Human Interactions / Uncategorized

Educating Millennials – Why We’re Doing it Wrong

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Posted on / by Alex Berger

Listen to this post:

Audio: Educating Millennials, We are Doing it Wrong

An educated populace is the cornerstone of a successful, affluent culture and a necessity if the United States wants to remain competitive. Our education system is the framework that enables and prepares America’s youths to support, lead, and drive America’s future.  Education, more than any other factor, is responsible for America’s success. It is for that reason that the current shift in enrollment and completion rates among males in higher education may be seen as a crisis. It is immensely disturbing and potentially disastrous.

While there are a lot of theories as to the cause, no one has been able to accurately explain why young male Millennials are abandoning the education system and especially, higher ed. The lion’s share of the discourse on the subject has focused on the increased presence of females in higher education, the shifting nature of male’s roles in society, and other similar concepts. While these may be factors, I believe they overlook the true cause and scope of the issue.

The Cause

The infusion of brilliant young female minds into higher education is a wonderful thing and there is without question some validity to the observations made that womens’ aptitudes are better suited to the standard classroom format. That said, I don’t believe the introduction of women to higher education is what’s causing men to drop out.  Rather, we are seeing a surge in the individual student’s ability to learn and comprehend in a more complex reality. The issue stems from the way members of the Millennial generation are developing and their use of complex, multi-tasking skill sets that have been honed in the daily practice of video gaming, internet access, chatting, and involvement in online social networks.  Simply put, tech savvy Millennials are not being engaged or challenged by the one-dimensional delivery systems in a majority of today’s classrooms. They are not interested in sitting passively and having information spoon fed to them. Much of this information is not interdisciplinary or connected to the real world. They can do better on their own in this new, comprehensive ‘digital classroom’. If we don’t reevaluate the way we educate Millennials, I expect female enrollment numbers to peak and begin to decline as they become more engaged in technology which follows the trend we are currently seeing among males.

Source: National Science Foundation
Source: National Science Foundation

The growth of the internet between 1995 and 2007 has been staggering as evidenced by these NSF diagrams. The Millennials are a transitional generation.  The oldest Millennials are digital immigrants, while the youngest are digital natives (as coined by Marc Prensky here). Those of us caught in the middle vary widely.  At 23, I find myself in the middle of the pack and surrounded by friends who fall near both extremes. For my part, I consider myself as close to being a digital native as is possible. At the same time, I have friends my age who have only recently started using the web and engaging in its immersing nature.

Source: National Science Foundation
Source: National Science Foundation

The difference between digital natives and digital immigrants is – I believe – what is responsible for the decline of males in higher education. Historically males have been the early tech adopters.  You’ve probably heard a joke or two about the improbability of finding a female gamer and you’ll no doubt agree that when you hear the word “geek” the last image that jumps to mind is of a woman. While these depictions are cultural stereotypes, they have historically been fairly accurate.  For the last 20 years computers, the Internet, and video games have largely been the domain of men. While that has begun to shift in the last 3-5 years – especially in the gaming industry – fully engaged female digital natives are still relatively rare.

To that end, males have been heavily exposed to – and had their social behavior patterns effected by – technology to a far greater degree than females. The behavioral shift I’m talking about is fundamental.  It’s the way these individuals relate to each other and the environment around them. Where historically most of our interactions were relatively one sided – the news, TV, the classroom, etc. – the modern male has grown up in a highly interactive, immersive environment.  Video games are the most extreme case where this is evident, but the principle applies to the web as well. To use myself as an example:

I started gaming in 1st grade.  By 1998 I abandoned single-player games and began gaming exclusively online. By 2007 I abandoned my TV subscription, opting instead for the web and streaming video.  Why?  Because TV wasn’t engaging enough.  It was boring one-way communication. From YouTube, to Blogs, to Facebook and Reddit, Web 2.0 is how I interact and relate to the world.  I am able to accelerate and pursue my own interactive, interdisciplinary learning style. I run dual 22″ wide screen monitors.  While writing this blog post I have the blog up on one screen, Facebook (w/ Facebook chat), Twitter, Gmail (w/ Gmail chat), iGoogle, and Reddit up as tabs, and at the same time I may have a movie playing which I periodically pause to focus on a thought, or to pull up research for the post I’m writing…all the while, when I find something I want to explore in greater depth, I go for it. To someone used to one-way communication this may seem chaotic. For most, it would seem to be information overload. For a digital native accustomed to these interactive resources, it’s not only the norm, it’s conducive to a productive and enjoyable experience.  I can process information on multiple levels through a diverse range of delivery systems.

Millennials, particularly the digital natives, are able to complete many tasks and extend their understanding of issues well beyond the confines of the typical classroom setting. Interestingly enough, these skills – this hands-on approach – is what has allowed me to stay competitive at the leading edge of the business world. It’s all based on interactivity. While the news and researchers have historically avoided the subject in favor of running pieces on violence inducing video games and brain rot several recent pieces like this one confirm the positive effects and impact of video games. From a recent MSNBC article available here, “One study of 33 laparoscopic surgeons found that those who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures and made 37 percent fewer errors than those who didn’t”.

To those who are not familiar with these new applications of technology it would be easy to label multi-tasking digital natives as ADD/ADHD or some other label, suggesting that those who can’t sit as passive-adaptive students in a classroom suffer from an illness. Look at the skyrocketing numbers of ADD/ADHD diagnoses over the last 20 years. It’s not a virus, it’s not a sickness.  It is often young males who want to explore the world around them, who need to be engaged on multiple levels, and who want to contribute as much as they receive. It’s a generation of males who are developing the behavioral framework that will allow them to not only exist, but to excel in the modern digital era. These are the skills that will be required in the future to keep America strong. Research has shown that video games can be used to “treat” ADD/ADHD (example: Online Video Game Therapy For Mental Health Concerns: A Review by Wilkinson, Ang & Goh). Video games may be a key to understand ADD/ADHD. The skill sets utilized in video gaming are the epitome of the new interactive paradigm which the education system needs to both recognize and embrace.

The young males dropping out of and failing to pursue higher education aren’t stupid.  It’s not that they can’t compete with women.  It’s that they are disengaged because the current delivery system is not interactive and is quickly becoming significantly less relevant. The modern male is hardwired for fast-paced, multi-level exchanges. They are being forced into an education system which still operates on a passive one-way model. You go to class, you sit down at a desk in a sterile room, and you listen to someone lecture for somewhere between 60 and 180 minutes. Oftentimes the lecture is little more than a professor reading PowerPoint slides on the screen. If you’re lucky you might be in a small class and be able to ask a question or participate in group discussion for part of the class.  All the while you pray you don’t get called on, because you spent the night before exploring Wikipedia and reading about the Amazon, international business trends, and the history of the windshield wiper instead of reading a dry text and memorizing theory.  Too often the material in the schools is every bit as dead and lifeless as the system delivering it.  Unless he has the family support or long term drive to satisfy the college degree for a quick check-mark on job applications, he’s not going to stick around any longer than he has to.

The CEOs and Founders of most of today’s major tech start ups are prime examples of this phenomenon. Ask yourself how many high tech start ups have historically been founded by women? Of those founded by males, how many of the founders are college or high school dropouts?  How many have masters degrees?  How many have their doctorate? These “drop outs” are the individuals at the leading edge, driving international business forward, and the system did not provide what they needed. They had to leave school to learn and succeed.

The truly scary part is that this is just the beginning. The crisis in education we’re seeing today will only get worse over the next several years as the true digital natives begin to come of age.  Make no mistake, it won’t be limited to males alone.  Now that the gaming industry and the rest of the classic “geek” strongholds have become female-friendly, expect to see similar shifts among women.

The problem isn’t the technology. It’s not video games or too much time on the web. Ironically enough, these are all behaviors we should be embracing and encouraging.  The problem is that our education system has not adapted to serve the population’s needs in the digital age. Fundamentally – it’s failing to educate young males and as a result they are seeking more relevant material and finding delivery systems elsewhere. It won’t be an easy transition and I don’t have the answers for an easy fix. I do know that until we recognize the importance of the digital native skill set, the attrition will continue.

On a side note, I’ve spent over a week contacting the US Census Dept., Dept. of Education, and various other sources trying to get core enrollment and completion numbers for males since 1990.  Unfortunately, despite the straight forward and seemingly basic nature of my request, I have not been able to attain usable data. Most of the data publicly available has been collected in research projects exploring enrollment from particular points-of-view. It is not useful. I’d appreciate your help tracking down valid data and exploring it.

—————–

*EDIT* – Please note that I am in the process of & will be responding to all comments.  If you’ve posted a comment, please look for my response in comment form. If I haven’t gotten to yours yet, I will as soon as possible.  Thanks for your feedback and participation!

*EDIT* – As of the morning of 8/20 I’ve received a response to the request I had made for completion rates from IPEDS(The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) I made last week. I’m currently in the process of converting the core enrollment data to a percentage in order to get concrete data. Once completed I’ll post an update with what it shows.

A large amount of traffic over night from Reddit.  Thank you all for your comments and feedback. I value your feedback and will be responding as soon as possible.

—————–

Thoughts, feedback, questions, experiences?  Please share.

On a final note I’d like to thank Ed and Jo Berger for their thoughts, feedback and serving as a sounding board as I explored  and developed the ideas behind this post. Their rich experience and perspective as educators has been immensely valuable.

PART II w/ Data is now available HERE.

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.

176 Comments

    links for 2008-08-19 - Kevin Bondelli’s Youth Vote Blog
  • Bob
    August 20, 2008

    You sound too much like one of those students who left college because you were bored with the “one dimensional” atmosphere. In my day, all of 6 years ago, we called it “dealing with it” and studying. Your post makes it sound as if you can’t deal with anything in front of you unless it’s constantly spewing music, beeps, blips, or some video to keep your wandering mind in line?

    Reply
  • Bob
    August 19, 2008

    You sound too much like one of those students who left college because you were bored with the “one dimensional” atmosphere. In my day, all of 6 years ago, we called it “dealing with it” and studying. Your post makes it sound as if you can’t deal with anything in front of you unless it’s constantly spewing music, beeps, blips, or some video to keep your wandering mind in line?

    Reply
  • MaxBro
    August 19, 2008

    This is a superbly written article with a lot of fine points.

    I would add that the digital habits of your average Millenial males also make engaging in a public setting such as a university more difficult now than it has been before largely because of the social aspect. It’s not easy to venture out into an unknown setting and make friends the old fashioned way when you’ve spent most of your formative years cloistered in your room playing video games (even ones where you’re interact with others online). Since the social aspect of school is a large feature, if its not appreciated or exercised, there goes one more reason for staying and shelling out 10k a year. I’d rather be on the computer surfing the web learning in my own way on my own time for a fraction of the cost.

    There was an article out recently in a major magazine (Esquire, I think) that depicted the rising rates of professional men in their 40s playing video games sometimes with adolescents online as stress relievers to their day-time jobs. It would appear that along with the classroom, the traditional suit and tie office is slowly pushing men away. It’s no surprise that you see so many young women thrive in the workplace, in an environment where you are expected to mind your p’s and q’s. How is that conducive to creative, passionate thinking? Men have always thrived in environments where they must exert some control as a matter of success or survival. The frontier, the New World, new industries, etc. Women have operated generally in more controlled, predictable environments. Is it any wonder that modern academia is a virtual anathema to the modern male?

    Reply
  • Ugly American
    August 20, 2008

    Or it could simply be that that the pay increase & job security once granted by a degree has evaporated while the cost has skyrocketed.

    Reply
  • Ugly American
    August 19, 2008

    Or it could simply be that that the pay increase & job security once granted by a degree has evaporated while the cost has skyrocketed.

    Reply
  • salmon
    August 20, 2008

    Whilst being a thoroughly engaging read, I have to ask where is the evidence? You make good points and they sound good, but what are you central points really based upon?

    I’m the same age as you and probably closer to an immigrant than a native, but im certainly a naturalised one. I’ve noticed that as i’ve gotten older my cognitive facilities have changed. I’m better at doing Math problems than i used to be, but i also no longer absorb everything i read like a sponge as i did when i first started on the net, and after reddit i groan at the thought of having to read something over 500 words. And even though i can scan and passively abide, I cant concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Even if its as simple as reading and listening to music.

