iGens: “What, me read?”

In a couple of prior posts, we featured iGen – a recent book by Jean Twenge – a psychology prof specializing in “generational research”.

She says that Millennials  are yesterday’s news.

The new generation is iGen – born after the introduction of the Internet … and now living connected to their iPhones.

See Disruptive innovation: How the iPhone has shaped a new generation
the self-diagnostic How much of an “iGen” are you? and iGens: What makes them tick?

Prof. Twenge observes that the cultural and personal impacts of the “i” technology revolution are a mixed bag – some good and some bad.

One of the “bads” hits one of my hot buttons: reading habits.

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Amazon link

 

One behavioral trend that Prof Twenge observes is that “iGen’ers also come to college with much less experience (than prior generations) reading books or even long magazine articles.”

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Some specifics re: reading habits

Textbooks: Some don’t even bother to buy them … others buy them and don’t read them.

Textbooks are perceived to be outdated when they’re printed (compared to what’s online) and go into too much detail on too many topics … some of which are perceived to be irrelevant.

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Articles: One prof observes: “I’ve had students complain that I’m making them read too much, that an eight-page popular press newspaper article is somehow too lengthy and can’t keep their attention,”

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Internet: Hit & miss browsing is the norm … breadth, not depth … higher likelihood of reading articles endorsed by friend … looking for takeaways, not deep details.

“iGen’ers need to be taught about sources and evaluating evidence” … don’t discriminate well between legitimate and problematic sources … little idea how to test validity of research methods, survey results and analyses.

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My take

The prevalent reading style among iGen’ers is more breadth than depth:

Scan rapidly … Dive deep selectively … Explore broadly as needed.

The reading style raises some obvious concerns about:

1) Superficial learning (more parroting than understanding)

2) Critical thinking (taking one persuasive argument as gospel)

3) Writing skills (breaking the inextricable link between reading & writing)

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#HomaFiles

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