Generational characteristics and the digital world will influence the type of teacher an individual becomes in a number of ways. The digital world has a huge impact on teaching and learning (Howell, 2012), and will consequently affect the type of teacher a person becomes. The generational characteristics of Generation X give them a unique insight into an education without technology (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009 & Dunn, 2011) and one rich with technology, and subsequently an understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of both. As teachers of the iGeneration they will need a sound understanding of digital pedagogy due to the increasing prevalence of technology in all aspects of society (Howell, 2012).
Understanding the influence of the digital world on the students being taught is as important as its influence on teachers, when considering teaching styles. This is because “the way students learn is as important as what they learn, where they learn and who teaches them” (Brady & Kennedy, 2010. p54). Understanding the abilities of children and the elements that influence how they think and learn allows teachers to structure lessons to ensure the required learning outcomes are met (McDevitt, Ormond, Cupit, Chandler & Aloa, 2013). The students of today, variously dubbed the iGeneration, generation z or ‘digital natives’ use more digital technology than previous generations (Howell, 2012). ‘Digital Native’ describes the generation that has grown up surrounded by technology; and are fluent in the use of various digital technologies (Prensky, 2001).
It is not only the variety of technology and the way Digital Natives interact with it that sets them apart from previous generations; their exposure to technology has changed the way they think (Prensky, 2001). Teachers need to recognise that Digital Natives: are capable of multitasking and parallel processing, perform best when networked and receive instant and frequent gratification, are used to their graphics before their text and fast retrieval of information, and prefer games to serious work (Prensky, 2001). Consequently, knowledge of digital pedagogy is essential for teachers of Digital Natives (Howell, 2012).
Digital pedagogy refers to the study of how to teach using digital technologies and should not be confused with digital fluency (Howell, 2012). Digital fluency is the “ability to use digital technologies in a confident manner” (Howell, 2012). Digital pedagogy requires that teachers must understand the different types of leaning that occur when using technology and why using one technology is better than another; they must value different approaches and cater for all learning styles (Howell, 2012). Furthermore, Brady and Kennedy (2010) suggest that being able to work independently, creatively and at the students own pace, be the criteria for the new pedagogy.
When incorporating technology into lessons teachers must ensure that the learning outcomes are met, and that...