    Reply
  • salmon
    August 19, 2008

    Whilst being a thoroughly engaging read, I have to ask where is the evidence? You make good points and they sound good, but what are you central points really based upon?

    I’m the same age as you and probably closer to an immigrant than a native, but im certainly a naturalised one. I’ve noticed that as i’ve gotten older my cognitive facilities have changed. I’m better at doing Math problems than i used to be, but i also no longer absorb everything i read like a sponge as i did when i first started on the net, and after reddit i groan at the thought of having to read something over 500 words. And even though i can scan and passively abide, I cant concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Even if its as simple as reading and listening to music.

    Reply
  • Dekken
    August 20, 2008

    I’m glad someone’s doing this.
    Good work.

    Reply
  • Dekken
    August 19, 2008

    I’m glad someone’s doing this.
    Good work.

    Reply
  • Robert
    August 20, 2008

    Alex,
    I very much enjoyed reading this.
    Thanks for posting.

    -R

    Reply
  • Robert
    August 20, 2008

    Alex,
    I very much enjoyed reading this.
    Thanks for posting.

    -R

    Reply
  • yelsgib
    August 20, 2008

    This is slightly ad-hominem, but it seems to me that you should think more and talk/write less. You basically repeat the same point over and over, and the point is a weak/unjustifiable one. -Maybe- what you’re saying is true, but why do you believe it? Why should I?

    Reply
  • yelsgib
    August 20, 2008

    This is slightly ad-hominem, but it seems to me that you should think more and talk/write less. You basically repeat the same point over and over, and the point is a weak/unjustifiable one. -Maybe- what you’re saying is true, but why do you believe it? Why should I?

    Reply
  • Jay
    August 20, 2008

    All may be well to be able to survive the information overload (quod non — you understand that..?) But where did you learn to write in somewhat proper sentences, and what do you eat from ..? There’s hardly any millennials that make their own living *and* contribute to society… If education’s wrong for the millennials, the hermit (!) millennials are what’s wrong with the US of A, now so loathed by the other 90% of the World.

    Reply
  • Jay
    August 20, 2008

    All may be well to be able to survive the information overload (quod non — you understand that..?) But where did you learn to write in somewhat proper sentences, and what do you eat from ..? There’s hardly any millennials that make their own living *and* contribute to society… If education’s wrong for the millennials, the hermit (!) millennials are what’s wrong with the US of A, now so loathed by the other 90% of the World.

    Reply
  • ben
    August 20, 2008

    Reading this article, I was (to say) overjoyed that there are other people of my age who are having the same issue with schooling that I am.
    High School was a joke and I attended one with in the best education system in the country. Looking to College for something of a real challenge, I was sorely disappointed as class after class has failed to engage me.
    School for me is just a waiting period until I can get home and surf the web, chat with friends and watch CNN, often all at the same time.
    I too run double wide-screen monitors so that I can more effectively multitask.
    My thoughts often turn to the failings of the education system and I believe that a massive overhaul is needed so the U.S. doesn’t end up as “worlds dumbest country” as it’s currently heading.
    Were teachers properly paid and schools properly funded, I believe we’d see more innovative strategies and overall more effective schooling.
    Until then, the current generation will have to get by on their own merit.

    Reply
  • ben
    August 20, 2008

    Reading this article, I was (to say) overjoyed that there are other people of my age who are having the same issue with schooling that I am.
    High School was a joke and I attended one with in the best education system in the country. Looking to College for something of a real challenge, I was sorely disappointed as class after class has failed to engage me.
    School for me is just a waiting period until I can get home and surf the web, chat with friends and watch CNN, often all at the same time.
    I too run double wide-screen monitors so that I can more effectively multitask.
    My thoughts often turn to the failings of the education system and I believe that a massive overhaul is needed so the U.S. doesn’t end up as “worlds dumbest country” as it’s currently heading.
    Were teachers properly paid and schools properly funded, I believe we’d see more innovative strategies and overall more effective schooling.
    Until then, the current generation will have to get by on their own merit.

    Reply
  • Graz
    August 20, 2008

    I think Bob & co. are missing the point. If, as Alex postulates, the modern youth is becoming disaffected by stale teaching practices it should be seen as an opportunity to make higher educational method more applicable and meaningful generally. Your suggestion that the youth just deal with it implys an admission of deficiency, so why argue against Alex’s point at all?

    Anecdotaly, I also fit perfectly into Alex’s description of the native technological youth, and while reading the article I found myself nodding my head more than i would to some amazing tune I could be listening to on pandora while simultaneously watching the olympics through my tv card and flipping through blogs like this one.

    Reply
  • Graz
    August 20, 2008

    I think Bob & co. are missing the point. If, as Alex postulates, the modern youth is becoming disaffected by stale teaching practices it should be seen as an opportunity to make higher educational method more applicable and meaningful generally. Your suggestion that the youth just deal with it implys an admission of deficiency, so why argue against Alex’s point at all?

    Anecdotaly, I also fit perfectly into Alex’s description of the native technological youth, and while reading the article I found myself nodding my head more than i would to some amazing tune I could be listening to on pandora while simultaneously watching the olympics through my tv card and flipping through blogs like this one.

    Reply
  • Ford Prefect
    August 20, 2008

    A lot of what is said in this article resonates with me. I’m a first year BA student who has been finding it hard to concentrate in class simply because the breadth of information a lecture can give me at any one time is very limited. On the other hand, with all academic journals and raw information the internet is able to deliver, I’m finding it a lot easier to do things my way. Give me a research paper over a watered down lecture any day.

    Reply
  • Ford Prefect
    August 20, 2008

    A lot of what is said in this article resonates with me. I’m a first year BA student who has been finding it hard to concentrate in class simply because the breadth of information a lecture can give me at any one time is very limited. On the other hand, with all academic journals and raw information the internet is able to deliver, I’m finding it a lot easier to do things my way. Give me a research paper over a watered down lecture any day.

    Reply
  • Alex
    August 20, 2008

    I consider myself a digital immigrant, and reading this has to some extent scared me a little. It makes me wonder if my generation will have the ability to compete in a world of fast-changing inter-connectivity where use of the internet is usually confined to online shopping

    Reply
  • Alex
    August 20, 2008

    I consider myself a digital immigrant, and reading this has to some extent scared me a little. It makes me wonder if my generation will have the ability to compete in a world of fast-changing inter-connectivity where use of the internet is usually confined to online shopping

    Reply
  • freddy
    August 20, 2008

    This essay could be significantly improved with a visit to an English comp. course. Oh wait, that’s too boring. Never mind.

    Reply
  • freddy
    August 20, 2008

    This essay could be significantly improved with a visit to an English comp. course. Oh wait, that’s too boring. Never mind.

    Reply
  • superBadGirl
    August 20, 2008

    I think that some of your points about the standard delivery method for higher education are valid. I think that most schools (and faculty members) will struggle to find a way to engage Millennials. I work at a college, and the faculty there are trying to understand/engage you. It’s hard for them though, as their age range is 25-60, and their own method of information gathering is so different.

    However, despite the good points you’ve raised, I feel that the tone of your article (and some of the commentary) is too negative/dismissive of the females of your generation. This reads as if females are all passive, like they haven’t grown up in the same environment you did. Many females are also having the same issues you are, many of them would thrive in a more collaborative and dynamic environment, and certainly many of them have dropped out and gone on to found start-ups or alternative work projects.

    I understand that you’re writing from your own (male) point of view, but please don’t lump all the women of your generation into one big “passive-learner” category.

    Reply
  • superBadGirl
    August 20, 2008

    I think that some of your points about the standard delivery method for higher education are valid. I think that most schools (and faculty members) will struggle to find a way to engage Millennials. I work at a college, and the faculty there are trying to understand/engage you. It’s hard for them though, as their age range is 25-60, and their own method of information gathering is so different.

    However, despite the good points you’ve raised, I feel that the tone of your article (and some of the commentary) is too negative/dismissive of the females of your generation. This reads as if females are all passive, like they haven’t grown up in the same environment you did. Many females are also having the same issues you are, many of them would thrive in a more collaborative and dynamic environment, and certainly many of them have dropped out and gone on to found start-ups or alternative work projects.

    I understand that you’re writing from your own (male) point of view, but please don’t lump all the women of your generation into one big “passive-learner” category.

    Reply
  • Junior
    August 20, 2008

    Sorry to have to be the one to inform you, but video games are not a new thing. And even if they were, they won’t compensate for the long road of difficult studying at a university to become a surgeon.

    Further, I’m not exactly sure how watching youtube videos is any more engaging or less passive than watching a television. Maybe it’s all the eye squinting you have to do to make yourself believe that the picture looks as good.

    Reply
  • Junior
    August 20, 2008

    Sorry to have to be the one to inform you, but video games are not a new thing. And even if they were, they won’t compensate for the long road of difficult studying at a university to become a surgeon.

    Further, I’m not exactly sure how watching youtube videos is any more engaging or less passive than watching a television. Maybe it’s all the eye squinting you have to do to make yourself believe that the picture looks as good.

    Reply
  • Understanding Design & Computers: Schooling Digital Natives
  • Russ
    August 20, 2008

    You make a good case to say you don’t want buckly down and get it done. You want to stay home and play video games. Then your going to whine that you can only get a job that pays $10/hour and society is keeping you down. No one understands you. The world is more complicated than when you grew up…

    Whatever. Just admit your lazy and have no work ethic.

    Reply
  • Russ
    August 20, 2008

    You make a good case to say you don’t want buckly down and get it done. You want to stay home and play video games. Then your going to whine that you can only get a job that pays $10/hour and society is keeping you down. No one understands you. The world is more complicated than when you grew up…

    Whatever. Just admit your lazy and have no work ethic.

    Reply
  • Milwaukee Design
    August 20, 2008

    My major problem is that professors talk too slow. I’m able to read a powerpoint and absorb the information by the time they’re into their second sentence. Proper collaboration is also nearly impossible in a class of 200+ students. Raise your hand, wait 10 minutes while the professor answers the question of some naive young woman in the front, keep waiting, woop, the question and answer period is over, next topic… repeat.

    Reply
  • Milwaukee Design
    August 20, 2008

    My major problem is that professors talk too slow. I’m able to read a powerpoint and absorb the information by the time they’re into their second sentence. Proper collaboration is also nearly impossible in a class of 200+ students. Raise your hand, wait 10 minutes while the professor answers the question of some naive young woman in the front, keep waiting, woop, the question and answer period is over, next topic… repeat.

    Reply
  • meteechart
    August 20, 2008

    My experience (I’ve taught at 3 community colleges & 2 universities, 2 of them full-time) leads me to think it is more accurate to say that having spent large chunks of childhood and adolescence “multitasking” and in super media intense environments, many millennials are incapable of undivided concentration. Many college students are EXTREMELY challenged by old school “one dimensional” delivery methods. They are so challenged by it that some just opt to not pay attention at all.

    It is, certainly, incumbent upon higher ed faculty to understand this and to respond to it.

    However, the sad truth is that once kids make it out of college (if they do), they will have to successfully learn and interpret information in incredibly boring meetings and in dull, flat interactions with clients who don’t know what they’re talking about, etc. In short, learning to learn in boring situations is a critical skill in itself. In fact, trying to get through a focused conversation with a millennial who can’t focus on the issue at hand is one of the most boring, unstimulating things you can do, and requires a great ability to focus on “one dimensionality”.

    Reply
  • meteechart
    August 20, 2008

    My experience (I’ve taught at 3 community colleges & 2 universities, 2 of them full-time) leads me to think it is more accurate to say that having spent large chunks of childhood and adolescence “multitasking” and in super media intense environments, many millennials are incapable of undivided concentration. Many college students are EXTREMELY challenged by old school “one dimensional” delivery methods. They are so challenged by it that some just opt to not pay attention at all.

    It is, certainly, incumbent upon higher ed faculty to understand this and to respond to it.

