Having just been in a discussion on the old Nicholas Carr article, Is Google Making Us Stupid, which threatened to lurch irrevocably about how they couldn’t concentrate as well as we, and how it was up to us to do something about them or else they wouldn’t be able to think as deeply and powerfully as us, I was interested to read The Millennial Muddle by Eric Hoover which has as its byline: “How stereotyping students became a thriving industry and a bundle of contradictions”
I’ve never totally bought the new-gen, gen-y, digital native divide that demographers and social scientists often love. I like the divide less when it seeks to depict young people as shallow, narcissistic, attention-seeking and unable to think. The students I work with aren’t like that, and I’m more likely to go along with Negroponte and see these students as more worldly, more connected and more diversely literate than those before them. Negroponte can get all misty-eyed about this, but I’d rather his optimistic appraisal of where they are, than the ones who keep wanting to turn out students into us.
Hoover explores the divisions that exist in all the stereotyping in an interesting way. As a rule I say, beware of generalisations!