response was posted for Wikipe-
dia as the search engine of choice.
For social networking, My Yearbook™ had one response; there were no responses
for LinkedIn™.
Participants’ responses about their cell phone uses demonstrated some low num-
bers in the following areas: Facebook™ had one response, searching for music had
one response, Mobile IM™ and Yahoo Messenger™ both had one response a piece.
While 14 participants responded that they know how to set up Presentation Equip-
ment, seven responded to knowing how to use digital video editing equipment, one
responded to knowing how to use DVD Authoring Software, one responded to know-
ing how to use 2D/3D Animation Software. There were no responses for knowing how
to use either Game Design Software or Mind-Mapping Software.
DISCUSSION
Although the original intent of this study was to analyze the fit of the data with cat-
egories associated with the generational characteristics of millenials, virtually all of
the data seemed to fit into a new category, one generally not included in the common
list of seven characteristics identified by Howe and Strauss (2000). Specifically, the
data included a general set of characteristics with regard to millennials’ strong techno-
logical skills and preferences for electronic modes of communication. This finding is
reflected in current literature about millenials, which describes them as “Digital Na-
tives,” individuals who have grown up with digital technologies (Prensky, 2001), and
who therefore possess a need to be constantly wired and have information available
at their fingertips (Holliday & Li, 2004; Oblinger, 2003). The data from the current
study adds strength to and supports the observation that millennials possess advanced
technological skills. Indeed, the data contribute significantly to that understanding by
outlining more specific technology skills as self-reported by this sample of members
of Generation Y. The following is a deeper explanation of a possible addition of a new
characteristic, technological sophistication, to Howe and Strauss’ work from 2000
about the millennial generation.
Technological Sophistication
Perhaps the most prominent result revealed in the data obtained is that every Genera-
tion Y participant in this study owned their own computer. They did not just use them,
they owned them. While the platform they owned varied slightly (more owned PCs
than Macs), all did possess a machine of their own. Similarly, many participants knew
how to use corresponding hardware or applications such as CD and DVD burners and
136 Best Practices for Education Professionals
portable USB drives. This is an interesting finding since most individuals in previous
generations did not own their own computers when they were in college. Some indi-
viduals in Generation X may have had access to computers in computer labs during
their college years, but computers were not as standard a tool for a college student then
as they are today. It appears as if owning a computer is as much a “given” for millen-
nials as owning a car or home is/was to generations before them.Computers may be
considered a necessity by Generation Y.
Generation Y’s ability to communicate electronically in various forms also was
prevalent in the data. A preponderance of information provided evidence that millen-
nials are adept at using cell phones, texting, IM, email, and social networking sites.
All of these media enable this generation to keep in touch with each other in an up-to-
the-minute fashion. Unlike previous generations who had to wait, whether a long or
short time) to contact their peers, Generation Y can communicate with each other from
anywhere and at anytime. This is a markedly different communication ability than
previous generations possessed. This ability helps to keep millennials in touch with
individuals from all phases of their lives, throughout their lives. It also enables them
to know more about all facets of each others lives through the use of social networks
which facilitate sharing of pictures, video, and a variety of other media. Conversely,
instant, constant communication puts a different expectation on the idea of keeping in
touch with others and a person’s right to quiet and privacy. If Generation Y expects
that all of their friends and family are available at all times when they need to speak
with or write to them, it puts an undue pressure on the recipient of the email or text
message. If an individual does not respond immediately, Generation Y might wonder:
is this person a poor friend, or simply someone who would prefer a bit of quiet or time
to think prior to answering? Will millennials allow for longer, thoughtful responses, or
prefer immediate, partially evolved answers? Only time will tell, and it will be inter-
esting to see how or if, the millenial’s style of and expectations about electronic modes
of communication changes as they mature.
Another unsurprising nding was that most participants reported using computers
for word processing and research. Given that the sample consisted of college-aged stu-
dents, this makes sense. However, given the skill set needed for the current workforce,
these will be skills and abilities that Generation Y may use for the rest of their lives.
It is likely that these students researched and word-processed prior to college, are
doing so in college, and will continue to do so in their various forms of employment.
Interestingly, the previous generations learned these now basic computer skills while
in college or on the job. Generation Y is the rst entire generation to enter college
already possessing this set of skills. While not a particularly remarkable observation,
since each generation enters the workforce with a new basic, expected skill set, it is
interesting to note and in future compare to the skill set of Generation Z as they enter
college and the workforce.
A nal notable use of technology for the participants in this study is with mul-
timedia applications and hardware. Almost every participant reported the ability
to create a presentation and use a digital camera. Many also responded that they
knew how to use a scanner and a digital camcorder. Although these skills were not