    However, the sad truth is that once kids make it out of college (if they do), they will have to successfully learn and interpret information in incredibly boring meetings and in dull, flat interactions with clients who don’t know what they’re talking about, etc. In short, learning to learn in boring situations is a critical skill in itself. In fact, trying to get through a focused conversation with a millennial who can’t focus on the issue at hand is one of the most boring, unstimulating things you can do, and requires a great ability to focus on “one dimensionality”.

    Reply
  • Joe
    August 20, 2008

    I enjoyed your article and would love to see a college professor test out a new ‘Millenial’ approach to teaching. However, the research that I have done on college dropout rates (male and female) have pointed directly to high tuition costs and the lack of funding.

    Reply
  • Joe
    August 20, 2008

    I enjoyed your article and would love to see a college professor test out a new ‘Millenial’ approach to teaching. However, the research that I have done on college dropout rates (male and female) have pointed directly to high tuition costs and the lack of funding.

    Reply
  • Greg
    August 20, 2008

    The thing is, accomplishing anything of substance requires an ability to focus, intently and exclusively, on that one-track process that will complete the accomplishment.

    So the ability to read a book, or to sit in class and have to pay attention to a single information stream are parallels to the ability to focus and accomplish.

    Show me a multitasking millennial who has done a great thing while multitasking. I double-dog dare you.

    Reply
  • Greg
    August 20, 2008

    The thing is, accomplishing anything of substance requires an ability to focus, intently and exclusively, on that one-track process that will complete the accomplishment.

    So the ability to read a book, or to sit in class and have to pay attention to a single information stream are parallels to the ability to focus and accomplish.

    Show me a multitasking millennial who has done a great thing while multitasking. I double-dog dare you.

    Reply
  • Digital Native
    August 20, 2008

    Great article. I think people need to keep in mind that this is an opinion piece, not a college thesis.

    Being 24, I completely agree that our age group is the transition group, with some “digitally-immersed” and others nearly illiterate.

    Reply
  • Digital Native
    August 20, 2008

    Great article. I think people need to keep in mind that this is an opinion piece, not a college thesis.

    Being 24, I completely agree that our age group is the transition group, with some “digitally-immersed” and others nearly illiterate.

    Reply
  • Tom White
    August 20, 2008

    That’s a bit strange, that you consider yourself to be on the verge between “digital native” and “digital immigrant”. I’m 38 and I consider myself to be “digital native” in that classification (I was doing assembler programming in junior high).

    I know that there’s a definite time-limit to the “digital native” idea, but I’m not sure the distinction is as simple as it’s made out to be.

    As far as the problem with males, I think the issue is more one of deep and specialized versus shallow and multifaceted. People today are realizing that deep and specialized is not something you do once in your life – it’s something you do repeatedly when faced with a changing technical culture.

    But education is definitely responding to this idea. The masters program I went through embraced this completely.

    I’ve played my share of video games, and I think this is entirely a red herring. While that does develop a few skills, so do many other activities. The primary skill of the 21st century will be attention management. I.e., dealing with reddit, twitter and the like and still focusing on (and achieving) one’s goals in life and contributing to society.

    Reply
  • Tom White
    August 20, 2008

    That’s a bit strange, that you consider yourself to be on the verge between “digital native” and “digital immigrant”. I’m 38 and I consider myself to be “digital native” in that classification (I was doing assembler programming in junior high).

    I know that there’s a definite time-limit to the “digital native” idea, but I’m not sure the distinction is as simple as it’s made out to be.

    As far as the problem with males, I think the issue is more one of deep and specialized versus shallow and multifaceted. People today are realizing that deep and specialized is not something you do once in your life – it’s something you do repeatedly when faced with a changing technical culture.

    But education is definitely responding to this idea. The masters program I went through embraced this completely.

    I’ve played my share of video games, and I think this is entirely a red herring. While that does develop a few skills, so do many other activities. The primary skill of the 21st century will be attention management. I.e., dealing with reddit, twitter and the like and still focusing on (and achieving) one’s goals in life and contributing to society.

    Reply
  • Mike
    August 20, 2008

    “Education, more than any other factor, is responsible for America’s success”

    Does the author really believe that the ability to sit still in a classroom for four years is really what is responsible for america’s success? Most people who have succeeded always face obstacles and overcome them. Overcoming the obstacles seldom is a result of their being spoonfed textbook information.

    I would argue that most of america’s success is a result of three factors. 1) Taking the best people from all over the world 2) Having a social/financial structure that allows for high mobility (and thus the achieving of success) and 3) Being in a society that is open to new ideas and can quickly adopt new technologies. Of course, having significant, cheap resources also helps a great deal.

    The weakening of america’s success is not our failure in education, but that other countries are improving their education and then, most importantly, giving those educated people the freedom and resources to do what they need to do. Mind you the education that they get from attending top schools is not what’s in the classroom but the mindset of how to get things done and achieve goals. Amazing how people start to compete once they learn how.

    -M

    Reply
  • Mike
    August 20, 2008

    “Education, more than any other factor, is responsible for America’s success”

    Does the author really believe that the ability to sit still in a classroom for four years is really what is responsible for america’s success? Most people who have succeeded always face obstacles and overcome them. Overcoming the obstacles seldom is a result of their being spoonfed textbook information.

    I would argue that most of america’s success is a result of three factors. 1) Taking the best people from all over the world 2) Having a social/financial structure that allows for high mobility (and thus the achieving of success) and 3) Being in a society that is open to new ideas and can quickly adopt new technologies. Of course, having significant, cheap resources also helps a great deal.

    The weakening of america’s success is not our failure in education, but that other countries are improving their education and then, most importantly, giving those educated people the freedom and resources to do what they need to do. Mind you the education that they get from attending top schools is not what’s in the classroom but the mindset of how to get things done and achieve goals. Amazing how people start to compete once they learn how.

    -M

    Reply
  • Zombie_king
    August 20, 2008

    Excellent read! I am of the Native generation. I watched the internet start and grow incredibly in less than a decades time. At one point we were paying $1.75 per minute to access an online gaming service called genie that would allow you to play battletech vector graphics game with other players. To my friends and I this was nothing short of miracle. Connecting with other like minded individuals. As a designer and artist professionally now I find more creativity, inspiration, learning capacity, resources, and peers online then I ever could in the classes I paid for. Upon hindsight if the internet was in full during my time as it is now I would have never gone to art school. Rather I would have saved a lifetime of debt, invested a third of the money into the resources I would ned to learn on my own. Thankfully I enjoy learning, and I can honestly say I have found and absorbed more information in my field from online sources, chats and forums than my 4 year sitting in a class room.

    Reply
  • Zombie_king
    August 20, 2008

    Excellent read! I am of the Native generation. I watched the internet start and grow incredibly in less than a decades time. At one point we were paying $1.75 per minute to access an online gaming service called genie that would allow you to play battletech vector graphics game with other players. To my friends and I this was nothing short of miracle. Connecting with other like minded individuals. As a designer and artist professionally now I find more creativity, inspiration, learning capacity, resources, and peers online then I ever could in the classes I paid for. Upon hindsight if the internet was in full during my time as it is now I would have never gone to art school. Rather I would have saved a lifetime of debt, invested a third of the money into the resources I would ned to learn on my own. Thankfully I enjoy learning, and I can honestly say I have found and absorbed more information in my field from online sources, chats and forums than my 4 year sitting in a class room.

    Reply
  • Meagan
    August 20, 2008

    While you had an interesting premise, you lost me when you somehow decided that women weren’t also being affected by the increase in technology.

    I am a girl who pretty much interacts with the world in the exact same way you do (lose TV, a huge gamer, etc), yet I completed my university program with no problems. While I will admit that there were boring classes that weren’t interactive or entertaining at all, the same can be said about life!

    There will always be people/situations/items that aren’t highly stimulating. Part of university/college is learning that you can’t eliminate these things, you have to work around them, tolerate them until your assigned task is complete. In fact a lot of post-secondary education value comes simply from dealing with idiots and learning how the world works.

    Your premise is interesting, but the sheer lack of any actual data (number of millennial men who drop out, number of women entering college) is offensive when you claim that “we” are doing it wrong.

    Reply
  • Meagan
    August 20, 2008

    While you had an interesting premise, you lost me when you somehow decided that women weren’t also being affected by the increase in technology.

    I am a girl who pretty much interacts with the world in the exact same way you do (lose TV, a huge gamer, etc), yet I completed my university program with no problems. While I will admit that there were boring classes that weren’t interactive or entertaining at all, the same can be said about life!

    There will always be people/situations/items that aren’t highly stimulating. Part of university/college is learning that you can’t eliminate these things, you have to work around them, tolerate them until your assigned task is complete. In fact a lot of post-secondary education value comes simply from dealing with idiots and learning how the world works.

    Your premise is interesting, but the sheer lack of any actual data (number of millennial men who drop out, number of women entering college) is offensive when you claim that “we” are doing it wrong.

    Reply
  • T
    August 20, 2008

    You have some good points. However, I think you miss a big one. You seem to want everything pre-processed and packaged before you ingest it (intellectually). Higher education is about getting the base theory and building up off of that. It’s the difference between eating at a restaurant with a preselected menu (web content), and being able to prepare cook your own complex meals.

    Reply
  • T
    August 20, 2008

    You have some good points. However, I think you miss a big one. You seem to want everything pre-processed and packaged before you ingest it (intellectually). Higher education is about getting the base theory and building up off of that. It’s the difference between eating at a restaurant with a preselected menu (web content), and being able to prepare cook your own complex meals.

    Reply
  • Retired
    August 20, 2008

    This musing is not intellectual.

    Reply
  • Retired
    August 20, 2008

    This musing is not intellectual.

    Reply
  • blackenheimer
    August 20, 2008

    This was a good read. I think this may have been a little heavy on the importance of video games but all of your points are true nonetheless.

    Reply
  • blackenheimer
    August 20, 2008

    This was a good read. I think this may have been a little heavy on the importance of video games but all of your points are true nonetheless.

    Reply
  • jvermont
    August 20, 2008

    perhaps the most original and insightful article I’ve read on current education trends and the implications of technology on the educational system. A great and well thought out article. Nice job.

    Reply
  • jvermont
    August 20, 2008

    perhaps the most original and insightful article I’ve read on current education trends and the implications of technology on the educational system. A great and well thought out article. Nice job.

    Reply
  • j
    August 20, 2008

    wow you sure think highly of your ability to read web2.0 sites while you watch a movie and write a crappy blog. DUAL 22 inch monitors! Wow! *rolleyes*

    Reply
  • j
    August 20, 2008

    wow you sure think highly of your ability to read web2.0 sites while you watch a movie and write a crappy blog. DUAL 22 inch monitors! Wow! *rolleyes*

    Reply
  • j
    August 20, 2008

    @zombie_king:

    no, you didnt pay 1.75 a minute to play an online game.

    Reply
  • sengan
    August 20, 2008

    I think you mistake broad for deep:

    University is not about knowing a little something about the Amazon you read from a magazine or wikipedia.

    University is about deeply understanding a subject, which is the result of study — taking time while focussing on a subject so that critical thoughts arise and can be investigated.

    Of course you can study using the internet, but when you do, you’re not “interactive and multitasking” but focussed.

    There’s nothing inherently “digital” about this, it’s how you choose to use your mind.

    Reply
  • j
    August 20, 2008

    @zombie_king:

    no, you didnt pay 1.75 a minute to play an online game.

    Reply
  • sengan
    August 20, 2008

    I think you mistake broad for deep:

    University is not about knowing a little something about the Amazon you read from a magazine or wikipedia.

    University is about deeply understanding a subject, which is the result of study — taking time while focussing on a subject so that critical thoughts arise and can be investigated.

    Of course you can study using the internet, but when you do, you’re not “interactive and multitasking” but focussed.

    There’s nothing inherently “digital” about this, it’s how you choose to use your mind.

    Reply
  • Kel
    August 20, 2008

    Excellent article which truly touches on the cause of the issue rather than the symptom. Though the number of women is slowly increasing, this was in fact, the main reason I myself did not attend college. I find more of my male friends following the same path.

    I realize many will disreguard this article purely due to the fact that they simply cannot function this way for extended periods of time but unless something changes radically in the higher education system, we will see this trend continue.
    They must reconigize this is no longer a set skill, but rather a learning style.

