A Collection of Online Reports for Educators

Education in a Changing World: Flexibility, Skills, and Employability, 2012

Report from The World Bank

Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching, November 2015

This literature review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore how the use of digital technology for learning and teaching can support teachers, parents, children and young people in improving outcomes and achieving our ambitions for education in Scotland

Training the 21st-century Worker: Policy Advice from the Dark Network of Implicit Memory, November 2015

The series IBE Working Papers on Curriculum Issues is intended to share interim results of ongoing research and to increase access to a range of unpublished documents, reports, reflections in progress and exploratory studies produced at UNESCO-IBE

The Web at 25. February 2014

The overall verdict: The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual users

A Collection of Books Available on the Web

Davidson, C. N., Goldberg, D. T., & Jones, Z. M. (2009). The future of learning institutions in a digital age. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. https://www.dropbox.com/s/wo8j25ddei3w94g/8517.pdf?dl=0

Dorner, H., & Kárpáti, A. (2010). Mentoring for innovation: Key factors affecting [participant satisfaction in the process of collaborative knowledge construction in teacher training. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 14(4): 63-77. PDF

Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., … Watkins, S. C. (2013). Connected Learning. Cork: BookBaby. https://dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/files/Connected_Learning_report.pdf

Hofer, Mark J.; Bell, Lynn; Bull, Glen L.; Barry, III, Robert Q.; Cohen, Jonathan D.; Garcia, Nancee; George, Marshall A.; Harris, Judi; Jacoby, III, Albert (“Bert”) Henry; Kim, Raina; Kjellstrom, William; Koehler, Matthew J.; Lee, John K.; Mann, Lori; Mishra, Punya; Patel, Yash; Shoffner, Melanie; Slykhuis, David A.; Strutchens, Marilyn Elaine; and Zellner, Andrea L. (2015). Practitioner’s guide to technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK): Rich media cases of teacher knowledge. Books. 1. http://publish.wm.edu/book/1

Three Questions and Measures for Assessment

“Assessment” has been an important aspect of teaching and learning (or perhaps more accurately, it has been a buzzword garnering much attention) for most of my career in education. Advocates for many positions (political as much as pedagogical) argue the role of assessment in achieving their vision, thus “fixing the broken educational system” once and for all.

The reality, of course, is that assessment is a much more sophisticated and nuanced part of the educational experience than is allowed by these advocates. Clearly, educators must determine what has been learned by the student, and (for many reasons) that learning must be reduced to a number of proxies; each proxy designed to capture and reflect what the student has learned.

In many ways, the summaries we use to assess students’ learning are an attempt to reify what happens in schools. We reason, “my methods must work, because I observed these changes on these assessments.” Educators do not admit, however, that our instruments are weak (“aligning your assessments with your instruction” is worthwhile, but dubious), subject to misuse (students don’t bother reading questions, educators’ biases affect their assessments), and we can be quite unskilled at understanding results.

The problem of defining and implementing appropriate assessment in schools is becoming more challenging as well. When print dominated, educators could be relatively certain of the skills that students needed. I have some of my grandfather’s college textbooks next to mine. We both studied science, which had largely changed in the 49 years between our graduation dates, but we both learned by reading textbooks and taking notes in those books. Today, students carry laptops, digital textbooks, and are as likely to use video to study as they are to use textbooks. “Becoming educated” has been a more sophisticated endeavor for my children than is was for my grandfather and me. My experiences as someone who has succeeded in both of these worlds are interesting, but the topic of another post.

Largely because information (and other) technology is changing how individual humans understand, how we organize our institutions, and the norms society holds; educators cannot predict with the same certainty what students must learn and which proxies are appropriate for assessment purposes.  This is a problem that has occupied my professional attention in recent years, and thanks to continued efforts to collaboratively design a comprehensive assessment method, colleagues and I have a much clearer, complete, and simple system for answering essential assessment questions.

First, we conclude three questions are relevant to understanding what matters in students’ learning, and each has equal value:

  • Does the student have the habits of effective learners and workers?
  • Can the students produce polished solutions to sophisticated problems?
  • How does the student compare to others?

These questions are answered in different ways, and all three comprise a reasonable and complete system for assessing students’ learning.

three assessment tools

 

In course grades, we answer the question “Does the student have the habits of effective learners and workers?” Consider the typical classroom. Over the course of months, students participate in a variety of activities and complete a range of assignments and tasks. Teachers’ make professional judgements about the characteristics of the students the degree to which he or she has mastered the material and is prepared to learn. Just as we do not always expect a supervisor to follow an objective instrument when judging workers’ performance, we should not expect educators to being completely objective.

