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In 2003, Alex Vieux, Editor of the journal Red Herring, created the phrase DIG Generation, where DIG is an acronym for digital immediate gratification. The phrase refers to changes in how we do things often driven by technology-spurred increases in the pace of our lives. We now do everything faster: eat, communicate, learn, work, play.... And as Vieux claims: "In the move to all things digital, consumer electronics are changing the way we live--and think."

So what can we do as mathematics teachers to work successfully with DIG Generation students? First, mathematics teachers are lucky in that graphing calculators are readily accessible by students in need of immediate graph or calculation gratification. Second, mathematics teachers can expand their use of digital technologies for classroom learning. Some examples include:

  • Internet resources can be used to review concepts, search for historical information, build WebQuests, or download real-world data-sets
  • On-line "blackboard" discussions could occur after school hours to help students with their homework questions
  • Blogs could be used to create course journals that document learning and raise questions relative to the mathematics being learnt
  • Instant messaging??...maybe we could send out a "problem of the day"?
In the big scheme of things, we as mathematics teachers are also part of the DIG Generation. Thus, the important thing is to try to figure out how to creatively meet student needs by watching how we meet our own needs. That is, DIG IT!

Source: L. Renard's "Teaching the DIG Generation," Educational Leadership, April 2005, pp. 44-47