Friday, August 22, 2008

Educating Millenials

Here's an interesting read from

An educated populace is the cornerstone of a successful, affluent culture and a necessity if the United States wants to remain competitive. ...  Education, more than any other factor, is responsible for America’s success. It is for that reason that the current shift in enrollment and completion rates among males in higher education may be seen as a crisis. ...

While there are a lot of theories as to the cause, no one has been able to accurately explain why young male Millennials are abandoning the education system and especially, higher ed. The lion’s share of the discourse on the subject has focused on the increased presence of females in higher education, the shifting nature of male’s roles in society, and other similar concepts. While these may be factors, I believe they overlook the true cause and scope of the issue.

The Cause
The infusion of brilliant young female minds into higher education is a wonderful thing and there is without question some validity to the observations made that womens’ aptitudes are better suited to the standard classroom format. That said, I don’t believe the introduction of women to higher education is what’s causing men to drop out.  Rather, we are seeing a surge in the individual student’s ability to learn and comprehend in a more complex reality. The issue stems from the way members of the Millennial generation are developing and their use of complex, multi-tasking skill sets that have been honed in the daily practice of video gaming, internet access, chatting, and involvement in online social networks.  Simply put, tech savvy Millennials are not being engaged or challenged by the one-dimensional delivery systems in a majority of today’s classrooms. They are not interested in sitting passively and having information spoon fed to them. Much of this information is not interdisciplinary or connected to the real world. They can do better on their own in this new, comprehensive ‘digital classroom’. If we don’t reevaluate the way we educate Millennials, I expect female enrollment numbers to peak and begin to decline as they become more engaged in technology which follows the trend we are currently seeing among males.
Source: National Science Foundation
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