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Are kids all that techno-smart? Maybe not

Mastery of devices doesn't translate into understanding, experts say

Millennials, like most people, mainly use technology as a tool for communication.

The Millennial Generation was born and raised in the digital world. Whether they are checking their Facebook status or running a business on the go, this constantly connected generation has earned the reputation of being the most tech savvy ever. But are they really?

“What we are seeing today is a certain amount of familiarity for the millennial generation around using technology. Whether it is a mobile phone, a tablet or computer, or also doing things with television, video recordings, gaming, there is a particular set of skills that they have developed,” says Akhtar Badshah, senior director of Global Community Affairs at Microsoft Corp. “However, we also know that just because you’ve had familiarity with the use of a device, it may not necessarily lead to proficiency in the use of technology where youth are effectively using technology to better their lives through a job, start something, or undertake further studies.”

Being connected

Whether it is texting, Facebook, or Skype, millennials, like most people, mainly use technology as a tool for communication.

Gabe Griffith, a junior at Penn State, remembers playing games on the computer at age 3. He has had technology available to him throughout his education. In addition to using his computer, cell phone, iPod, and video game system almost daily, he uses the internet every day for communication and schoolwork.

Despite all this, he says, “My definition of tech savvy is someone who is really good with computers. I would say I’m not very tech savvy.”

Griffith learned about databases and basic web page design in high school. He also learned how to type proficiently in elementary school.

“I’m not a computer major, so I don’t really need a lot more,” he says. If anything, Griffith says he would have liked to learn more about programming, adding that most of what he has learned about computers, such as troubleshooting, he learned from his father or through YouTube videos.

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Comments:

  1. teachermrw

    August 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Good article.

    I think where many educators make a critical error in judgement is believing that by virtue of using tech that students know how to to create with tech. I cannot tell you how many times this as proven not to be the case. Students are good consumers of tech, but few are proficient creators with tech. It’s time that we as educators stop assuming and start educating where tech is concerned.

  2. laurastjohn

    August 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Great article! Most of us hand over technology to the youngest of kids, and let them play on our tablets and devices. It’s like handing keys of our car to a teenager and say “go drive”! Kids need to learn how to “drive” safely through the world of technology, and how to respect it as a tool, not just a toy. That’s my passion as I develop our early learning content for our ed-tech program, Discovery Kids Puterbugs!! We teach ages 3-6 how to use technology skills to solve problems. What a difference it’s made to thousands of kids who use our program!

  3. jessica_ruby

    August 17, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Great Post Indeed! I totally agree with you on the fact that students need to realize the importance of technology as a learning tool. In the educational field, technology plays an important role and hence students should understand this fact and start using technology in the right manner for the betterment of their own knowledge.
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  4. wahlofscience

    August 20, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Excellent article. I agree, many students are not tech smart when it comes to creating. When I taught 8th grade Tech Literacy, I found that while most of them knew how to find and play games, and how to check their email, the majority of them had yet to master simple keyboarding, or the use of word processing and other production software.
    Carol