Published: Oct. 18, 2019

Dr. Jean Twenge Presents to CU Faculty and Staff on Reaching and Teaching iGen StudentsOn Friday, October 11, San Diego State Professor of Psychology, Dr. Jean Twenge, one of the foremost researchers on generational differences, spoke to CU Boulder faculty and staff about connecting and teaching the iGen (born after 1995) who are traditional-age college students. These individuals are the first generation to have had smartphones present throughout their adolescence, and as a result, are more inclined to spend time online and less time with each other in person. Unfortunately, this is leading many iGen’ers to be more extrinsically motivated and less intrinsically motivated—requiring educators to develop innovative strategies to reach them in the classroom.

Dr. Twenge presented a behind-the-scenes look at the data about the impact of technology, particularly smart phones, on the iGen’s speed of development, their mental health and happiness and motivations. Her insights were focused primarily on what educators and other student-supporting college and university staff can do to better guide and teach this generation.

The presentation was brought to CU Boulder, in part, by the Leeds School of Business Teaching Excellence Committee, who host events that focus on improving teaching strategies and techniques for Leeds’ faculty.

Key Takeaways

  • Make sure activities are relevant for future career success
  • Use gaming models and/or point systems in the classroom
  • Try interactive discussions, videos that can help them retain material
  • Encourage intrinsic motivations of students
  • Meet them where they are but also give them what they need for success

Dr. Twenge’s research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “NBC Nightly News,” and National Public Radio. In addition, Dr. Twenge has written many books for the non-scientific reader. Her most recent book, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.