Are they Gen Y??

Seeing pictures on a small boat (find signal)
In one of our lecturing last week, we discussed one article that was interesting title "understanding and teaching generation Y" written by Peter Reilly (2012). My lecturer gave us a homework to investigate our students whether they are Gen Y or not and jot down what they do in the information technology.
Before I write my investigation in this blog, shortly I will explain what are the characteristics according to Peter Reilly (2012).
There are 10 characteristics of Gen Y:
1. Gen Y is tech-savvy
2. Gen Y balances personal and work lives
Download some pictures
(next to rubber tree)
3. Gen Y individuals are kinesthetic and visual learners
4. Gen Y is feedback-dependent 
5. Gen Y and academic dishonesty
6. Gen Y's predilection for entertainment and games
7. Gen Y customizes tasks
8. Gen Y redefines respect
9. Gen Y seeks a purpose and a passion
10.Gen Y reads less and less well


In this investigation I specially investigate my students in the remote area school, SMP Negeri 3 Satap Toba (Junior high school) that related to information technology. The school is located very far from the urban and district area (Sanggau and Toba district), one remote village (Bagan Asam). To reach this village, it needs more than 8 hours by riding motorcycle and continue with small boat transportation. The numbers of students are very limited, it is only 13 students (From grade one, two and three) because all students only from that village. 
Actually we are difficult to find the signal for communication, we must walk about 1 kilometer to find it or get on the boat and search it, and sometimes the signal has gone when we arrive at the place, we call this signal place as BAGAN, the forest near the back of the school. In Bagan we can use our smartphone for communication.

Because this article is about generation Y, so I will focus this article to the students' activities with their communication devices and not computer or laptop because they do not have it and mostly the can not operate the computer and another cause is because there is no electricity at there, so that laptop or computer is not available in the village and school. Some questions that will be addressed in this article are: what are the devices for?, when do they use the devices?, how many times do they use the devices? do they use it for subject matter? and the last are they really gen Y in remote area as Peter Reilly (2012) wrote?

I think it is better if I say that my students are not as smart as students in the city like Pontianak, They are provided by many means of communication like sophicticated smartphone, modern laptop where has many programs that can support their educational program, television that can update their information, and etc. In contrast, in our school there is no means of communication like I mentioned before, they only have a simple smartphone but luckly it can access internet.

Based on my investigation, my students use the smartphone for two purposes, first is for communication (calling and sending or receiving messages) with others and the second is for downloading pictures or photos. I looked at their files in smartphone and I found many pictures and photos and most of them were their idol like Ronaldo, Messi, group band, and etc, but I did not find videos, it makes sense that the students do not have videos in their smartphone because it needs good or strenght signal to download such as youtube.

My students are very unique in using their smartphone, why I say like that because they do not bring the smartphone every times and rarely to use them as a communication devices but they mostly use the smartphone for taking picture and only bring them at the school time (only for showing it to their friends), but they are not allowed to use smartphone in the class. In the break time they sometimes show the smartphone to me and tell about what is the pictures they dowbloaded yesterday. It was a happy time when seeing them smiled at the downloading pictures.

As a teacher in remote area that has no many teachers I also teach not only english but also bahasa Indonesia and local content. Once I entered the classroom and I began to teach, my teaching was about Cerpen (short story) in Bahasa Indonesia. In the last minutes I gave them homework to look for a short story that related to beautiful nature. I gave them to search in internet because they can use their smartphone to download, it means that they also can use it for searching articles. The next day, the students collected the task and the smartphone to prove that they really use it. When I checked their task, infact most of them can search it and their task were completed. I take a conclusion on this situation that my students really understand to use informational technology like smartphone to support their educational program.

Based on my investigation, in conclusion my students really have Gen Y characteristics, it proved from the activities they have with their smartphone, they can download pictures and photos, do their task with searching article in the internet, and etc. Remote area become the limit for their technological development and hopefully the government will provide us with many tools that can support the sudents' learning.

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