Of course, as subjectivity enters the grading process, educators will find it necessary to defend decisions, which will motivate them to more deeply articulate expectations, observe learning, and record that learning. All of these are benefits of including educators’ judgments in course grades.

A performance is an activity in which we answer, “Can the student produce polished solutions to sophisticate problems?” Performances are those projects and products that working professionals would recognize as a familiar outcome and professionals would be interested in the motivation of the performance, the nature of the work, and the quality of the performance. Questions regarding a performance are best directed to the student because it was selected, planned, and carried out by the student.

Teachers do have a role in setting to context of a performance, guiding decisions, and facilitating the student’s reflection in the activity; but through a performance, a student demonstrates the capacity to frame and solve complex problems and complete complex communication tasks. While “projects” that are included in course grades contribute to students’ ability to complete these assessments, performances are typically independently constructed and are outside of traditional curriculum boundaries.

Tests have been at the center of intense interest in educational policy for the 21st century. The political motivation for these test have been challenged and is beyond the focus of this post. For the purposes of this essay it is sufficient to recognize that large scale tests (think SAT’s, ACT’s, SBAC, PARC, AccuPlacer, and the like) can be used to determine how a particular student did in comparison to all of the others who took that test.

A few details are necessary to complete the picture of what these tests show. First, standardized tests were used almost exclusively for these purposes in the 20th century. This century, standards-based tests have become more common. A standardized test is a norm-referenced test, which means the scores are expected to follow a normal distribution (bell curve) and an individual’s score is understood in terms of that distribution for comparison. When taking a standards-based test, and individual’s score is compared to those that he or she is expected to answer if the standard has been met.

Regardless of the exact nature of the tests, those interested in assessment of learning must recognize that these tests are administered for the purpose of comparing. Also, these tests are of dubious reliability. One of the fundamental ideas of all data collection is that measurements have errors, so a single measure taken with one instrument administered once is really meaningless. While the test results of a large group of students may allow us to draw conclusions about the group as a whole, a single student’s score cannot be used to draw reasonable conclusions about that student.

If we consider assessment as a method whereby educators can understand their program as much as they can understand students’ learning, then we see the three questions and the three types of assessments forming a meaningful and informative assessment system.

What to Video Stream from Your School

blurred classroom for decorationVideo streaming is a new tool for educators, so they are likely to respond to the suggestions they adopt video streaming with, “What do I have to stream?” Here are a few suggestions:

  • Announcements;
  • Reports of sporting events–or the sporting events themselves!;
  • Tours of art exhibits;
  • Plays and concerts (as long as you have licensed the performances);
  • Book trailers;
  • How-to’s for procedures.

What not to stream:

  • Video from unattended cameras;
  • Children without explicit permission from parents or guardians;
  • Lectures.

 

Educational Adjectives

Perhaps it is the many advertisements that have found there way through my spam filter recently. Perhaps it is that I have been reading (actually browsing) equal amounts of vendor-created content in trade magazines and peer-reviewed book chapters and articles from academic authors. Regardless of the origins, it is coming clear to me that there are three terms that seem to be synonymous to some writers, but clearly differentiated to others.

As the terms (student-centered, differentiated, individualized) have important implications for classroom practices and the nature of students’ learning experiences, this is my attempt to introduce some dimensions to define and differentiate these terms.

It must be recognized that the three terms have been introduced in recent years to encourage educators to recognize that students are different; therefore different learning objectives and different rates of progress through the curriculum are appropriate for different students. In general, we can recognize that the pace at which a student works through the curriculum can be determined by the student or by the teacher. Also the learning outcomes may be different for different students.

Together, these two dimensions lead to four types of instruction:

  • Teacher controlled pace and common objectives for all students can be accurately labeled as instructionist education. In this model (familiar to by schooling in the 1970’s and to my children in the 2000’s) teachers decide what is taught, when it is taught, and all of the students either keep up or fall behind.
  • Teacher controlled pace but student specific objectives are commonly called differentiated instruction. What is taught to different students (and how it is assessed) may be different for different students, but the teacher is the primary evaluator and judge of when to proceed to the next topics.
  • In classrooms where the students progress through the curriculum at their own pace is individualized instruction; the current interest in competency-based education and the mastery learning of previous generations are examples of this model.
  • Finally, in those classrooms in which students play an active role in defining what is to be studied, how it will be assessed, and when to move on to the next topic; we can properly label the curriculum student-centered.

