Thursday, August 25, 2011

Engaging the Millennial Learner

This has been a week of meetings, workshops, and orientations. Also a week of earthquakes, thunderstorms, and (soon) hurricanes, but I am less inclined than most to make much of meteorological phenomena. UMBC begins on the 31st of this month, but faculty and staff are already dashing about. Administrative work waits for no one. Today's workshop, Engaging the Millennial Learner, was exceptional, both in the clarity of the presented data, the charm of the presentation, and the energy among the very engaged participants.

As you can guess from the title, engagement was a central point of today's work. We, as faculty, desire to see our students more engaged with the material, and, even more importantly, with the work of learning as a whole. The enterprise of education and the life of the mind are what we find ourselves concerned with as we draft syllabi and establish assignments.

The structure of today's workshop was twofold. First, the presenter defined the millennial, and I was surprised to find myself among them. Anyone born between 1982 (the year of my birth) and 2002 can be termed millennial. This is to differentiate the individual from Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and earlier generations. Much of what we discussed began from the premise, backed up by research in both neuroscience and psychology, that individuals born in this period have had their minds shaped more by recent technological innovations than previous generations. What then to do to approach such tech-savvy students? Lots.

In an effort to get my posting up, and to have a reason to post daily, I will explore this workshop in great detail over the next few days. I hope you will join me.


  1. I'm a Gen Xer and you're a millennial... well gosh, I robbed the cradle! I wonder if they decided to mothball the term, "Generation Y," supposedly after X.

  2. I still see Generation Y from time to time, but in academic circles Millennial has replaced Y. There is still no (as far as I'm aware) name for Thorn's generation, which, I think, Kit will be part of, too, as my sister and I are both Millennials, and you and Wolf (Fox's brother) are both Gen Xers.