#thattech Week 2–Net Gen Creativity, Advantage or Disadvantage?

In chapter three of Grown Up Digital, author Don Tapscott discusses the characteristics typical of today’s Net Geners.  I recognized many of these behaviors and attitudes and even found some of them to be true regarding my own traits.  One of the behaviors I find particularly irritating is the expectation that Net Geners need to be constantly entertained.  While this tends to annoy me, I sometimes will catch myself being consumed with my own devices or the Internet when I know I should be doing something more productive.

The idea, presented in the reading, that the Net Generation thinks work should be fun causes concern.  Hopefully there may always be desirable aspects of work, but one’s job cannot expect to be a thrill a minute.  Tapscott did mention “to be sure, employers who allow Net Geners to assume themselves online or wear headphones, need proper work design and polices to maximize productivity” (Tapscott, 2008).  This is a strong point when it comes to promoting choice, change and creativity with technology access to ensure something is getting done which is yielding output.  But is this all just scrutiny?

Born Digital discussed similar ideas but not in the way Tapscott approached the matter.  Authors John Palfrey and Urs Gasser’s literature focused more on the creativity side and what young people are doing.  They quickly noted that Digital Natives are indeed creative when it comes to online usage.  However, it is now recognizable“the extent to which this creativity represents an opportunity for learning, personal expression, individual autonomy, and political change” (Palfrey & Gasser, 2010).  Digital Natives are the founders of their well-known mash-ups, remixes, and other such art forms.  One perspective I found thought-provoking was the idea that “remixes allow Digital Natives and others to interact with cultural objects in a way that affects how cultures develop and are understood” (Palfrey & Gasser, 2010).  I never looked at creativity from a sense it could change the way we understand cultures.

I think there is so much involved in the world of technology and gamification that’s changing learning and education.  It is a great way to help today’s students practice their desire for choice, change and creativity. I found an interesting video demonstrating a teacher’s determination in the classroom to allow his students a rich educational environment through gaming.  By the end of the video, students are petitioning to get more technology into their schools because they are having so much fun with this method of learning.  But unfortunately we don’t always have access to the tools or resources needed to help endorse this notion.


OLTV19. (2010). Exciting New Approach to Classroom Learning! Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OSJ5LwAXxLk on May 21, 2014.

Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2010). Born Digital : Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill.


2 thoughts on “#thattech Week 2–Net Gen Creativity, Advantage or Disadvantage?

  1. I definitely agree in regards to work becoming more fun in the future. It sounds nice, but is it realistic? I think it will slowly move that direction, but only when it suits the employer. Don’t forget that the examples cited by Tapscott are companies that intentionally seek out the brightest of the Net Generation for their creative capabilities–Intel, Google, Microsoft, and (to a lesser extent) Best Buy. These companies have serious incentive for making sure that their employees are comfortable and happy (the first three, at least), realizing that they would be nothing without young creativity. But how many of the current young generation can realistically expect to have a creative job with one of these few, sought-after companies? Not very many (I’d venture to say 1% or less). If labor statistics are telling, most of the kids that we teach will spend a fair amount of time in retail/customer service or food service, perhaps moving up into an office clerk or administrative assistant position (all of those are among the top 10 largest occupations by numbers as of 2013, the rest of the top 10 including laborers, janitors, and nurses, none of which are jobs that really try to cater to Net Gen’s creative tendencies). It sounds like Best Buy might be their best bet, but only if Best Buy can keep from going out of business…

    Tapscott, Don (2008). Grown Up Digital : How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. New York, NY, USA: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/uasoutheast/Doc?id=10251614&ppg=52 14 May. 2014

    Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013). Occupational Employment and Wages–May 2013. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ocwage.pdf

    • Good point you made, “Don’t forget that the examples cited by Tapscott are companies that intentionally seek out the brightest of the Net Generation for their creative capabilities–Intel, Google, Microsoft, and (to a lesser extent) Best Buy.” They are leaving out a good portion of the population we need to be thinking about.

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