While there are other relevant dimensions of teaching and learning, these terms seem to be defined through these two dimensions. Clearly, as well, there are situations in which each of these are appropriate (or inappropriate). In my experience, good teachers understand these differences and use the correct model for the purpose. Further, good teachers will ensure students have the opportunity to experience each during each course they complete.

Observations of Narcissist Educators

The label “narcissist” has become relevant in the United States in recent weeks and months. I will avoid comment on current events, but I will observe the concept is useful in understanding the actions of some educators.

For the professional psychologist familiar with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder has a very specific meaning and is made only when certain criteria are met. For the layperson, the label narcissist can be applied much more liberally. In both cases, however, one who is a narcissist has an elevated sense of self-worth and importance which is manifest in several characteristics; we recognize a narcissist as one who:

  • Expects constant attention and validation;
  • Expects special attention and recognition;
  • Is arrogant;
  • Believes himself or herself to be beyond criticism;
  • Lacks empathy.

These are all variable personality characteristics, and depending on a range of factors everyone demonstrates these on occasion. When we recognize these characteristics are displayed frequently and consistently, an individual earns the label “narcissist” by laypeople. When the antisocial behaviors demonstrated by the narcissist exceed normal limits and adversely affect relationships, a professional may apply the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The association between self-esteem, narcissism and the teaching profession is interesting. In general, teachers need greater than normal self-esteem; this allows us to interact with students, colleagues, parents, and other stakeholders as we do. The current thinking surrounding narcissism suggests that it arises from excessively weak self-esteem; the elevated sense of self-worth is an unconscious and misguided attempt to strengthen one’s sense of self. Differentiating one with a strong self-esteem who is having an extreme day and a narcissist can be difficult.

At several times during my almost 30 years in education, I have found myself working for narcissistic leaders and working with narcissistic teachers. My experience and the reading that helped me understand those people led me to the observations described here. Look for these actions or reactions to identify the narcissist in your midst.

Ex officio authority

Educators are in positions of authority. Teachers plan how students will spend hours, days, weeks, and school years. Administrators have even greater authority, as their decisions affect teachers’ careers and children’s (and their family’s) lives in important and permanent ways.

On occasion, every educator uses his or her authority to justify decisions. When educators are transparent and admit they are using authority and the rationale for it, students usually understand. Students will often comply with the use of authority to mediate conflicts, give direction to groups that need it, and maintain order. The teacher who decides “Jimmy will pitch this inning and Sally will pitch next inning” is using authority to stop the argument and allow students to play in the few minutes they have a recess rather than argue. Those educators who take time to explain their rationale to students when using authority have more credibility with students, and they are more likely to follow unexplained authoritarian decisions from those teachers.

Narcissistic educators use the authority of their positions as the default rationale for decisions, and the explanation is simple, “You will do this because I am the teacher (or principal or superintendent or whatever), and I decided it.” There tends to be little recognition of other circumstances, and the unspoken demeanor is “all must defer to and recognize my greater expertise.” Teachers who adopt this stance lose credibility with students, and administrators who adopt this stance towards teachers lose credibility as well.

A corollary to ex officio authority is narcissists’ expectation that all will use his or her formal title. Students refer to me by many names and nicknames (gackerman which is my network user name is frequently used), but if I insisted on being called “Dr. Ackerman,” I would be demonstrating the narcissistic characteristic. If an adult insists other adults refer to him or her with a formal title, then one is most assuredly are naming a narcissist.

Pollyannaish

Education is a complex endeavor and initiatives, projects, and lessons fail and fail frequently. The reasons are many and diverse and in many cases unpredictable. Most educators are able to recognize those failures as a part of the process of designing and refining their practice. In the jargon of organizational leadership, those educators “own” their role in the failure accept a role in improving further effort.

The narcissistic educator is decidedly Pollyannaish regarding failure; the excessively optimistic stance is demonstrated in several ways. First, failures are denied. Even when there is strong evidence that the individual narcissist was responsible for bad decisions, they will reinterpret the outcomes in a positive manner. Second, others who maintain there was failure are blamed for it and become the targets for future blame.

