“Developing the mind is important but developing a conscience is the most precious gift parents can give their children.” john gray.


One of the biggest debates I have with traditional educators (and, frankly, some boomer type people who suggest we need to go back to some basics in education so that “they” can learn the things we learned) is the role of the web and whether it can educate properly.

And by education I am focusing on critical thinking, understanding decisions – or decision making skills, creating a ‘respect for others’ attitude and building a human value structure. All of these things with the intent behind creating the next generation of thinkers.

And I have never doubted from day one I started writing about this initiative that a web based education program would be effective because, frankly, I see the current education system teaching math & abc’s primarily not through learning but rather by memorization (which is a low bar to beat).


I just wrote about innovations and collaboration and the fact that the VC innovations model is so successful because they ignore existing paradigms and focus on the best idea.


That ‘ignoring existing paradigms’ philosophy sucks if you are in the existing education system but developing a new education model means working backwards from whom you are educating. And the global generation is going to look and act differently tan any generation before it.

And I finally found someone who has articulated this thought with facts.

Real facts.

And not with the Global Generation students but with the tail end Millennials.

And why does that matter to me? Because as noted in several of my generational overviews generations don’t just “flip a switch” on one day. You can get a sense of some behavioral and attitudinal aspects as generations transition from one into another.


The people at The Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University compiled and wrote this (and 5 through 10 will become ongoing integral aspects of any future presentations and discussions I will have with traditional educators):

(they said) Think about impacting 1 out of every 2 people online–in innovative and imaginative ways that are uniquely Yahoo!. We do just that each and every day, and you could too. After all, it’s big thinkers like you who will create the next generation of Internet experiences for consumers and advertisers across the globe. Now’s the time to show the world what you’ve got. Put your ideas to work for over half a billion people.

  1. According to a 2008 Pew report, 97% of American teens aged 12-17 play computer, console, or cell phone games, and three-fourths of these teens play them with others at least some of the time (Lenhart et al. 2008).
  2. 93% use the Internet, 61% go online daily, and 51% create content that others can view online (Lenhart et al. 2007).
  3. Eleven million students under the age of 18 use MySpace (Owyang 2008).
  4. The site myYearbook, a social networking site created specifically for 12- to 17-year-olds, boasts 7 million members (Loten 2008). In short, many, perhaps even most, of the current generation of learners are enmeshed in connective technologies.
  5. The environment and culture in which people grow up affect their thought processes and that cognitive processes are far more malleable than previously assumed. Evidence provided by magnetoencephalographic (MEG) imaging suggests that structural rewiring of the brain “can and does occur via experience” (O’Boyle and Gill 1998, 406). Interactive and interpersonal applications of digital technology shape the social and cognitive development of those who use them (Shumar and Renninger 2002). Oblinger (2004) claims that “constant exposure to the Internet and other digital media has shaped how [students] receive information and how they learn” (“Abstract,” 1). Some of these changes include “the development of a new type of multimedia or information literacy” which “parallels other shifts in how we approach learning such as of moving from an environment of being told or authority-based learning to one based on discovery or experiential learning” (“4. How People Learn,” 7).
  6. Students “tend toward teamwork, experiential activities . . . and the use of technology. Their strengths include multitasking, goal orientation, . . . and a collaborative style” (“2. Changes in Students,” 1).
  7. New societal patterns produce new educational paradigms that too frequently completely discard the old.
  8. Students engage their social-connectedness schema in a set of behaviors that I describe as “link, lurk, and lunge”: Students link up with others who have the knowledge they need; they lurk, watching others who know how do to what they want to do; and they lunge, jumping in to try new things often without seeking guidance beforehand (Brown 2000).
  9. Students’ social-connectedness schema underlies their ability to create and sustain physical, virtual, and hybrid social networks (Oblinger and Oblinger 2005).
  10. Today’s students “do not just think about different things, they actually think differently” (Prensky 2001, 42).
  11. And, as Reigeluth (1999) argues, “when a human-activity system (or societal system) changes in significant ways, its subsystems must change in equally significant ways” (16).
  12. Education theory must change to accommodate new developments in the way students learn and access information.

Source: This article was originally published in Innovate (http://www.innovateonline.info/) as: Sontag, M. 2009. A learning theory for 21st-century students. Innovate 5 (4). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=524 (accessed March 31, 2009). The article is a reprint of the original publisher, The Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.


If we use this information and create the Global Generation education initiative what kind of outcome can we expect?


Let me use something the Singapore Ministry of Education has written and created.

And. While Singapore does not have a solely web based education program they are attempting to prepare their young population with similar thoughts as I have described in other articles.

Here is their (and I would agree) desired student outcomes.

I would simply call it “defining the global generation in preparation for adulthood”:

Desired Student Outcomes

(source: Ministry of Education Singapore)

The desired outcomes for every student are:

  • a confident person, who has a strong sense of right and wrong, is adaptable and resilient, knows himself, is discerning in judgment, thinks independently and critically, and communicates effectively.
  • a self-directed learner, who questions, reflects, perseveres and takes responsibility for his own learning.
  • an active contributor who is able to work effectively in teams, is innovative, exercises initiative, takes calculated risks and strives for excellence.
  • a concerned citizen, who is rooted to their local geographic culture, has a strong sense of civic responsibility, is informed about their own country/region and the world, and takes an active part in bettering the lives of others around him.
Desired Global Generation Competencies:

Knowledge and skills must be underpinned by values. Values define a person’s character. They shape the beliefs, attitudes and actions of a person, and therefore form the core of the framework of 21st century competencies.

The middle ring signifies the Social and Emotional Competencies—skills necessary for children to recognize and manage their emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, as well as to handle challenging situations effectively.

The outer ring of the framework represents the 21st century skills necessary for the globalized world we live in. These are:

  • Civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills
  • Critical and inventive thinking
  • Information and communication skills


So ends my diatribe and thoughts on the Global Generation student.

Well. At least for today.

I have noted this a variety of times before … my initiative idea exists in bits & pieces throughout the world. If everyone ever got it all together and all aligned we would have biggest baddest whiz band web based global children’s education initiative.

And you know what?

We would create an entire generation who would embody enlightened conflict characteristics.

There you go.

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Written by Bruce