Excerpt from Teaching Digital Natives by Marc Prensky, entrepreneur, inventor and author who originally coined the term "digital native" and "digital immigrants" and is the author of several books and articles on education and learning.
"Based on interviews of almost a thousand of today's students from all economic, social, intellectual, and age strata, all over the world, I have found that what they say is remarkably consistent:
They do not want to be lectured to.
They want to be respected, to be trusted, and to have their opinions valued and count.
They want to follow their own interests and passions.
They want to create using the tools of their time.
They want to work wit their peers on group work and projects (and prevent slackers from getting a free ride).
They want to make decisions and share control.
They want to connect with their peers to express and share their opinions, in class and around the world
They want to cooperate and compete with each other
[And one more...]
They want an education that is not just relevant, but real
It is possible, of course, to view this list as a narcissistic or unrealistic set of expectations on the part of the students. But to do so would be a big mistake...Today's students want to learn differently than in the past. They want ways of learning that are meaningful to them, ways that make them see--immediately--that the time they are spending on their formal education is valuable, and ways that make good use of the technology they know is their birthright."
As an educator of this current generation, I find Prensky's book helpful. His insights help me overcome the "this generation is just addicted to their technology" rant and discover a more nuanced, complex truth.