Third, in the face of persistent calls to recognize failure, the narcissistic educator will commonly feign ownership in a sarcastic manner. One particularly narcissistic administrator for whom I worked was known to respond, “Well, I’m sorry I’m not perfect…” and then walked (actually storming away is a more accurate verb) away when others refused to accept his Pollyannaish interpretation. He missed the point that whoever was challenging him was not seeking perfection, but they were seeking to understand the situation and find which part of the system failed.

Narcissists Flock Together Until They Don’t

“Birds of a feather flock together,” is an adage that applies especially well to narcissistic educators. They tend to form tightly closed cliques and support each other’s sense of self-worth with a style of groupthink that supports the members. These groups have tight boundaries, and the insiders regard outsiders with disdain.

The interesting characteristic of these groups, and the narcissistic individuals who belong, is that they tend to dissolve at a moment’s notice. Most frequently, a disruptive event will trigger the dissolution, and the group seeks to reorganize groups. In many cases, the reorganization is relative to an individual, and the groups are “for” and “against.”

In the 21st century, social media plays a part in this phenomenon. Facebook is full of groups that seek to organize in support or opposition to an individual or a program. The educators who participate in them (frequently covertly) are almost certainty narcissists.

Narcissists Challenge Competence

The narcissistic educator has a decidedly adversarial reaction to competence. Competent professionals tend to be:

  • Stable because they can justify their actions with a well-articulated rationale;
  • Insightful because they are constructively critical of themselves and others;
  • Humble because they have internalized their competence;
  • Confident they can adapt to new situations.

The narcissistic educator is likely to perceive these qualities in him or herself, but few others (except for other members of the clique) recognize these characteristics in the narcissist.

Narcissistic educators do identify competence in colleagues and will actively attempt to weaken those individuals, although they will not admit it. A narcissistic administrator will:

  • Disempower competent teachers by assigning others to roles of formal leadership (the competent science teacher will be replaced as the chair person of the curriculum committee, for example);
  • Diffuse competent teachers by separating them in time and place (interdisciplinary teams of competent teachers will be broken up);
  • Deflect changing the focus of the school away from their areas of competence (the competent literacy teachers will find the school begins math initiatives).

While the changes to disempower, diffuse, and deflect are supported with an independent rationale and justified with Pollyannaish reasoning, these actions are familiar to those who work for narcissistic administrators.

Instructionism Dominates

Teachers who are narcissists rely on lecture and instructionism as their pedagogy. This seems to follow from their elevated sense of self-importance, which contributes to their perception of themselves as the expert with the correct version of the curriculum.

An interesting corollary appears to be the narcissistic teacher’s reliance on a single explanation. When a student asks for clarification, the narcissistic teacher will respond with the same explanation that has been given previously. This is grounded in the assumption that his or her understanding is complete and clear, and that the difficulty in learning must be with the students’ attention or effort or capacity to learn. Teachers with minimal narcissistic tendencies will recognize that different individuals may need different explanations and will quickly different approaches and see that as posing no threat to their abilities.

A similar effect appears when a narcissist is a principal (or other administrator). The narcissistic administrator becomes a strong advocate for a single approach to teaching (typically method of instruction, less frequently a student-centered approach); regardless of the nature of the method, the administrator imposes it and prescribes how it is to be implemented.

Excessive Demands on Others

Schools cannot operate without the work of support staff, and this includes both licensed professionals such as librarians, technology specialists, art and physical education teachers, as well as unlicensed professionals, including janitorial and secretarial staff, computer technicians, and others. The narcissistic teacher keeps students late, expects them to miss other classes (especially classes like art and physical education—in an much earlier version of this essay, I included shop teachers, but they are exceedingly and distressingly rare today). All narcissistic educators expect support staff to immediately attend to their needs regardless of the other demands.

Reactions of Convenience

Another corollary to ex officio authority is a seemingly random reaction to proposed changes in pedagogy. All educators are familiar with the endless series of new teaching methods that are advocated by leaders. While we find it tiresome, most educators are willing to try new practices (within reason) if they feel supported and if they feel they are empowered to assess the new practices. Teachers will formally (and informally) apply the test “Is it helping students?” to judge new practices. When teachers are convinced about the value, they are generally quite flexible and accommodating to new ideas.

Compared to other educators, who exercise precaution and quickly adopt new practices that are reasonable, narcissistic educators adopt a rationale of convenience when deciding how to react. As a result, they (paradoxically) tend to both adopt new practices more quickly than colleagues and they tend to show more inertia than others.

