Characteristics of Y-Generation students

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Short attention spans; want instantaneous gratification Like structure, but a guiding structure not a straight-jacket Tend to be more holistic thinkers than analytical thinkers Y-generation students are looking for 1) real learning experiences and 2) practical applications in real-world context Need to feel in control of their own learning rather than the teacher. Desire for teachers to act as their peers. Prefer working in groups rather than individually. Need to feel that they are important; Prefer a visual and hands-on learning style. Memorization is not something they will do. Believe that learning should be fun

Effective teaching strategies to teach Y-generation students
1. Use PowerPoint slides. Don't simply dump your notes on them. Make sure that each slide covers a single idea/concept rather than many ideas/concepts all meshed together. Present information visually where possible. Text should be short and concise. Slides should be elaborated on, not simply read out word for word. Use analogies to explain concepts. The use of analogies is an extremely effective means of teaching an idea/concept. This will help build onto a students prior knowledge and experiences and give the idea/concept meaning. 2. Try to contain as many small victories and achievements throughout the session as possible. If there are none then students will find themselves less motivated to return. 3. Give students the opportunity to complete assignments graphically rather than written where possible. For example, flowcharts, mind-maps may be a suitable alternative to writing but still allow students to demonstrate their understanding. Even a prepared template for a report where students are asked to fill in a table may help rather than simply asking them to write a traditional report.

4. Give students some control over their learning. Perhaps they can come up with their own class activities or at least customise them to be more aligned with what they see as meaningful and of interest to them. Also, in a likewise fashion, give students some control over the assessment tasks assigned to them. Of cause these must be aligned with and satisfy course outcome requirements but there are many paths to the same destination. 5. Try to make lesson more fun, e.g., make use of crossword puzzles, games etc 6. When a students needs help don't just give them the answer rather get them to follow through their own logic and see if they can figure it out for themselves. The former may be construed as, “I'll give you the answer as your not smart enough to work it out for yourself”. Use hints, prompts and questions to scaffold knowledge rather than simply giving it to them. This encourages active learning rather than passive learning. Student will feel better with themselves and more in control and anchored because they feel that they have learnt something meaningful rather than simply presented with an answer lacking in any meaning. 7. Teachers should have a spontaneous rather than a manufactured presence. Y-generation students like real people rather than people who hide behind a manufactured role. 8. Take an interest in the students progress. Occasionally conference with students in regard to their progress and allow students to input how they may address any learning problems they may be experiencing for themselves. This makes them feel more in control of their learning rather than dependent on the teacher but still feel cared for. 9. Demonstrate concepts visually wherever possible. Use visually oriented steps to illustrate how to perform a task rather than merely written. 10. Also, where appropriate, avoid lecturing on pre-prepared solutions to problems. Rather come up with problems that students find interesting and solve the problem together as a class. This is good as it will motivate students. Also, the struggle involved in solving a problem (this includes the teacher's struggle with the problem as well) will be brought to the fore. This struggle to find a solution to a problem is not made evident in preprepared solutions to problem and as thus does not reflect reality. In fact, it implicitly says to the students that if you cannot solve a problem nice and easily as the teacher did (with the pre-prepared solution to the problem)

then you cannot handle the material. All-in-all it's important to impress upon the students that the process of problem solving will always involve some element of struggle and that this is OK as it's a creative inventive process and not a given. So, letting students struggle with a problem but also impressing that the struggle is OK (it's all part of the process) is important. 11. The teacher cannot force knowledge onto students as such knowledge is meaningless to the student (passive learning); learning must come from within the student by building upon their own knowledge and experiences (active learning) and the role of teacher as facilitator of this type of learning. Handing control over the learning process to students also has the benefit of reducing time spent on student management issues. 12. Have students work in groups when possible

Bibliography Oblinger, D.G. & Oblinger, J.L. Educating the Net Generation, (2005), viewed 7 September 2007, http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen Teaching Information Literacy to Generation Y. (n.d). viewed 7 September 2007, http://www.library.csuhayward.edu/staff/ginno/ACRL/default.htm

Experiences
I have tried to implement many of the above principles into my own teaching and have felt that my students have benefited from them. It's not always easy though as, for example, giving the time to scaffold a student's learning is not always easy given the pressure of other students begging for your attention. I guess that giving the answer to a student's question is a quick way to move to the next student but I realize now that this is not a good thing. Attempting to solve a problem using appropriate tools such a flowcharts, mindmaps, hierarchies charts definitely helps. These tools allow the students to see the big picture more easily than a sequentially written piece of text or verbal presentation does and thereby more likely to persevere. Also, now, being in the later stages of the programming course that I am delivering,

instead of elaborating on a pre-written piece of code to illustrate a solution to a predefined problem, I ask my students for a problem of interest to them to solve and then try to solve it together as a class. It also puts the teacher in a position where the teacher has to expose his/her thinking processes unaided by a pre-prepared solution as thus making the learning experience more real rather than artificially sanitized which Y-generation generally dislike. This makes students feel more in control.