Since professionally entering the field of academic librarianship, I have heard a lot about the Millennial Generation. The dates of who is included in this group vary, I've settled on people who were born in 1982 or later because I don't want to be included in this group. I don't recognize myself in the students I work with, nor do I recognize myself in what I have read about the Millennials. I don't recognize myself in descriptions of Generation X either. But I'm working my way through Prensky's Digital Game-Based Learning and he uses the phrase the "Games Generation." It includes Gen Xers to present-day college students. I do recognize myself in this group even if I did not grow up playing video games (my mother wouldn't let us have one and I eventually lost interest).
He says that members of the Games Generation see everything as a game. We can process more than one item at a time (hyperlinks vs. linear thinking); focus on graphics first and text second; see everything as connected; like to be active and hate being passive; look for payoffs with little patience; tend to have an affection for fantasy; and see technology as a friend. The more I think about seeing everything as a game, the more I agree with him. I want my job to be "fun," to enjoy coming to work. If I work hard, I want to see the results. I'm trying to lose a few pounds without spending any money on Weight Watcher's online tools, but I'm craving the game-like environment it would provide me. I even view my personal finances as a game-like challenge... now that I have a shared bank account with my new husband, that game even includes another player.
It's hard for me to imagine how my parents think if the Games Generation is really so different from previous generations. I know my parents had more patience than I did between rewards. I can now blame my disorganized thinking on having grown up with hyperlinks.