    Reply
  • Kel
    August 20, 2008

    Excellent article which truly touches on the cause of the issue rather than the symptom. Though the number of women is slowly increasing, this was in fact, the main reason I myself did not attend college. I find more of my male friends following the same path.

    I realize many will disreguard this article purely due to the fact that they simply cannot function this way for extended periods of time but unless something changes radically in the higher education system, we will see this trend continue.
    They must reconigize this is no longer a set skill, but rather a learning style.

    Reply
  • John Naglick
    August 20, 2008

    Why not use your multitasking ability to actually, er, learn, rather than read reddit and chat with your online friends?

    Skimming the first 3 paragraphs of a wikipedia article is not actually studying the subject. Hate to be the one to tell you this.

    I find the sexism in this article just an added indicator of your stunted intellect.

    Enjoy playing those videogames!

    Reply
  • John Naglick
    August 20, 2008

    Why not use your multitasking ability to actually, er, learn, rather than read reddit and chat with your online friends?

    Skimming the first 3 paragraphs of a wikipedia article is not actually studying the subject. Hate to be the one to tell you this.

    I find the sexism in this article just an added indicator of your stunted intellect.

    Enjoy playing those videogames!

    Reply
  • jason
    August 20, 2008

    You site the report about surgeons and while it’s true, you skipped one of the biggest correlations the study found which was that gaming gave these surgeons extensive practice in 3D to 2D hand-eye coordination, which is what is modeled in virtual worlds on your screen and essential to laparoscopic surgery. However, they already possess the most essential characteristic for their job and that is concentration. Like multitasking, concentration is also honed through practice and I could argue that it’s even a more essential skill.

    If you think 20 years with the internet is enough to change the “hardwiring” of just the males of our species then, clearly, you need to study more biology. We’re hard-wired for a lot of things but psychology has shown that handling more than 3 tasks at once causes most people’s concentration and success on any one of their multiple tasks to suffer. Simply put, you’re practiced in distraction so you can better manage it but that doesn’t mean it’s a skill.

    If anything, all this time in social isolation or contrived social activity is limiting. Anyway you slice it, to not be able to succeed in the real world is a liability. And while you’re correct that a larger proportion of entrepreneurs are male and the may be distracted and brilliant but that doesn’t mean all distracted, multitasking, male gamers are brilliant.

    Like someone else said, the decline of men in higher education is more likely an indication that the cost-benefit analysis isn’t as high for many men. No longer is it a ticket to a good paying job. You can be a plumber and do quite well. As well, you won’t have the stresses a management position so you’ll have more time to game on-line with your friends. However, you might not find the girl of your dreams because she may not be looking to marry a plumber. Your call.

    Reply
  • jason
    August 20, 2008

    You site the report about surgeons and while it’s true, you skipped one of the biggest correlations the study found which was that gaming gave these surgeons extensive practice in 3D to 2D hand-eye coordination, which is what is modeled in virtual worlds on your screen and essential to laparoscopic surgery. However, they already possess the most essential characteristic for their job and that is concentration. Like multitasking, concentration is also honed through practice and I could argue that it’s even a more essential skill.

    If you think 20 years with the internet is enough to change the “hardwiring” of just the males of our species then, clearly, you need to study more biology. We’re hard-wired for a lot of things but psychology has shown that handling more than 3 tasks at once causes most people’s concentration and success on any one of their multiple tasks to suffer. Simply put, you’re practiced in distraction so you can better manage it but that doesn’t mean it’s a skill.

    If anything, all this time in social isolation or contrived social activity is limiting. Anyway you slice it, to not be able to succeed in the real world is a liability. And while you’re correct that a larger proportion of entrepreneurs are male and the may be distracted and brilliant but that doesn’t mean all distracted, multitasking, male gamers are brilliant.

    Like someone else said, the decline of men in higher education is more likely an indication that the cost-benefit analysis isn’t as high for many men. No longer is it a ticket to a good paying job. You can be a plumber and do quite well. As well, you won’t have the stresses a management position so you’ll have more time to game on-line with your friends. However, you might not find the girl of your dreams because she may not be looking to marry a plumber. Your call.

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    In other words, the Internet has destroyed your attention span and for some reason you don’t think the generations before you also found school lectures boring. Hold the front page!

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    In other words, the Internet has destroyed your attention span and for some reason you don’t think the generations before you also found school lectures boring. Hold the front page!

    Reply
  • H
    August 20, 2008

    I too am a 21 year old male college drop out. I attended college for one year and after racking up 20k in debt I felt that the sterile, 1 way learning environment wasn’t worth me being 80k in debt for a degree. After a year of landscaping gigs and work in the service industry I realized I was just treading water, spending what I earned.

    In July my hetro-lifemate and me took out a loan and bought a foreclosed fixer-upper home at auction. Between bartending/waiting and my our office jobs (answering phones), the pair of us have been able to hold down the mortgage. When we aren’t at work we work on our house.

    Between the 2 of us we have some home improvement experience. What we don’t know we Google. How to wire electrical outlets/light fixtures, how to sweat (weld) copper piping, we are competent enough where we’ve decided to put in a second bathroom.

    The idea is we bought this run down house cheap, we will fix it up, get it appraised then refinance with a house worth 20k-40k more making our mortgage payments even smaller.

    I have grad student friends in MIT who are jealous. They’ve racked up 8 years of educational debt while we’ve started building equity the same year it became legal for us to drink.

    I’m so win.

    Reply
  • H
    August 20, 2008

    I too am a 21 year old male college drop out. I attended college for one year and after racking up 20k in debt I felt that the sterile, 1 way learning environment wasn’t worth me being 80k in debt for a degree. After a year of landscaping gigs and work in the service industry I realized I was just treading water, spending what I earned.

    In July my hetro-lifemate and me took out a loan and bought a foreclosed fixer-upper home at auction. Between bartending/waiting and my our office jobs (answering phones), the pair of us have been able to hold down the mortgage. When we aren’t at work we work on our house.

    Between the 2 of us we have some home improvement experience. What we don’t know we Google. How to wire electrical outlets/light fixtures, how to sweat (weld) copper piping, we are competent enough where we’ve decided to put in a second bathroom.

    The idea is we bought this run down house cheap, we will fix it up, get it appraised then refinance with a house worth 20k-40k more making our mortgage payments even smaller.

    I have grad student friends in MIT who are jealous. They’ve racked up 8 years of educational debt while we’ve started building equity the same year it became legal for us to drink.

    I’m so win.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 20, 2008

    I will try and respond to everyone’s comments. I appreciate your patience.

    #2, Bob – I actually graduated from Undergrad at Arizona State University with degrees from the Barrett Honors College and the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. My point is less about fancy colors and explosions and more that the content and educational experience needs to be 2 way. That’s not a ground breaking suggestion. It’s been known that people learn better when they are able to interact with the material for years.

    #3, MaxBro – Thank you for the kind words. I invite you to take a look at some of my other writings, especially those on Virtual Worlds and social networks. I agree that it has had an impact, but I also feel that in many ways we are more socially connected than ever before.

    I’ll have to look for that Eqsuire article, sounds like great information. It’s an amazing time – one of my passions is Virtual Worlds and applying video game tech to the professional world. The potential is seemingly limitless. I can’t wait to see where we are in another 10 years.

    Fantastic thoughts! Thanks for sharing.

    #4, Ugly American – It’s true that it’s changing and that’s definitely a factor. At the same time though, i’d argue that a college degree is every bit as important today as it was before…though the reasons have changed. Now it’s expected. I hear friends refer to their college degrees as “the modern high school diploma” on a regular basis.

    #5, Salmon – A very valid question. For years I’ve been stumbling across articles discussing the crisis hitting males in higher education. In the investigation that led up to this piece I reviewed a number of research articles on the subject. I invite you to access your local libraries research databases and explore a bit. That said, most of the information approaches the subject from a very different perspective as I tried to mentioned in the ADD/Video game article.

    I had the realization that led to this post less than a week and a half ago. Since then I’ve been trying to locate core census data to confirm what has been reported in various research journals. I received that information this morning.

    The primary goal of this initial post is to start a dialogue on the subject. I’m not a social psychologist or an academic researcher. I will do my best to make sure the information i discuss and provide is accurate, but frankly, the observational and conceptual side is my strong suit. To that end my primary goal is to elicit thought and to get the ball rolling.

    #6, Dekken & #7 Robert – Thank you both for your kind words and support.

    #8, Yelsgib – This is an introductory blog post exploring the concept. I appreciate the feedback, and will try and incorporate it in future writing. To answer your question as simply as possible; Why? Because I’ve experienced and seen it first hand and then had those observations confirmed by outside information and accounts. Why should you? You shouldn’t. What you should do, is consider it, compare it to your existing view of things and then do your own research. Your local public library is an amazing portal to a fantastic wealth of academic knowledge. I invite you to join me in investigating the topic and to report back what you find.

    #9, Jay – I assume by the grammar and context of your response that you’re a foreign reader. I’m not sure I completely understand your point, or you mine. The millennials have been referred to as the next great activist generation – will they live up to the charge? It’s hard to say. I’m not saying that they should abandon school. Quote the opposite, I’m stressing the importance of an education that strives to adapt to and push those it serves.

    #10, Ben – Thanks for sharing your own experiences. Don’t give up, keep pushing yourself!

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 20, 2008

    I will try and respond to everyone’s comments. I appreciate your patience.

    #2, Bob – I actually graduated from Undergrad at Arizona State University with degrees from the Barrett Honors College and the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. My point is less about fancy colors and explosions and more that the content and educational experience needs to be 2 way. That’s not a ground breaking suggestion. It’s been known that people learn better when they are able to interact with the material for years.

    #3, MaxBro – Thank you for the kind words. I invite you to take a look at some of my other writings, especially those on Virtual Worlds and social networks. I agree that it has had an impact, but I also feel that in many ways we are more socially connected than ever before.

    I’ll have to look for that Eqsuire article, sounds like great information. It’s an amazing time – one of my passions is Virtual Worlds and applying video game tech to the professional world. The potential is seemingly limitless. I can’t wait to see where we are in another 10 years.

    Fantastic thoughts! Thanks for sharing.

    #4, Ugly American – It’s true that it’s changing and that’s definitely a factor. At the same time though, i’d argue that a college degree is every bit as important today as it was before…though the reasons have changed. Now it’s expected. I hear friends refer to their college degrees as “the modern high school diploma” on a regular basis.

    #5, Salmon – A very valid question. For years I’ve been stumbling across articles discussing the crisis hitting males in higher education. In the investigation that led up to this piece I reviewed a number of research articles on the subject. I invite you to access your local libraries research databases and explore a bit. That said, most of the information approaches the subject from a very different perspective as I tried to mentioned in the ADD/Video game article.

    I had the realization that led to this post less than a week and a half ago. Since then I’ve been trying to locate core census data to confirm what has been reported in various research journals. I received that information this morning.

    The primary goal of this initial post is to start a dialogue on the subject. I’m not a social psychologist or an academic researcher. I will do my best to make sure the information i discuss and provide is accurate, but frankly, the observational and conceptual side is my strong suit. To that end my primary goal is to elicit thought and to get the ball rolling.

    #6, Dekken & #7 Robert – Thank you both for your kind words and support.

    #8, Yelsgib – This is an introductory blog post exploring the concept. I appreciate the feedback, and will try and incorporate it in future writing. To answer your question as simply as possible; Why? Because I’ve experienced and seen it first hand and then had those observations confirmed by outside information and accounts. Why should you? You shouldn’t. What you should do, is consider it, compare it to your existing view of things and then do your own research. Your local public library is an amazing portal to a fantastic wealth of academic knowledge. I invite you to join me in investigating the topic and to report back what you find.

    #9, Jay – I assume by the grammar and context of your response that you’re a foreign reader. I’m not sure I completely understand your point, or you mine. The millennials have been referred to as the next great activist generation – will they live up to the charge? It’s hard to say. I’m not saying that they should abandon school. Quote the opposite, I’m stressing the importance of an education that strives to adapt to and push those it serves.

    #10, Ben – Thanks for sharing your own experiences. Don’t give up, keep pushing yourself!

