Welcome Class of 2018!

August 29, 2014

I always love the Beloit Mindset List--each year it gives me a good perspective on how the students of today see the world, which is quite different than how I grew up.

Here are a few of the items that stuck out to me:

  • Hello Dolly…cloning has always been a fact, not science fiction.
  • Ads for prescription drugs, noting their disturbing side effects, have always flooded the airwaves.
  • Parents have always been able to rely on a ratings system to judge violence on TV.
  • Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.
  • Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.
  • One route to pregnancy has always been through frozen eggs.
  • They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.

This article was also shared with me, geared more toward the 90s crowd, but still resonated:

  • Dial-up Internet–Remember when you would finally get the Internet to connect and someone would PICK UP THE PHONE?! The nerve.
  • Passing notes in class–SMS text messaging took over this fun little gem of a communication method.
  • Rewinding the film on your videotapes
  • That dreaded cord –the tangled landline phone cord of doom
  • Running out of room on your floppy disk–I remember the bigger floppy disk too!
  • Deciding what movie to rent at Blockbuster
  • Putting film in a camera, and then having to get it developed

Two themes stick out:

  • Young adults live in a world where their interactions are much less TACTILE and much more virtual.  When students seem reluctant to use a physical book, check out a DVD, or browse a magazine, it is not perhaps laziness, but ingrained within their experience that information should be available at the touch of a button.
  • Their world seems much more controlled than the world felt in the past

To this end, we as librarians need to diminish the walls between the student and their information need as much as possible.  Keep in mind that if your suggestions are greeted with blank stares or skepticism, it is your job to make the connection for them and help them see the value.  I also think that educating students to be in control of their own information is crucial to forming curious and responsible citizens.  By showing students how NOT to be influenced by the bombardment of marketing and misinformation, they will gain back more control in the world around them.

Being aware of this “mindset” of new generations and our role in educating and connecting these generations to both what came before and what the future may hold is our current challenge.

Best of luck in the new school year!

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