Narcissistic educators tend to adopt new practices with little reflection or evaluation. This appears to be done with the desire to be perceived as “on the cutting edge,” and they are more likely to adopt these methods if it will help disempower, diffuse, or deflect competence. The administrator who attends a conference and returns having spoken with a vendor, thus “discovering” the next great curriculum initiative of the school is a narcissist. Narcissistic educators appear to be easily swayed by the self-serving research done by vendors.

The narcissistic educator will remain pedagogically unchanged in the face of reason and evidence that their practice is flawed. In recent decades, a growing body of research has supported “student-centered” practice in which students’ previous experience is an important factor in determining instruction and students are given an active role in deciding some detail of curriculum. Narcissistic educators will frequently listen to the reasoning for adopting the practices, and then conclude, “Well, I want my students to do well, so I really am ‘student-centered.’” This is an example of how the narcissistic educator regards his or her own work with a Pollyannaish perspective. They are very positive about their work, regardless of the true experience for students.

Conclusion

The narcissism is damaging to the cultures we need within school communities to promote out diverse student populations to become the flexible and innovative thinkers that they need to become and that our society desperately needs. I hope this conclusion has been established in my brief observations of this subpopulation of educators.

The question, “How do I respond if I find a narcissistic educator?” is easily answered: “Leave.” What leaving looks like depends on many factors, but narcissists prevent teaching and learning, isolate yourself from those individuals, but if they do not leave (voluntarily or forcibly), then you must.

 

A Brief Field Guide to Educational Adjectives

Perhaps it is the many advertisements that have found there way through my spam filter recently. Perhaps it is that I have been reading (actually browsing) equal amounts of vendor-created content in trade magazines and peer-reviewed book chapters and articles from academic authors. Regardless of the origins, it is coming clear to me that there are three terms that seem to be synonymous to some writers, but clearly differentiated to others.

As the terms (student-centered, differentiated, individualized) have important implications for classroom practices and the nature of students’ learning experiences, this is my attempt to introduce some dimensions to define and differentiate these terms.

It must be recognized that the three terms have been introduced in recent years to encourage educators to recognize that students are different; therefore different learning objectives and different rates of progress through the curriculum are appropriate for different students. In general, we can recognize that the pace at which a student works through the curriculum can be determined by the student or by the teacher. Also the learning outcomes may be different for different students.

Together, these two dimensions lead to four types of instruction:

  • Teacher controlled pace and common objectives for all students can be accurately labeled as instructionist education. In this model (familiar to by schooling in the 1970’s and to my children in the 2000’s) teachers decide what is taught, when it is taught, and all of the students either keep up or fall behind.
  • Teacher controlled pace but student specific objectives are commonly called differentiated instruction. What is taught to different students (and how it is assessed) may be different for different students, but the teacher is the primary evaluator and judge of when to proceed to the next topics.
  • In classrooms where the students progress through the curriculum at their own pace is individualized instruction; the current interest in competency-based education and the mastery learning of previous generations are examples of this model.
  • Finally, in those classrooms in which students play an active role in defining what is to be studied, how it will be assessed, and when to move on to the next topic; we can properly label the curriculum student-centered.

While there are other relevant dimensions of teaching and learning, these terms seem to be defined through these two dimensions. Clearly, as well, there are situations in which each of these are appropriate (or inappropriate). In my experience, good teachers understand these differences and use the correct model for the purpose. Further, good teachers will ensure students have the opportunity to experience each during each course they complete.

(c) 2016 Dr. Gary L. Ackerman

Thoughts on Born Digital #borndigital

cover of Born Digital
Born Digital

In 2008, John Palfrey and Urs Gasser wrote the first edition of Born Digital. It was one of several books to appear at the time that focused on the nature of “digital generations.” The timing of those books was reasonable as the generations who had never known life without digital tools and information had matured to the point where they could be reasonably studied, and the research had matured to the point where generalizations were clearly supported.

In the time since the first edition of this book, the genre has been less active, The Revised and Expanded edition of Born Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age revives the genre and demonstrates the transition to life in the digital world is incomplete. It should be added to the reading list of any teacher, school administrator, parent, or other individual who need a lens to understand young people’s use of digital tools and information.