    Reply
  • Some Guy
    August 20, 2008

    #4, you got it on the first guess. If I had a dime for everyone I’ve met who got a degree and makes less than I do, I could buy decent house in most of the country.

    Reply
  • Some Guy
    August 20, 2008

    #4, you got it on the first guess. If I had a dime for everyone I’ve met who got a degree and makes less than I do, I could buy decent house in most of the country.

    Reply
  • MaxBro
    August 20, 2008

    This is a superbly written article with a lot of fine points.

    I would add that the digital habits of your average Millenial males also make engaging in a public setting such as a university more difficult now than it has been before largely because of the social aspect. It’s not easy to venture out into an unknown setting and make friends the old fashioned way when you’ve spent most of your formative years cloistered in your room playing video games (even ones where you’re interact with others online). Since the social aspect of school is a large feature, if its not appreciated or exercised, there goes one more reason for staying and shelling out 10k a year. I’d rather be on the computer surfing the web learning in my own way on my own time for a fraction of the cost.

    There was an article out recently in a major magazine (Esquire, I think) that depicted the rising rates of professional men in their 40s playing video games sometimes with adolescents online as stress relievers to their day-time jobs. It would appear that along with the classroom, the traditional suit and tie office is slowly pushing men away. It’s no surprise that you see so many young women thrive in the workplace, in an environment where you are expected to mind your p’s and q’s. How is that conducive to creative, passionate thinking? Men have always thrived in environments where they must exert some control as a matter of success or survival. The frontier, the New World, new industries, etc. Women have operated generally in more controlled, predictable environments. Is it any wonder that modern academia is a virtual anathema to the modern male?

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    You’re wrong for multiple reasons.

    The first is your assumption that a college education is passive and gives no hands-on experience. Seriously? Psychology, sociology, chemistry, biology, many fields of engineering? Please don’t tell me that “novel content delivery systems” give you more hands on experience than doing a lab, or designing a chip, or isolating proteins, or conducting your own survey with an underserved population. These systems can certainly aid those basic tasks, but in the end, sitting behind a monitor is no substitute for the real thing. You can either spend the time and money to create a gaming system that teaches somebody how to do PCR, or you could just buy a thermocycler and do the damn PCR yourself. Yeesh.

    A “passive” experience is pretty much dependent on how much you care about your education – I don’t know if you ever went to college, but college is supposed to facilitate you diving into the material. If all you do is go to lecture, and you never met with professors or did internships/co-ops/other college-sponsored activities, it’s pretty much your fault for being a lame student.

    The second is that fast paced, multi-level (what in the hell does that even mean?), interactive exchanges are always beneficial. Your characterization is misleading and not really justifiable. “Fast paced” is intelligence/experience dependent – I can confuse you in continuum mechanics whether it’s through a lecture or an interactive video game. Basically, if you’re really going to learn, you need to buckle up, pay attention and slow down, so the term “fast paced” is mostly bullshit. Moreover, if you’re going to “interact,” it needs to be with the professor itself, or through a delivery method that would take incredible resources to construct and maintain. So your remarks are lazy and selfish – sounds like you’d make the experts spend time and energy converting a college course into a “fun” video game (which in my fields are completely pointless), and that if you were to actually interact with a real person, you’d constantly interrupt him/her to say “wait hold on, I’m going to listen to a Ron Paul speech,” as if the experts are to constantly wait for you to get done with whatever distraction grabbed your attention. Part of your fight for “interactivity” means just giving validation to people who like to mindlessly wander around – moronic at best.

    (I’d like to see you provide an example of a video game replacement for any sort of biology or chemistry or engineering class. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

    The third is that college material is “dead and lifeless.” That’s probably the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever heard about college, and it reflects your lack of… I dunno, intelligence. Are you really claiming that unless something is immediately interesting, it’s not relevant to your education in a specific field? How patently absurd – you may not like being called on in class to answer a question about “theories” you were supposed to memorize, sure. But try telling your patient what’s going on in their body when you spent the last night exploring Wikipedia and reading about the Amazon, international business trends, and the history of the windshield wiper. I mean seriously dude. This is a repeat of the previous point – sometimes material is boring, can’t be made more interesting without exponentially increased effort on someone else’s part, and you just have to learn it because it’s important to know. Man up.

    I can appreciate that people can learn things on their own. I can also appreciate that people should always be working on more innovative ways to engage students and assist them in learning material. I just don’t think most people (including you) have a good sense of how much work is required to be a sufficiently competent person in many specialized fields, and how sometimes people actually have to endure boredom in order to get there. I’m guessing you don’t have that sense because (a) your current job didn’t require specialized knowledge/exp and (b) because you’re too unmotivated to apply yourself to something not-always-100%-fun.

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    You’re wrong for multiple reasons.

    The first is your assumption that a college education is passive and gives no hands-on experience. Seriously? Psychology, sociology, chemistry, biology, many fields of engineering? Please don’t tell me that “novel content delivery systems” give you more hands on experience than doing a lab, or designing a chip, or isolating proteins, or conducting your own survey with an underserved population. These systems can certainly aid those basic tasks, but in the end, sitting behind a monitor is no substitute for the real thing. You can either spend the time and money to create a gaming system that teaches somebody how to do PCR, or you could just buy a thermocycler and do the damn PCR yourself. Yeesh.

    A “passive” experience is pretty much dependent on how much you care about your education – I don’t know if you ever went to college, but college is supposed to facilitate you diving into the material. If all you do is go to lecture, and you never met with professors or did internships/co-ops/other college-sponsored activities, it’s pretty much your fault for being a lame student.

    The second is that fast paced, multi-level (what in the hell does that even mean?), interactive exchanges are always beneficial. Your characterization is misleading and not really justifiable. “Fast paced” is intelligence/experience dependent – I can confuse you in continuum mechanics whether it’s through a lecture or an interactive video game. Basically, if you’re really going to learn, you need to buckle up, pay attention and slow down, so the term “fast paced” is mostly bullshit. Moreover, if you’re going to “interact,” it needs to be with the professor itself, or through a delivery method that would take incredible resources to construct and maintain. So your remarks are lazy and selfish – sounds like you’d make the experts spend time and energy converting a college course into a “fun” video game (which in my fields are completely pointless), and that if you were to actually interact with a real person, you’d constantly interrupt him/her to say “wait hold on, I’m going to listen to a Ron Paul speech,” as if the experts are to constantly wait for you to get done with whatever distraction grabbed your attention. Part of your fight for “interactivity” means just giving validation to people who like to mindlessly wander around – moronic at best.

    (I’d like to see you provide an example of a video game replacement for any sort of biology or chemistry or engineering class. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

    The third is that college material is “dead and lifeless.” That’s probably the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever heard about college, and it reflects your lack of… I dunno, intelligence. Are you really claiming that unless something is immediately interesting, it’s not relevant to your education in a specific field? How patently absurd – you may not like being called on in class to answer a question about “theories” you were supposed to memorize, sure. But try telling your patient what’s going on in their body when you spent the last night exploring Wikipedia and reading about the Amazon, international business trends, and the history of the windshield wiper. I mean seriously dude. This is a repeat of the previous point – sometimes material is boring, can’t be made more interesting without exponentially increased effort on someone else’s part, and you just have to learn it because it’s important to know. Man up.

    I can appreciate that people can learn things on their own. I can also appreciate that people should always be working on more innovative ways to engage students and assist them in learning material. I just don’t think most people (including you) have a good sense of how much work is required to be a sufficiently competent person in many specialized fields, and how sometimes people actually have to endure boredom in order to get there. I’m guessing you don’t have that sense because (a) your current job didn’t require specialized knowledge/exp and (b) because you’re too unmotivated to apply yourself to something not-always-100%-fun.

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    H

    Can you explain how you “win” working a self-admittedly dead-end job with no real prospects? As a student of the Internet I’m sure you’ve used that miracle medium to learn that property appreciation generally keeps pace with inflation outside bubble markets. You surely know most home improvements rarely pay for themselves when flipping outside bubble markets. So assuming you make $40k (your outside estimate) in profit on your home, adding that to your low-paying job puts you where, exactly? Certainly nowhere near the annual income afforded to most with a Masters degree.

    Fail, as the kids say.

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    H

    Can you explain how you “win” working a self-admittedly dead-end job with no real prospects? As a student of the Internet I’m sure you’ve used that miracle medium to learn that property appreciation generally keeps pace with inflation outside bubble markets. You surely know most home improvements rarely pay for themselves when flipping outside bubble markets. So assuming you make $40k (your outside estimate) in profit on your home, adding that to your low-paying job puts you where, exactly? Certainly nowhere near the annual income afforded to most with a Masters degree.

    Fail, as the kids say.

    Reply
  • enoon
    August 20, 2008

    Well, how about this? If this person is so bored with education as it is, why doesn’t he do something about it?
    Become a teacher. Go through the process of actually researching and understanding educational psychology, and then actually do something to change it.
    Or would that be too hard? Hmm. That’s too bad. I wonder why you can’t succeed in the real world.

    Reply
  • enoon
    August 20, 2008

    Well, how about this? If this person is so bored with education as it is, why doesn’t he do something about it?
    Become a teacher. Go through the process of actually researching and understanding educational psychology, and then actually do something to change it.
    Or would that be too hard? Hmm. That’s too bad. I wonder why you can’t succeed in the real world.

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    As a followup, I notice you’re all about interactivity. (I’ll assume that video games are a side thing for you – not really defensible imo.) Really, though, all you want are smaller class sizes and people that teach better. Which is not really anything new, by the way.

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    As a followup, I notice you’re all about interactivity. (I’ll assume that video games are a side thing for you – not really defensible imo.) Really, though, all you want are smaller class sizes and people that teach better. Which is not really anything new, by the way.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 20, 2008

    #11, Graz – Spot on, thanks for the response!

    #12, Ford – It’s definitely a difficult situation. I often found myself forced to sit in/near the front and to actively participate if I wanted to stay engaged/retain information. It seems like perhaps the most frustrating part of the current system, is that among millennials eager to take an idea and run with it/pursue their own curiosity (after all, what’s reddit if not a spectacular tool for an ever curious mind?) you’re weighed down by the old class format. These new technologies allow us to access information of a scope previously impossible all with the click of a few mouse buttons.

    #13, Alex – I think the first step is a change in dialogue. Once it becomes more acceptable and the value of the web for DI populations starts focusing on it’s benefits people can and will readily change. Just look at the impact of the automobile 100 years ago and where we are today. The trick for DIs is, I believe, overcoming the learning curve and building a foundation.

    As an extreme case, I highly recommend friends encourage their grandparents to explore the web and virtual communities. I know of a number of 90somethings who have been able to re-invigorate their social lives and to reach out across the generation gap by mastering the web. If they can do it, I’m sure the rest of us will fair decently enough.

    #14, Freddy – You spent the energy to reply. Why not spend a little more to actually contribute?

    #15, superBadGirl – The difference in perspective, experience, and tech understanding between the generations is definitely one of the biggest obstacles. It’s also part of why I felt it was important that I make this post. The goal is to help explain the situation and to suggest it’s existence to those who might otherwise be unfamiliar.

    On females – definitely not my intent or belief at all. There are definitely a sizable number of females who have been effected, especially the early adopters. Also, things have changed significantly in the last 3 or 4 years – just look at the number of female gamers. It’s staggering. That in mind, that still leaves 10 or so years and another 5 or so years of heavy transition where males were a strong majority.

    The other consideration when approaching the subject relative to the sexes is differences in strengths. A decent portion of the Com theory we covered looked at differences in how males and females converse, interact and relate.

    #16, Junior – New? Not at all. However, there is a major difference between the immersive nature of Pong and the immersive nature of Morrow Wind. Further, as I noted – I see the introduction of a multiplayer element as significant.

    The difference between TV and YouTube?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU
    There’s more to it than just that of course, but you’re also selecting what, when, and how you watch as well as what you respond to. What about something like Seesmic?

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    You’re wrong for multiple reasons.

