Opinion Piece: The Millennial Issue

As I sat with a few friends the other day, playing video games and having a few drinks I couldn’t help but look around at the scene in my living room. Four 21ish year old males sat with laptops, Xbox, television, Bluetooth speakers, a phone each and the rest. Every single one of us was completely flooded with technology and we were playing video games with each other on two different platforms (laptop and Xbox) whilst being in the same room.

Now, I bet you’re thinking I’m going to come out with ‘we should have been outside in the warm weather rather than sat in a room surrounded by technology’ but actually that’s not true at all, and that is not ‘The Millenial Issue’ I think exists. As a matter of fact, the scenario described above took place after we had spent numerous hours in the evening in the fresh air at the driving range challenging each other to hit golf balls into baskets and having a jolly good time.

 

So, if not being outside enjoying the sun is not the issue with today’s 21 year olds, then what is? Well, the above scenario, I think, highlights something that has been sorely missed for our generation. We have been very fortunate to have lived and grown up in a time when technology has rapidly advanced. Take for example mobile phones. At the time of my 4th birthday, Nokia hadn’t even released their infamous 3310 model and yet just 17 years later I sit with my phone in my hand and the world at my fingertips. Now considering the first text message was sent in 1993, the rapid expansion of the last 25 or so years in this technology has been incredible. However, despite knowing how to use my phone as a navigation system, a games console, a bank, etcetera, there is one real issue. I don’t have a clue how any of it works, I just know how to work it.

 

This lack of understanding technologically for our generation, the generation who are just beginning to join the real world, is somewhat intriguing when we explore that we have known the next big thing is going to be linked to technological advances for the majority of our lives. Indeed, we are all very aware of Mark Zuckerberg – arguably the most successful man in the world – and how he succeeded in life and Bill Gates and James Dyson before him gave us clues. So if it was so apparent then why did we not focus on developing our skills with coding, or computer programming?

 

Indeed, during the evening I decided to raise this point relating to video games by remarking on how envious I was by the people who could create something as intuitive as a fully working computer game to which my friends agreed, and actually started the conversation that led to this article. We remarked that the rapid expansion of technology in our time has meant that education reform has not, until now, had the opportunity to catch up. If you explore the new National Curriculum, yes even the one for Primary School children, now includes Computer Science and Coding. This seems a far cry from my computer education which focused predominantly on the development of skills in Microsoft Powerpoint, and if I’m honest, prepared me quite terribly for creating anything other than a copied and pasted slide show full of timed animations and slide transitions.

 

Indeed, when we explore Bloom’s Taxonomy, it is clear that this ability to create an intuitive video game, rather than just knowing how to work it exemplifies the end of two knowledge spectrums. Remembering, understanding and applying, or knowing how to work things seemingly highlight that my generation have seemingly been undersold educationally. Therefore, the positive shift to improve education in England where our children begin to not only apply their knowledge but use it to create new products and conduct trial and error (evaluations) on these products, is wholeheartedly welcome for our youths.

Blooms-Taxonomy-650x366

However, what are we left to do? The millennial is seemingly, like those before us, stuck in a technological limbo where the majority have somewhat reached their peak with technology and will never create the next world changing invention because we are not equipped with the skills to do so. I suppose the only real consolation is that at least we have benefitted from having technology and have developed as people because of it. Still wouldn’t say no to a fraction of Zuckerberg’s wage though!

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