Book by Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, & Lee Crockett
Review by Douglas A. Smith
College of Education, Adult and Post-Secondary Education
University of Wyoming
Societal changes have generated new expectations for higher education during the past century. These changes have included overcoming the constraints of discrimination, shifting from an industrial to postindustrial economy, and more recently the advance of technology (Newman, Couturier, & Scurry, 2004). Children today are growing up in a world vastly different from the world most educators grew up in, even educators born in the 1980s. Most educators have witnessed the creation and evolution of the internet, computers, Facebook, Twitter, Google, iPhone’s, iPad’s, and countless other technological devices. However, children of the new digital generation have only experienced a world in which these technological advances exist. Jukes, McCain, and Crockett wrote this book to address the realities of the new digital world that children grow up in. The book is presented in two parts. The first part provides context and understanding of the digital generation. The second part provides suggested responses for education and educators.
Jukes et al. explain how children growing up emerged in technology lack a balance of the digital and non-digital experiences of life. The authors reason that educators should respond to the needs of the digital generation rather than trying to fit a new generation into old models of education. More than 60 percent of students today are visual or visual kinesthetic learners (Jukes et al., 2010, p. 31). Yet many educators still stand in front of a classroom lecturing for the duration of a class even though the new digital generation of learners prefers learning that is relevant, active, instantly useful, and fun. Digital generation students prefer to be engaged and discover course content through exploration, interaction, and collaboration more than non-digital generation students that may prefer being lectured.
A disconnect now exists between digital learners and non-digital teachers. The current trajectory of digital learners preferences and the stagnant or slow adaptation by educators to the preferences of digital learners is intensifying the disconnect. This disconnect is only going to become greater as technology advances unless a conscious effort is made to educate and promote an understanding of teaching digital learners.
For academic advisors this book is a good resource to provide an understanding and appreciation for the digital generation of students. Jukes et al. argue that it is time for educators to set aside personal preferences and consider the learning styles of the digital generation to help youth learn and grow in an increasingly digital world. First and foremost, Jukes et al. believe that teachers need to have a real understanding of what the digital world is before being able to embrace it in their teaching. Although this book focuses primarily on teaching, many of the suggestions can also be applied to academic advising. The limited focus to teaching and learning still has significant relevance to the support services of academic advising to provide a holistic understanding of the student experience. I recommend this book for academic advisors seeking to better improve their understanding and interactions with students of the digital generation.
Newman, F., Couturier, L., Scurry, J. (2004). The future of higher education: Rhetoric, reality, and the risks of the market. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Understanding the digital generation: Teaching and learning in the new digital landscape. (2010). Book by Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, & Lee Crockett. Review by Douglas Smith. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press (SAGE),152 pp. Price $29.95 (paperback). ISBN # 978-1-4129-3844-0