    The first is your assumption that a college education is passive and gives no hands-on experience. Seriously? Psychology, sociology, chemistry, biology, many fields of engineering? Please don’t tell me that “novel content delivery systems” give you more hands on experience than doing a lab, or designing a chip, or isolating proteins, or conducting your own survey with an underserved population. These systems can certainly aid those basic tasks, but in the end, sitting behind a monitor is no substitute for the real thing. You can either spend the time and money to create a gaming system that teaches somebody how to do PCR, or you could just buy a thermocycler and do the PCR yourself. Yeesh.

    A “passive” experience is pretty much dependent on how much you care about your education, by the way.

    The second is that fast paced, multi-level (what does that even mean?), interactive exchanges are always beneficial. Your characterization is misleading and not really justifiable. “Fast paced” is intelligence/experience dependent – I can confuse you in continuum mechanics whether it’s through a lecture or an interactive video game. Basically, if you’re really going to learn, you need to buckle up, pay attention and slow down, so the term “fast paced” is mostly BS. Moreover, if you’re going to “interact,” it needs to be with the professor itself, or through a delivery method that would take incredible resources to construct and maintain. So your remarks are lazy and selfish – sounds like you’d make the experts spend time and energy converting a college course into a “fun” video game (which in my fields are completely pointless), and that if you were to actually interact with a real person, you’d constantly interrupt him/her to say “wait hold on, I’m going to listen to a Ron Paul speech,” as if the experts are to constantly wait for you to get done with whatever distraction grabbed your attention. Part of your fight for “interactivity” means just giving validation to people who like to mindlessly wander around the Internet.

    (I’d like to see you provide an example of a video game replacement for any sort of biology or chemistry or engineering class. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

    The third is that college material is “dead and lifeless.” That’s probably the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever heard about college. Are you really claiming that unless something is immediately interesting, it’s not relevant to your education in a specific field? How patently absurd – you may not like being called on in class to answer a question about “theories” you were supposed to memorize, sure. But try telling your patient what’s going on in their body when you spent the last night exploring Wikipedia and reading about the Amazon, international business trends, and the history of the windshield wiper. I mean seriously dude. This is a repeat of the previous point – sometimes material is boring, can’t be made more interesting without exponentially increased effort on someone else’s part, and you just have to learn it because it’s important to know. Man up.

    I can appreciate that people can learn things on their own. I can also appreciate that people should always be working on more innovative ways to engage students and assist them in learning material. I just don’t think most people have a good sense of how much work is required to be a sufficiently competent person in many specialized fields, and how sometimes people actually have to endure boredom in order to get there.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 20, 2008

    #11, Graz – Spot on, thanks for the response!

    #12, Ford – It’s definitely a difficult situation. I often found myself forced to sit in/near the front and to actively participate if I wanted to stay engaged/retain information. It seems like perhaps the most frustrating part of the current system, is that among millennials eager to take an idea and run with it/pursue their own curiosity (after all, what’s reddit if not a spectacular tool for an ever curious mind?) you’re weighed down by the old class format. These new technologies allow us to access information of a scope previously impossible all with the click of a few mouse buttons.

    #13, Alex – I think the first step is a change in dialogue. Once it becomes more acceptable and the value of the web for DI populations starts focusing on it’s benefits people can and will readily change. Just look at the impact of the automobile 100 years ago and where we are today. The trick for DIs is, I believe, overcoming the learning curve and building a foundation.

    As an extreme case, I highly recommend friends encourage their grandparents to explore the web and virtual communities. I know of a number of 90somethings who have been able to re-invigorate their social lives and to reach out across the generation gap by mastering the web. If they can do it, I’m sure the rest of us will fair decently enough.

    #14, Freddy – You spent the energy to reply. Why not spend a little more to actually contribute?

    #15, superBadGirl – The difference in perspective, experience, and tech understanding between the generations is definitely one of the biggest obstacles. It’s also part of why I felt it was important that I make this post. The goal is to help explain the situation and to suggest it’s existence to those who might otherwise be unfamiliar.

    On females – definitely not my intent or belief at all. There are definitely a sizable number of females who have been effected, especially the early adopters. Also, things have changed significantly in the last 3 or 4 years – just look at the number of female gamers. It’s staggering. That in mind, that still leaves 10 or so years and another 5 or so years of heavy transition where males were a strong majority.

    The other consideration when approaching the subject relative to the sexes is differences in strengths. A decent portion of the Com theory we covered looked at differences in how males and females converse, interact and relate.

    #16, Junior – New? Not at all. However, there is a major difference between the immersive nature of Pong and the immersive nature of Morrow Wind. Further, as I noted – I see the introduction of a multiplayer element as significant.

    The difference between TV and YouTube?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU
    There’s more to it than just that of course, but you’re also selecting what, when, and how you watch as well as what you respond to. What about something like Seesmic?

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    You’re wrong for multiple reasons.

    The first is your assumption that a college education is passive and gives no hands-on experience. Seriously? Psychology, sociology, chemistry, biology, many fields of engineering? Please don’t tell me that “novel content delivery systems” give you more hands on experience than doing a lab, or designing a chip, or isolating proteins, or conducting your own survey with an underserved population. These systems can certainly aid those basic tasks, but in the end, sitting behind a monitor is no substitute for the real thing. You can either spend the time and money to create a gaming system that teaches somebody how to do PCR, or you could just buy a thermocycler and do the PCR yourself. Yeesh.

    A “passive” experience is pretty much dependent on how much you care about your education, by the way.

    The second is that fast paced, multi-level (what does that even mean?), interactive exchanges are always beneficial. Your characterization is misleading and not really justifiable. “Fast paced” is intelligence/experience dependent – I can confuse you in continuum mechanics whether it’s through a lecture or an interactive video game. Basically, if you’re really going to learn, you need to buckle up, pay attention and slow down, so the term “fast paced” is mostly BS. Moreover, if you’re going to “interact,” it needs to be with the professor itself, or through a delivery method that would take incredible resources to construct and maintain. So your remarks are lazy and selfish – sounds like you’d make the experts spend time and energy converting a college course into a “fun” video game (which in my fields are completely pointless), and that if you were to actually interact with a real person, you’d constantly interrupt him/her to say “wait hold on, I’m going to listen to a Ron Paul speech,” as if the experts are to constantly wait for you to get done with whatever distraction grabbed your attention. Part of your fight for “interactivity” means just giving validation to people who like to mindlessly wander around the Internet.

    (I’d like to see you provide an example of a video game replacement for any sort of biology or chemistry or engineering class. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

    The third is that college material is “dead and lifeless.” That’s probably the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever heard about college. Are you really claiming that unless something is immediately interesting, it’s not relevant to your education in a specific field? How patently absurd – you may not like being called on in class to answer a question about “theories” you were supposed to memorize, sure. But try telling your patient what’s going on in their body when you spent the last night exploring Wikipedia and reading about the Amazon, international business trends, and the history of the windshield wiper. I mean seriously dude. This is a repeat of the previous point – sometimes material is boring, can’t be made more interesting without exponentially increased effort on someone else’s part, and you just have to learn it because it’s important to know. Man up.

    I can appreciate that people can learn things on their own. I can also appreciate that people should always be working on more innovative ways to engage students and assist them in learning material. I just don’t think most people have a good sense of how much work is required to be a sufficiently competent person in many specialized fields, and how sometimes people actually have to endure boredom in order to get there.

    Reply
  • Matt Crosslin
    August 20, 2008

    I think Megan make some excellent points.

    I would also add that students have been calling school boring since at least the 1920s. Do schools need to change? Yes. Do we need to throw out the baby with the bath water? No.

    To expand on another point made above – who wants a surgeon to multitask during surgery? Who wants an airplane mechanic to multitask while doing a safety check? The truth is, most professions require some degree of one-dimensional, focused thinking. We have to learn how to do that. We also need to learn to multitask. We need both.

    Reply
  • Matt Crosslin
    August 20, 2008

    I think Megan make some excellent points.

    I would also add that students have been calling school boring since at least the 1920s. Do schools need to change? Yes. Do we need to throw out the baby with the bath water? No.

    To expand on another point made above – who wants a surgeon to multitask during surgery? Who wants an airplane mechanic to multitask while doing a safety check? The truth is, most professions require some degree of one-dimensional, focused thinking. We have to learn how to do that. We also need to learn to multitask. We need both.

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    Alex wrote:

    “after all, what’s reddit if not a spectacular tool for an ever curious mind?”

    Judging by the user response section it’s a vacuous playground for unfocused juvenile punditry. The number of substantial and relevant posts in a given thread seems to average somewhere south of 1%.

    “These new technologies allow us to access information of a scope previously impossible all with the click of a few mouse buttons.”

    The Internet does not create scope where none existed before. So the real question is whether the ability to more quickly call up accurate information online (as opposed to, say, the library of a medical university) has significant impact.

    “However, there is a major difference between the immersive nature of Pong and the immersive nature of Morrow Wind. Further, as I noted – I see the introduction of a multiplayer element as significant.”

    It may well be significant, but not in the way you suggest. Little real discourse seems to occur during these games and the ability to conduct social interactions in these games is clearly divorced from the ability to conduct social interactions in real life. You are assuming that immersion is necessarily a positive, additive quality and there is no reason to make that leap.

    “The difference between TV and YouTube?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU
    There’s more to it than just that of course, but you’re also selecting what, when, and how you watch as well as what you respond to.”

    This is another example of where your argument breaks down. Viewers have been able to select what, when and how they watch since at least the introduction of the VCR in the 1970s. YouTube makes this behavior easier than ever but to what purpose? Not even you are likely to pretend people are calling up videos of any real substance; there certainly isn’t an exploding market for distance learning on YouTube although obviously those videos exist alongside “hilarious” RickRoll clips.

    I would never complain about the newfound ability to create and broadcast personal video, but I’m afraid I have to scoff at the idea that “response” is a significant development here. Most videos uploaded to YouTube lack substance and the vast majority of viewer comments represent a sea of imbecility.

    You mistake theory for reality; it’s a problem that runs through your entire essay. We can imagine a world where instant access to information and Web 2.0 interactivity creates a far superior intellectual experience and gives rise to a wave of high-value education. But that’s simply not the reality. The reality is we have a generation of people with no attention span, who use these technologies not to improve themselves in any meaningful way or replace the institutions of higher learning but instead rely on them to feed a growing pattern of ADD by slaying dragons in one window while complaining that the latest viral video meme the teh suxx0r!! in another.

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    Alex wrote:

    “after all, what’s reddit if not a spectacular tool for an ever curious mind?”

    Judging by the user response section it’s a vacuous playground for unfocused juvenile punditry. The number of substantial and relevant posts in a given thread seems to average somewhere south of 1%.

    “These new technologies allow us to access information of a scope previously impossible all with the click of a few mouse buttons.”

    The Internet does not create scope where none existed before. So the real question is whether the ability to more quickly call up accurate information online (as opposed to, say, the library of a medical university) has significant impact.

    “However, there is a major difference between the immersive nature of Pong and the immersive nature of Morrow Wind. Further, as I noted – I see the introduction of a multiplayer element as significant.”

    It may well be significant, but not in the way you suggest. Little real discourse seems to occur during these games and the ability to conduct social interactions in these games is clearly divorced from the ability to conduct social interactions in real life. You are assuming that immersion is necessarily a positive, additive quality and there is no reason to make that leap.

    “The difference between TV and YouTube?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU
    There’s more to it than just that of course, but you’re also selecting what, when, and how you watch as well as what you respond to.”

    This is another example of where your argument breaks down. Viewers have been able to select what, when and how they watch since at least the introduction of the VCR in the 1970s. YouTube makes this behavior easier than ever but to what purpose? Not even you are likely to pretend people are calling up videos of any real substance; there certainly isn’t an exploding market for distance learning on YouTube although obviously those videos exist alongside “hilarious” RickRoll clips.

    I would never complain about the newfound ability to create and broadcast personal video, but I’m afraid I have to scoff at the idea that “response” is a significant development here. Most videos uploaded to YouTube lack substance and the vast majority of viewer comments represent a sea of imbecility.

