Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn
Larry D. Rosen
Palgrave Macmillan, $17, 256 pp.

When the iconic Stage Manager in a recent off-Broadway production of Our Town made his entrance carrying a cell phone, a murmur rippled through the audience. Wilder’s play has long been associated with slow time and small-town values. What would the playwright have made of this high-tech intrusion?

The question provides an interesting vantage point for assessing Larry Rosen’s new book, Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. A professor of psychology at California State University, Rosen has put together a book that is part ethnography (detailing the lives of “digital natives” born during the 1990s) and part manifesto (predicting how Web-related technologies will revolutionize the classrooms of the twenty-first century). Rewired is nothing if not topical. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, half of American teenagers send fifty or more text messages a day, and one-third send over a hundred; many sleep with their cell phones at their sides. Rosen says this translates into as much as twenty hours a day of media consumption, with teens toggling among multiple IMs (instant messages), Facebook posts, and, yes, the occasional homework assignment.

Rosen’s take on this state of affairs can be summed up simply: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Teachers may bemoan the ubiquitous cell phone and students’...

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About the Author

Robin Antepara teaches intercultural communication at Gakushuin University in Japan.