Sunday, March 2, 2014

16 Trends: #5 shifting generations

On the header of this blog you will see the phrase "the future, now" which I added on some years ago as I thought about my aim of using technology to transform learning.  The future, now can also be applied to a group of people called the Millennials - the people who will be making up the governments of the world in around 30 - 40 years time.  The Millennials are in our education system now so it really is up to us to shape this future through the education we provide today. My generation (the Baby Boomers) will all be retired by 2030.  What changes are we likely to see as the power and influence and decision making shifts from the Baby Boomers to the Millennials?

The people of my generation have been influenced by many things - prolonged peace and generally stable economies.  We have seen space flights, moon landings and the civil rights and women's movements.  The Millennials have been influenced by different things:  a more multicultural society, a new world order and the rise of terrorism.  Things such as high speed computers and being able to communicate with anyone around the world at any time are normal to them.  This evening as I was skyping with my mother (who at 85 is part of the "Silent Generation") she asked if "phoning" from India to the UK was very expensive.  Using skype to her landline costs next to nothing, something she finds difficult to believe.  My Millennial son, on the other hand, really does use his mobile phone to call her, but with an unlimited data plan this costs nothing either.  Such things are hard for my mother to understand.

The book Sixteen Trends: Their Profound Impact on Our Future raises an interesting question:  do generations shape events, or do events shape generations?  My mother lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II in the UK with years of rationing and shortages.  This has made her especially frugal and something of a hoarder (she finds it hard to throw anything away!)  Growing up in the 1960s and 70s certainly influenced me too.  I became the first person in my entire family ever to go to university.  I'm curious to see how events are shaping this new generation that my son and daughter are in.  I've heard that events are leading to this generation becoming confident, sociable, moral, optimistic, accepting of diversity and civic minded.  Looking at my children I would say this is pretty accurate!

Photo Credit: sarboo via Compfight cc

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