Olivet: the next generation

By Samuel Culliado, Staff Writer This year’s freshmen class heralds in a new generation, not just of students at Olivet, but around the world: the Digital Natives generation. This generation describes anyone born between 1995 and 2010. This excludes sophomores, juniors and seniors – all Millennials. Mark Prensky, educational author, coined the term Digital Natives in 2001 work “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” Prensky writes, “today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” Freshman Jimmy Sutherland said, “I [feel like part of a new generation] in certain aspects, just with the way iPads are being used in classes nowadays. I was looking into doing a choir, and they were like, ‘you’re going to have to buy an iPad anyways by the time you graduate, because we’re getting ready to go paperless.’ It’s so easy to do that nowadays.” In his article, Prensky referred to the “arrival and rapid dissemination of digital technology” as a “singularity.”  This singularity was most seen in the role cellphones play in the lives of the freshmen. “My cellphone is the most dominate technology in my life,” freshman Kayla Wilson said. When asked what technology had affected his life the most, Sutherland replied, “Group text messages. I send one text message out [and] get seven responses.  The aspect of building community with that and getting closer to friend; I can communicate in that way and build a better friendship as well.” Community was the common response for how freshmen described the way technology affects people. “[Technology] is more a connection kind of thing,” freshman Jessica Grimmett said. “Just keeping up with social media or maybe friends who are distant.” Others felt that while the same devices that built bridges also built barriers. “People [can] forget about others around them, and they get absorbed in technology,” Wilson said. “I still desire the community, and the aspect of being able to invest in other people and the people around us,” Sutherland said. Many freshmen agreed that while they felt they had grown up surrounded by technology, the gap between freshmen and seniors was not a large one. “I guess we’ve all been exposed to [technology], so in a sense, we’re not that different,” Grimmet said. “But I’d say maybe that [reaching for technology is] our first instinct while it may not be for seniors.” “I think we’ve caught up with the technological whirlwind,” she added. Some Freshmen, such as Kayla Wilson, identified more with the Millenial generation and less with the Digital Natives.  “I’m more of the other generation, technology-wise. I’m not very good with it,” she said.

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