Gen Alpha: Preparing for the Arrival of Digital Natives
By: A.A Diah Cahaya Dewi
The term Generation Alpha first appeared in 2005 (Markmccrindle, 2018). This name was determined from the results of a survey conducted by Mark McCrindle, a social and demographic analyst. Alpha generation children are born from 2010 to 2025. Currently, their oldest age is 11 years old. According to the Australian social research institute, the birth rate of the Alpha generation has reached 2.5 million births per week.(Markmccrindle, 2018)
Children from Generation Alpha are the first generation to be born and live side by side with technological sophistication. For this reason, they are often also called the "digital natives". For this generation, technology is very closely related to their lives.
Generation Alpha recognizes technology as their best friend during childhood growth and development. Being digitally literate allows them to find, use, and create information online effectively and efficiently. Experts develop their knowledge of technology through exposure to it, problem-solving opportunities, and trial-and-error.
Academically, technology has changed the face of education and will continue to do so in the coming years. The current auditory and structured teaching practices will diminish, and visual and interactive education will take off. Generation Alpha will have a completely revamped learning experience.
A study done by Taylor and Hattingh identified that children were able to apply reading skills within Minecraft, even children with foundational reading skills were able to use words repetitively and interpret information (Taylor & Hattingh, 2019). The study’s conclusion supports the ways that children, particularly Generation Alpha, learn through technology like Minecraft. The study provided valuable information about learning about the ways Generation Alpha prefers to learn, especially in theorizing the way their tertiary education will be shaped.
While the use of digital, networked technology is growing, it is important to understand the traits of Generation Alpha because they represent the future and provide a lens through which to look at the next decade and beyond. With that being said, we should start to put the digital natives discourse to rest and focus more on molding the digital learners. Moreover, parents need to give Generation Alpha confidence, as many young people face insecurities and mental health issues about an uncertain future we are constantly painting for them. Parents should encourage Generation Alpha to invest in the future. By investing in training and education in both life skills and people skills, Generation Alpha can remain relevant and have the confidence to move forward.