Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 27, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: Millennials do not live up to ‘digital natives’ expectation

Members of Generation Y, better known as millennials, are supposed to be naturally adept with new and rapidly evolving technology. However, a 2010 study done by the Pew Research Center says only 24 percent of millennials believe technology use makes their generation unique. “Digital Natives,” a term first used by author Marc Prensky, implies that millennials have been using technology for their entire lives. Although millennials have grown up with the constant change and advancement of technology, they are not automatically as technologically savvy as older generations may believe.

Professors, baby boomers and Generation Xers often overestimate millennial students’ abilities to use technology in an academic setting. Millennials may know how to navigate social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and can use most of the applications on phones, tablets and computers, but that does not translate academically when students are expected to figure out unfamiliar academic websites by themselves. Some professors at the college have noticed that their students have trouble operating websites like Sakai and HomerConnect and databases like LexisNexis and JSTOR.

In order for students to use technology effectively, professors need to teach students how to navigate confusing websites that are essential to research and other academic purposes. There are many skills regarding technology that must be learned and are not second nature.