The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s –

January 19, 2010


This article is a little alarming to me in its implication for education.  The writer’s premise is that basically technology is changing so rapidly that even siblings 2-3 years apart interact differently with technology.

3-year-olds swipe at laptop screens, expecting them to react like an I-Phone.  College students spend much more time on the actual phone and using e-mail than high school students who text and IM.

In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink takes extra effort to point out that it’s “High-Touch” not “High-Tech”.  This is crucial to our efforts to education the future generations.  We will not use technology the same way that they do.  But they still need to learn the elements of story and design for example.  We can do that with any tools that are created down the road.

Does it really matter that the freshmen text and the seniors e-mail?  If we focus on the AWNM aptitudes it really has little effect.  These students face the same challenges, they just use different tools.

It reminds of some snow days that we had a few weeks ago.  I told my International Studies students that we would proceed with their team presentations regardless of whether we were in attendance.

Some students texted me, some called.  We set up an online chat through Google Docs in addition to a voice conference for some of the students.  So with a team of five, three were on speakerphone and two were online chatting with me as they gave their presentation.

The technology was irrelevant to the main event: Their presentation.  They used whatever tools they felt comfortable using.

Which brings up one more point the writer makes in the article: Young people expect everyone and everything to be on the grid at all times.  Instant access and 24/7 communication.  This will have a profound effect on society.

You should read Dan Pink’s first book Free Agent Nation to get a great idea of how technology has put the tools of production back into the hands of individuals.  He covers the idea that micro-preneurs are never offline.  They are always on call.  I truly believe this will happen in education.  It’s just a matter of time.

The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s –


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