“Understanding young people today is not just understanding another group of young people; this is about understanding how we’re all going to work, live, relate to each other in the future.” – David D. Burstein, USA
It’s the age-old conflict played out every couple of decades, everywhere in the world: the older generation just doesn’t understand the younger. Their styles, their music, their language and especially their relationship with technology can all be perplexing, even maddening. David Burstein is on a mission to change this, helping those of us with a few more years behind us to understand what he believes is the most powerful generation yet: the millennials.
Burstein, the 24-year-old author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World, was initially inspired to explore this subject through his work during the 2008 U.S. election. His documentary film, 18 in ‘08, followed young voters as they navigated the presidential election process. The film ultimately spawned Generation18 (founded by Burstein), a nonpartisan voter engagement organization and the nation’s largest youth-run young voter engagement organization. Burstein was struck by the disconnect between what older generations were saying about millennials and what he was seeing on the ground.
“This generation is the largest generation in history,” Burstein says, “but it’s also a generation that’s on the forefront of understanding the trends and ways our world is going to work for the next 40 years.”
When we talked recently, Burstein shared what he’s learned about this often discussed and seldom understood group. These digital natives – more than 80 million of them — are the first to have come of age in a world where research can happen not only in the school library, but also through Wikipedia and connections made on social media. (Burstein’s TEDx talk explores the historical precedents for the massive shifts transforming society today.) Millennials are activists who want to be heard, and according to Burstein, they hold the keys to understanding how we can progress as a society.
“Older generations,” Burstein tells us, “particularly teachers and parents — have to start embracing technology as part of reality, and part of this world.” Join today’s Daily Edventure, where Burstein talks about how schools and teachers can tap into the power of the millennial generation by reshaping the way we approach education.
About David Burstein, Writer, Filmmaker, Passionate Believer in the Millennial Generation
David Burstein is a frequent speaker and commentator on millennials, social innovation and politics. He has appeared on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, NPR, ABC Evening News, and C-SPAN, and in The New York Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, Politico, Salon, The Huffington Post, and many others. Burstein is a contributor to Fast Company, where he writes about disruptive innovation, social entrepreneurship and creativity. He regularly consults for not-for-profits and companies on how to understand and engage millennials. David serves as the Co-Director of the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship @ Chicago Ideas Week, which helps outstanding young social entrepreneurs grow their impact. He currently serves on the advisory boards of Watson
University, The Civic Life Project, and The Westport Youth Film Festival. He is a proud graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
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