Looking for the Engagable…

Work Places We Love
A Flickr Group that I belong to, the offices of edubloggers.  We love what we do.  We probably love where we do it.

As I said in an earlier blog entry (Bring you Heart with You), I spoke at a business conference earlier this week.  The topic was mostly about the millennial generation as your employees and customers.  The talk seemed to be well received with quite a few enthusiastic audience members coming up afterward to comment, mostly folks who were less than 35.  One commented that a number of people around him were not buying into it.  They did not agree that this generation is different.

After lunch I had the opportunity to meet with various groups from the conference who were involved in roundtable discussions.  One group objected to the idea of young people being engaged.  An employer said that so many of his younger employees were lazy. 

Of course, it is difficult (impossible) to comment on specifics circumstances where my personal observations are specific and the statistics from the various studies that have been done are so general.  His employees may well be lazy. 

But when I consider today’s youngsters, the time that they spend on games, their social networks, continuing text messaged conversations; the enormous investment of themselves and their time in the more involved video games; and the amount of reading and writing that they do; it’s really hard to think of them as lazy.  It’s certainly true that too many of them spend to much time sitting, and that many of them would prefer to IM clients than to go visit them in their offices.  But it still seems to me that this might be the most engageable generation ever. 

Students Generate Energy from their Intrinsic Need to:
  • Work in responsive environments
  • Communicate
  • Share personal experience & identity
  • Form & participate in communities
  • Ask questions
  • Accomplish
  • Invest themselves
  • Safely make mistakes
  • Earn audience & attention

This is certainly an arguable point, when analyzed by specific element of how our children spend their time and efforts.  But I’m reminded of an online activity that I did a while back with educators at Irving School District near Dallas — a district that has had laptops in its students hands for quite a few years.  The task was to identify the activities that students engaged in, while online, that seemed to generate energy.  Their list continues to be something that I refer back to again and again.

See at the right.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.