Why we need to look at this digital native thing differently

Barry Dahl, former Lake Superior College vice president of technology, blogs about why it’s tricky to differentiate between so-called “adult learners” and today’s Generation Y “digital native” college students who have been brought up with technology:

Many (in higher education) talk about how different the “adult learners” are from the “traditional age” students. Adult students are usually considered to be those 25 years old and over. This group needs very different teaching techniques for them to succeed (don’t believe me – just Google it – there’s tons of stuff about this out there).

Here’s the rub. A fair number of those Gen Y inhabitants are now between the ages of 25 to 31. So for any of them who are currently in college, they are also adult students. So now what the heck do we do? Treat them like Gen Y with their special needs, or like adult students with their special (but different) needs.