College Freshmen Prefer E-Books, ‘Electronic Narcotics’

By Mike Bock — August 21, 2012 1 min read
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If you haven’t already seen it on the home page of Education Week‘s website, the Beloit College Mindset List offers a humorous and at times poignant list of what characterizes the college freshmen class of 2016. The short-item list offers 75 characteristics and observations about what defines the new generation of college students, outside of the fact that they were born in 1994.

While many of the observations listed are geared toward culture and entertainment, some deal with technology use. Items range from the humorous (28. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes”) to practical (47. Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book) to vaguely unsettling (2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”)

The list itself is something of a tradition, and the Associated Press reports it has been compiled by school officials for more than a decade. Though the list is not intended to be a legitimate teaching resource, it teases at some ideas that educators might be wise to consider as the new school year begins. Experiences, not simply technology, could help teachers connect with students on a deeper level:

“The theme of last year’s list was how wired the incoming class was. This year’s class includes students who might be bitter at the previous generation, Nief said. While their elders went to college in good times and had jobs waiting for them, these students grew up watching their parents worry about unemployment and foreclosures.

“But they also live in an era of potential. Gene therapy has always been available, and they don’t waste time with outdated technologies like radios and point-and-shoot cameras.”

For the full list, click here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.