    You mistake theory for reality; it’s a problem that runs through your entire essay. We can imagine a world where instant access to information and Web 2.0 interactivity creates a far superior intellectual experience and gives rise to a wave of high-value education. But that’s simply not the reality. The reality is we have a generation of people with no attention span, who use these technologies not to improve themselves in any meaningful way or replace the institutions of higher learning but instead rely on them to feed a growing pattern of ADD by slaying dragons in one window while complaining that the latest viral video meme the teh suxx0r!! in another.

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    (You can delete my first comment!)

    Reply
  • Peter
    August 20, 2008

    (You can delete my first comment!)

    Reply
  • Whitney
    August 20, 2008

    I agree with T, above. There’s a gigantic difference between using Wikipedia to satisfy a passing curiosity about the Amazon and “memorizing theory”. It’s the difference between information and understanding. Theory gives you the framework you need to put the information you learn into context and interpret it properly. (On top of that, most of the information online is produced by amateur authors, and varies wildly in reliability and accuracy. “Dry texts” are written, edited, and proofread by experts, and screened by a school board or accreditation board.)

    While your observations may be relevant to the successful founders of high-tech startups, I would point out that there is much more to the world than startups. Many of them turn out to be flash-in-the-pan online fads. (Remember Friendster, or Myspace?) Do they increase the sum total of human knowledge? Do they truly improve the human condition, in anything more than an incidental way? These are the true marks of a successful, productive populace and the system that educates it; not a skyrocketing stock price.

    To put it another way: Those laparoscopic surgeons may have improved their hand-eye coordination with video games, but they learned medicine in a classroom.

    Reply
  • Whitney
    August 20, 2008

    I agree with T, above. There’s a gigantic difference between using Wikipedia to satisfy a passing curiosity about the Amazon and “memorizing theory”. It’s the difference between information and understanding. Theory gives you the framework you need to put the information you learn into context and interpret it properly. (On top of that, most of the information online is produced by amateur authors, and varies wildly in reliability and accuracy. “Dry texts” are written, edited, and proofread by experts, and screened by a school board or accreditation board.)

    While your observations may be relevant to the successful founders of high-tech startups, I would point out that there is much more to the world than startups. Many of them turn out to be flash-in-the-pan online fads. (Remember Friendster, or Myspace?) Do they increase the sum total of human knowledge? Do they truly improve the human condition, in anything more than an incidental way? These are the true marks of a successful, productive populace and the system that educates it; not a skyrocketing stock price.

    To put it another way: Those laparoscopic surgeons may have improved their hand-eye coordination with video games, but they learned medicine in a classroom.

    Reply
  • Joe
    August 20, 2008

    “The skill sets utilized in video gaming are the epitome of the new interactive paradigm which the education system needs to both recognize and embrace.”

    I see…

    You like games. You think that makes you smart/edumacated.

    Good luck with that.

    Reply
  • Joe
    August 20, 2008

    “The skill sets utilized in video gaming are the epitome of the new interactive paradigm which the education system needs to both recognize and embrace.”

    I see…

    You like games. You think that makes you smart/edumacated.

    Good luck with that.

    Reply
  • digitalfemme
    August 20, 2008

    It’s a catch 22 and everyone and everything is to blame, if blame needs to be cast, which seems to be the tone of this article, more or less.

    Education:
    Granted, the education system definitely needs to change, but it’s the ENTIRE system and everything that makes up the system, including teachers and their teaching styles.
    There are few teachers that can truly motivate and inspire. Few are willing to go out on the limb and give it their all. Mostly because there are now so many rules and regs that limit a teacher’s creativity to explore how best to reach out to students. Also, it’s financial limitations.

    Technology:
    We can also blame technology. It has exponentially grown in ways no one has ever really expected. Our large institutions are having a challenging time just trying to keep up and they too are limited my budgets and old fogies that feel threatened by change.

    Men vs. Women and Vice Versa.
    While your article specifically aims at reasons for male dropouts or boys not pursuing higher education because of their need for a fast paced, interactive environment, women need that too. Women now are no longer the passive, genderized, obedient species that we were patriarchally bred from. It’s been a long struggle for women to reach full independence and autonomy in all levels of industry and we still face hurdles and closed doors that men do not have to put up with.

    I like to add to the equation that women are generally more patient than men and are more willing to work through issues, where men easily give up on. I see this all the time in different situations. The men are less patient and easily give up.

    I would also like to add to the equation that perhaps women feel that they NEED to have a higher education in order to compete in the real world whereas men feel the world is their playground. I don’t mean to sound sexist or racist but the reality is, “It’s a White Man’s world.”

    Perhaps, the mentality and attitudes of men are such that it’s easier for them to just ‘go out’ and try their hand at luck because culturally and through gender osmosis, they’ve developed that sense of “I can do whatever I want.”

    Women feel that way too, but it’s taken us awhile to feel confident about it.

    All in all, I would not place the load on the Education System to change. I feel we ALL need to adapt accordingly and responsibly to the technological changes that are affecting all of our lives in areas of personal, social, business, environmental – absolutely everything.

    Every system is interdependent on the other be it industrial or ecological.

    You are also not taking into consideration that it’s only been decade where women are prolonging their need to pro-create and opting for a career and education. The fact that the number of women in higher education has increased, I feel, is due to that fact. 15 – 20 years ago, women were still (and they still do today) give up their dreams of a career or delay their plans to have babies, raise a family or for the men in their lives, so the numbers that you are comparing need to reflect that social change.

    Your article certainly brought up some interesting issues but it also omitted some variables.

    Thank you for the opportunity to think on this topic and give my two cents worth. :o)

    Reply
  • digitalfemme
    August 20, 2008

    It’s a catch 22 and everyone and everything is to blame, if blame needs to be cast, which seems to be the tone of this article, more or less.

    Education:
    Granted, the education system definitely needs to change, but it’s the ENTIRE system and everything that makes up the system, including teachers and their teaching styles.
    There are few teachers that can truly motivate and inspire. Few are willing to go out on the limb and give it their all. Mostly because there are now so many rules and regs that limit a teacher’s creativity to explore how best to reach out to students. Also, it’s financial limitations.

    Technology:
    We can also blame technology. It has exponentially grown in ways no one has ever really expected. Our large institutions are having a challenging time just trying to keep up and they too are limited my budgets and old fogies that feel threatened by change.

    Men vs. Women and Vice Versa.
    While your article specifically aims at reasons for male dropouts or boys not pursuing higher education because of their need for a fast paced, interactive environment, women need that too. Women now are no longer the passive, genderized, obedient species that we were patriarchally bred from. It’s been a long struggle for women to reach full independence and autonomy in all levels of industry and we still face hurdles and closed doors that men do not have to put up with.

    I like to add to the equation that women are generally more patient than men and are more willing to work through issues, where men easily give up on. I see this all the time in different situations. The men are less patient and easily give up.

    I would also like to add to the equation that perhaps women feel that they NEED to have a higher education in order to compete in the real world whereas men feel the world is their playground. I don’t mean to sound sexist or racist but the reality is, “It’s a White Man’s world.”

    Perhaps, the mentality and attitudes of men are such that it’s easier for them to just ‘go out’ and try their hand at luck because culturally and through gender osmosis, they’ve developed that sense of “I can do whatever I want.”

    Women feel that way too, but it’s taken us awhile to feel confident about it.

    All in all, I would not place the load on the Education System to change. I feel we ALL need to adapt accordingly and responsibly to the technological changes that are affecting all of our lives in areas of personal, social, business, environmental – absolutely everything.

    Every system is interdependent on the other be it industrial or ecological.

    You are also not taking into consideration that it’s only been decade where women are prolonging their need to pro-create and opting for a career and education. The fact that the number of women in higher education has increased, I feel, is due to that fact. 15 – 20 years ago, women were still (and they still do today) give up their dreams of a career or delay their plans to have babies, raise a family or for the men in their lives, so the numbers that you are comparing need to reflect that social change.

    Your article certainly brought up some interesting issues but it also omitted some variables.

    Thank you for the opportunity to think on this topic and give my two cents worth. :o)

    Reply
  • Anonymous
    August 20, 2008

    Yeah, I agree.

    I think the writing is also on the wall that the degree won’t be worth much in the future. Since undergrad became ‘mandatory’ for most everyone, the quality of the degrees has been diluted a lot. College is more like high school these days. It’s a basic, mass consumption ticket that signals you haven’t gone seriously wrong in your life, but also doesn’t show anything particularly impressive about you.

    I don’t think the graduate degrees are like that, yet.

    It feels like a waste of life when you know it’s going to be taken with a grain of salt. If I were hiring people, a college degree would still put someone ahead of those without, but there’s PLENTY of room for exceptional people. I bet in 10 years college degrees will carry a lot less weight. No-one goes around saying “I graduated high school, that shows I’m a good worker” anymore – everyone expects you to have graduated high school if you want to work a reasonably good job. It just indicates your life hasn’t fallen apart in some massive way, nothing more. College is the same way – it’s a basic prereq, sure, but it’s not anything special. And with how broken education is, the reality is you’re looking to hire someone who gained real skills around the edges of their college experience.

    With no job security coming from them there’s no reason to keep worshiping paper credentials. The tickets just don’t provide the benefits they used to, partially because the education itself got watered down. Most of the rides at the carnival your academic tickets got you into have been dismantled.

    Screw it, I don’t want to bother with that old carnival; these old tickets won’t get me into the rides at the really cool new theme park being built over here. ->

    Reply
  • Anonymous
    August 20, 2008

    Yeah, I agree.

    I think the writing is also on the wall that the degree won’t be worth much in the future. Since undergrad became ‘mandatory’ for most everyone, the quality of the degrees has been diluted a lot. College is more like high school these days. It’s a basic, mass consumption ticket that signals you haven’t gone seriously wrong in your life, but also doesn’t show anything particularly impressive about you.

    I don’t think the graduate degrees are like that, yet.

    It feels like a waste of life when you know it’s going to be taken with a grain of salt. If I were hiring people, a college degree would still put someone ahead of those without, but there’s PLENTY of room for exceptional people. I bet in 10 years college degrees will carry a lot less weight. No-one goes around saying “I graduated high school, that shows I’m a good worker” anymore – everyone expects you to have graduated high school if you want to work a reasonably good job. It just indicates your life hasn’t fallen apart in some massive way, nothing more. College is the same way – it’s a basic prereq, sure, but it’s not anything special. And with how broken education is, the reality is you’re looking to hire someone who gained real skills around the edges of their college experience.

    With no job security coming from them there’s no reason to keep worshiping paper credentials. The tickets just don’t provide the benefits they used to, partially because the education itself got watered down. Most of the rides at the carnival your academic tickets got you into have been dismantled.

    Screw it, I don’t want to bother with that old carnival; these old tickets won’t get me into the rides at the really cool new theme park being built over here. ->

    Reply
  • Jack Ted
    August 20, 2008

    This is an excellent hypothesis and discussion. As any scientific hypothesis, it provides testable predictions and you demonstrate that some of those fit the model. It would be interesting to see if it holds up with more thorough data and research to back it up.

    There are certainly potential other explanations, or combinations, to explain it, some of which are mentioned in the comments. The cost/benefit ratio of post-secondary education has certainly changed. In many (most?) fields a PhD will never pay itself back over a lifetime due to the delay in entering the workforce and the minimal increase in salary it provides.

    As far as the ADHD/ADD, that is possibly true as well. I recall a story about a young woman who had such problems in grade school, and when her parents took her to a specialist, he talked to her for awhile, and put her in a dance class where she excelled. His response what “What you have is not a disabled child. What you have is a dancer.”

    However, the real measure of such disabilities is if they cause harm. Does the interactive multitasking behaviour cause added stress and health problems in these young people versus those who are more in-tune with the passive teaching approach? If not, you’ve got a great point.

    But here is another potential objection: Unlike some of the comments, women have tended to be more adept at multitasking than men. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the research on this, so perhaps it is outdated. But certainly it is in agreement with my experience.

    As a pre-Millenial (I’m 37), I find myself in a job that does require much multitasking and creating thinking, and certainly look for these skills in my hiring. Those of us in my generation that have been able to multitask in these job do seem to have done better, and I do see that skill in the younger groups I’m hiring (mostly mid-20’s).