Contents of the Book

The organization of the book is familiar and it is very effective for the purpose. Palfrey and Gasser list 10 trends that are affecting young people (and all others) who live a digital life:

  • Identities- The fact that our identities are becoming more public, thus more permanent, despite that fact one can try out new identities with relative anonymity online;
  • Dossiers- The existence of a large collection of digital documents linked to us, and the fact that no individual controls his or her digital dossier;
  • Protections- Of our privacy and our data;
  • Safety- From ourselves (e.g. sexting), from others (e.g. cyberbullying), and information (e.g. pornography, violence, and extreme views);
  • Creators- Which focuses on social media and the many other online spaces where communities form;
  • Navigators- An essential capacity in the landscape of effectively infinite information;
  • Aggressors- A characteristic that is troubling, especially in light of the continued terrorist activity;
  • Learners- Which recognizes the strong and active effects of digital information on schooling;
  • Activists- Which describes young people’s continued concern about social, environmental, and political issues.

It is interesting to compare this list to the 2008 edition of the book. Previous chapters entitled “Overload” and “Quality” have converged into the current chapter “Navigators,” which demonstrates how issues and strategies converge in the digital world. It is also notable also that Palfrey and Gasser have illustrated these trends with examples and evidence that has emerged since the original version, which demonstrates these issues are both more deeply embedded in culture and continuously evolving.

The previous chapter on “Piracy” has been removed. It appears to gloom-and-doom predictions from the recording industry have not become reality. Based on the number of students’ computers I see which have clients for music streaming services installed, I assume digital generations have abandoned piracy as they have adopted other methods of accessing media that have emerged and been monetized by publishers. It is ironic, however, that I noticed “Piracy” was missing in the same week there was much fervor on social media over a speech, which contained several plagiarized sections.

As a reader, I hope for two outcomes when I reach the end of a book; I hope to have answers or questions. Palfrey and Gasser provide neither, but given the evolving nature of the topic, I am not sure it is reasonable to hope for either.

A valued colleague used to ask for “helicopter views.” She wanted a brief summary of the problems and issues relevant to a topic, so she could understand what she was observing and predict the problems she might encounter. This is what readers of this book will get. In effect, Palfey and Gasser give us a view of the landscape of digital media, and we more completely explain the patterns we observe and more accurately predict the challenges of living in the digital world as a result of their work.

What is Stable?

Palfrey and Gasser end both editions of this book with a chapter entitled “Synthesis,” which comprises an email conversation between the two. The conversation occurred after the book was completed and it demonstrates the dynamic nature of the issues, and the issues they believe are most pressing.

In this edition, the question, “What is stable?” is posed in “Synthesis.” This is an excellent question as there are differences in the contents of the 2008 and 2016 versions of the book, but there are also similarities. By reflecting on what is stable, we can come to clearer understanding of life in the digital world.

My answer is that “quantum and irreversible change” is a stable part of digital life. Consider “Piracy,” the removed chapter. In 2008, young people were making and sharing copies of files (especially music) in ways that violated copyrights. Their behavior changed, and it illustrates both the quantum and irreversible nature of the changes we see.

The pattern I have observed in students’ music listening habits explains why “Piracy” is no longer an issue (hence its absence from this book), and supports the prediction it will never return. For several years, I observed students listening to iPod’s and other .mp3 players. They managed large libraries of pirated files or they made significant investments in digital files. In this step, they had taken the quantum change of managing music as bytes of data rather than bits of physical media. They never returned to the habit of purchasing music as physical media, thus “record” stores have largely disappeared.

It is unusual to see students today managing libraries of media. Most have adopted music streaming services. They have a client installed on their computers and digital devices, and connect to a service that they pay for or that is supported with advertisements. These youngsters show very little interest in changing their music habits; streaming music services have permanently become their preferred method of consuming music, and it will dominate until it too is replaced. (It is interesting that they have returned to the pattern of music consumption familiar to my age peers and me—we listened to the radio and listened to the music a person selected for us. Digital youth listen to the music an algorithm selects for them.)

Conclusion

It is time to stop using the adjective “digital” to describe generations. All generations exist in a digital world, and adults (those of us who lived through adolescence before computers are on our desks and in our pockets) are as affected by digital tools and digital media as younger generations are.

While is may be no longer necessary to differentiate digital generations, this book illustrates the characteristics of youth and the realities of digital fie that they must negotiate are challenging and permanent. Reading this book will leave those of us who care about young people and the world we share with them better prepared to understand the nature of that world.