The 21st century school library is the hub of student learning with librarians helping with research, encouraging students to read for enjoyment and developing their information literacy skills. All these aspects are important for the current generation of students who have been “raised with easy familiarity with video games, email, instant messaging…Web 2.0 social networking habits, they have developed patterns of engagement that are different from those of earlier generations.” (Godwin, 2008, p. 52). School librarians must create information literacy programs to include Web 2.0 tools to effectively engage this generation. (Carroll, 2011, p. 27). The Millennium Generation or Digital Natives are the first generation to have grown up with technology and librarians must cater to these technology savvy students by providing opportunities to use Web 2.0 technology for researching and sharing information, thus engaging even the most reluctant student.
The Millennium generation is accustomed to online information and Web 2.0 technology. It is an essential part of their life and they can easily master new applications. This generation consists of those people born between 1982 and 2002, so this essay will focus on middle school students aged between 12 to 15 years old who are in grades 7, 8 and 9 (Roehl, Reddy, & Shannon, 2013, p. 44). These children are comfortable with change and “they like to learn how to use new technology via internet searches, video games, texting, blogs, wiki’s, social networks, uploading photo’s, videos and music clips” (Godwin, 2008, p. 6). Therefore, in order to engage middle schooler’s in their learning, it is essential that school librarians link Web 2.0 technology with information literacy lessons.
Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with technology. As a result they are described as “digital natives”, whereas, older generations are known as “digital immigrants”. During their lifetime, internet connections and technological devices have become more affordable for the average household. The Millennium generation takes for granted 24/7 connection to the internet, access to information, as well as, being continually socially connected to their friends and family via social media. They like to multi-task by using various applications, they enjoy group activities and the social aspect of learning by collaborating with eachother (Roehl et al., 2013, pp. 44-45). School librarians must take into consideration the fact that technology is a natural part of everyday life of the middle schooler.
As “digital natives”, middle schoolers have quite a distinctive learning style for school librarians to take into consideration when preparing an information literacy lesson. Middle schoolers are active, innovative, visual and global learners. Middle schoolers are active learners due to the fact that they learn by completing activities, participating in groups, plus they dislike sitting still (Roehl et...