    In short, I find this very interesting though requiring more research before you can make such conclusions. How about proposing it to some psychology researchers?

    Reply
  • Jack Ted
    August 20, 2008

    This is an excellent hypothesis and discussion. As any scientific hypothesis, it provides testable predictions and you demonstrate that some of those fit the model. It would be interesting to see if it holds up with more thorough data and research to back it up.

    There are certainly potential other explanations, or combinations, to explain it, some of which are mentioned in the comments. The cost/benefit ratio of post-secondary education has certainly changed. In many (most?) fields a PhD will never pay itself back over a lifetime due to the delay in entering the workforce and the minimal increase in salary it provides.

    As far as the ADHD/ADD, that is possibly true as well. I recall a story about a young woman who had such problems in grade school, and when her parents took her to a specialist, he talked to her for awhile, and put her in a dance class where she excelled. His response what “What you have is not a disabled child. What you have is a dancer.”

    However, the real measure of such disabilities is if they cause harm. Does the interactive multitasking behaviour cause added stress and health problems in these young people versus those who are more in-tune with the passive teaching approach? If not, you’ve got a great point.

    But here is another potential objection: Unlike some of the comments, women have tended to be more adept at multitasking than men. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the research on this, so perhaps it is outdated. But certainly it is in agreement with my experience.

    As a pre-Millenial (I’m 37), I find myself in a job that does require much multitasking and creating thinking, and certainly look for these skills in my hiring. Those of us in my generation that have been able to multitask in these job do seem to have done better, and I do see that skill in the younger groups I’m hiring (mostly mid-20’s).

    In short, I find this very interesting though requiring more research before you can make such conclusions. How about proposing it to some psychology researchers?

    Reply
  • Jonathan
    August 20, 2008

    This is quite a curious article, and I thank you for posting it to start a discussion going.

    I’d like to start off that, I’m certainly not a millennial and probably fall into the Gen X category. But that being said my main disagreement is that these technologies and multitasking etc is something new.

    Personally I learned to start coding when I was 7 (this was around 1980). and to say that games ealy on weren’t engaging is untrue. Pong was boring but space invaders wasn’t and I know many who lost several years to pac man. Frankly most games haven’t really changed that much in interactivity since galaga – in a first person shooter it’s really just back/forth/right/left shoot. It seems more immersive because of the graphics etc. but the interactivity is roughly the same.

    I play a lot online now too – but World of Warcraft hardly has anything on the MUDs of the early 90s frankly the interactivity is greatly reduced. They already had the chat functions of WOW and even more – plus if you got high enough level you could code for the game to add in whatever you wanted – you will never see Blizzard do that.

    As far a multitasking – having multiple windows open is really that special. You are only input to one at a time. And each box remembers your conversation so you don’t have to. Have the movie on in the background – could be the radio or the TV and you are back to the technological multitasking of the 1950s. So is shopping in a store that plays music video on a display, also multitasking?

    As for school, I actually share much of your dissatisfaction – but it almost always comes from the professor and the subject matter. A bad English class where the teacher asks you to write essays on newspaper opinion pieces is always going to suck. It won’t matter if it’s delivered through video game format or not.

    But for Universities. I went to three and as a male I hardly found any of them boring. The first was West Point – most people find it fun to fire grenade launcher or drive a tank in a game – but it is way way cooler in real life. And nothing really simulates the hazing and backstabing Army political culture better than actually being in the middle of it. However I did want an engineering education which was so overshadowed by military stuff that I transferred during my second year.

    I took a year break and went to Cinema at a school in San Francisco. The classes consisted of taking cameras out on location work on just about every aspect of production hands on and then having to make a film at the end of each semester to competitively audition for the next class because the major was so impacted. Not to mention the lesbians in the class that would shoot pornos and bring them into class show. Hardly a dull moment.

    But really when i finally returned to engineering school, that was the most rewarding. I had several classes with professors that tried to do everything with multimedia presentations, website stuff or integrate the class with the latest greater modeling software. The more multimedia the class was, the more the class tended to suck. The best class came at the upper levels where the professors were better, highly knowledgeable in their subject and actually had something to teach. This more than anything made the class engaging. It’s the fluff and B.S. that’s boring. Just wish there was a way to get rid of that stuff.

    I also want to mention – better than any game, web site etc. The best way to learn high level subjects are books, hands down. You can read far faster than someone can speak at you. I learn to code PHP and MySQL. In just a few weeks by going through several books – It really has nothing to do with multitasking, but your intention to really learn something and doing it. This probably the main skill I got from my engineering education – because the best classes just expected to learn most of it yourself – the professor was there to put it into perspective and answer questions. But especially when it’s something you really want to master – no flashy delivery method is going to replace that.

    Reply
  • Jonathan
    August 20, 2008

    This is quite a curious article, and I thank you for posting it to start a discussion going.

    I’d like to start off that, I’m certainly not a millennial and probably fall into the Gen X category. But that being said my main disagreement is that these technologies and multitasking etc is something new.

    Personally I learned to start coding when I was 7 (this was around 1980). and to say that games ealy on weren’t engaging is untrue. Pong was boring but space invaders wasn’t and I know many who lost several years to pac man. Frankly most games haven’t really changed that much in interactivity since galaga – in a first person shooter it’s really just back/forth/right/left shoot. It seems more immersive because of the graphics etc. but the interactivity is roughly the same.

    I play a lot online now too – but World of Warcraft hardly has anything on the MUDs of the early 90s frankly the interactivity is greatly reduced. They already had the chat functions of WOW and even more – plus if you got high enough level you could code for the game to add in whatever you wanted – you will never see Blizzard do that.

    As far a multitasking – having multiple windows open is really that special. You are only input to one at a time. And each box remembers your conversation so you don’t have to. Have the movie on in the background – could be the radio or the TV and you are back to the technological multitasking of the 1950s. So is shopping in a store that plays music video on a display, also multitasking?

    As for school, I actually share much of your dissatisfaction – but it almost always comes from the professor and the subject matter. A bad English class where the teacher asks you to write essays on newspaper opinion pieces is always going to suck. It won’t matter if it’s delivered through video game format or not.

    But for Universities. I went to three and as a male I hardly found any of them boring. The first was West Point – most people find it fun to fire grenade launcher or drive a tank in a game – but it is way way cooler in real life. And nothing really simulates the hazing and backstabing Army political culture better than actually being in the middle of it. However I did want an engineering education which was so overshadowed by military stuff that I transferred during my second year.

    I took a year break and went to Cinema at a school in San Francisco. The classes consisted of taking cameras out on location work on just about every aspect of production hands on and then having to make a film at the end of each semester to competitively audition for the next class because the major was so impacted. Not to mention the lesbians in the class that would shoot pornos and bring them into class show. Hardly a dull moment.

    But really when i finally returned to engineering school, that was the most rewarding. I had several classes with professors that tried to do everything with multimedia presentations, website stuff or integrate the class with the latest greater modeling software. The more multimedia the class was, the more the class tended to suck. The best class came at the upper levels where the professors were better, highly knowledgeable in their subject and actually had something to teach. This more than anything made the class engaging. It’s the fluff and B.S. that’s boring. Just wish there was a way to get rid of that stuff.

    I also want to mention – better than any game, web site etc. The best way to learn high level subjects are books, hands down. You can read far faster than someone can speak at you. I learn to code PHP and MySQL. In just a few weeks by going through several books – It really has nothing to do with multitasking, but your intention to really learn something and doing it. This probably the main skill I got from my engineering education – because the best classes just expected to learn most of it yourself – the professor was there to put it into perspective and answer questions. But especially when it’s something you really want to master – no flashy delivery method is going to replace that.

    Reply
  • Nick K.
    August 20, 2008

    Alex,

    Congrats on getting so many views. Right or Wrong, way to get the bloggers thinking, writing, and, inevitably, whining. You can always gauge success by the amount of people trying to take you down.

    Reply
  • Nick K.
    August 20, 2008

    Alex,

    Congrats on getting so many views. Right or Wrong, way to get the bloggers thinking, writing, and, inevitably, whining. You can always gauge success by the amount of people trying to take you down.

    Reply
  • Trip
    August 20, 2008

    Your article hit home with me as I dropped out of college to pursue an accelerated program at another school. However, I found it slightly one-sided and lacking incredibly major points. All in all I tend to agree with Dave’s assessment. Before I elaborate as to why, I would like to pose a question. How many of these, “digital natives” actually took the time to read your entire article? Consider who responded to your article and the length of response correlated to their agreement…

    I grew up playing Atari, NES, SNES and on…I’ve had more email addresses than I can count and I currently work in the computer animation industry as a department supervisor. That last phrase in lies the distinction. Despite all our multitasking prowess, at the end of the day we need to be capable of interacting one on one, face to face with actual human beings.

    Looking back I “suffered” from what is now comically called ADD or ADHD. As you mentioned, this is not a disease, and it certainly isn’t a disorder. It’s an overactive mind literally starving for more action! What I discovered was my mind moved faster than most people around me. At this point I could have assumed that everyone else in the world was wrong, but instead used some of that brain power to learn to control my mind. Thus I can interact with anyone from the geekiest of cardboard sculpting Halo weapons makers to CEO’s of age old companies who still believe in the “good ‘ol boys club.”

    I agree the world is headed to an all encompassing digital smorgasbord, however the issue I see daily from the people you describe is their obvious lack of respect for people around them. It’s not that these people are attempting to be disrespectful, it’s more to the point that they never stopped long enough to realize they should be respectful. This mentality is not new to our history; today’s technology has done nothing more than given a near limitless amount of options to satiate these minds. The unfortunate side effect is giving them an unlimited number of excuses why they don’t have to interact with the real world. Couple this with a knock on lack of parental discipline (a point I won’t dive into, but no one can argue with) and you end up with a problem.

    If we had a world full of limited attention Einsteins, we’d never accomplish anything. No one would pick up the trash, no one would grow our food etc… We would die on the keyboards, iPods and game controllers we love. I agree the educational institutions are in need of a revamp, but the “digital natives” are not exempt from change as well. They’re growing or grew up faster than previous generations expecting everything to be instant and at their finger tips. It’s time they stepped back, slowed down and learned to control themselves. They’re in for a rude awaking one day when they hit the proverbial concrete wall doing 95. Despite technology, there will always be things in life that move slow and if you ignore them, you’re no better than the system you’re preaching ignores you.

    I can still go home and absorb page after page from Wikipedia becoming an overnight pseudo-expert on the entire DC comics multiverse while listening to a podcast on thermo-dynamics. Or I can write a comprehensive dissertation on Constitutional law and its forcible removal by an Admiralty jurisdiction government seeking legal injury for the citizen. Or sit on a sales call and change a client’s entire opinion while making them think it was all their idea. That’s the real power of this type of mind. Taking raw vigor and speed and controlling it to whatever end you want. Every power in the universe is a destructive force until it is harnessed.

    I do not wish to accuse you of being unaware of these points, however I urge that you address them as well. Too many people will read this and use it as one more excuse to lazily forego their responsibility to better themselves for assuming they’re already better than everyone else. The only conceivable outcome of taking action will give them the ability to do and absorb even more than they can now. Help make a call to action, don’t aid these people in the lethargic pursuits of self-righteous obliteration! Raw ability is nothing compared to trained, disciplined proficiency!

    Cheers,
    Trip

    Reply
  • Trip
    August 20, 2008

    Your article hit home with me as I dropped out of college to pursue an accelerated program at another school. However, I found it slightly one-sided and lacking incredibly major points. All in all I tend to agree with Dave’s assessment. Before I elaborate as to why, I would like to pose a question. How many of these, “digital natives” actually took the time to read your entire article? Consider who responded to your article and the length of response correlated to their agreement…

    I grew up playing Atari, NES, SNES and on…I’ve had more email addresses than I can count and I currently work in the computer animation industry as a department supervisor. That last phrase in lies the distinction. Despite all our multitasking prowess, at the end of the day we need to be capable of interacting one on one, face to face with actual human beings.

    Looking back I “suffered” from what is now comically called ADD or ADHD. As you mentioned, this is not a disease, and it certainly isn’t a disorder. It’s an overactive mind literally starving for more action! What I discovered was my mind moved faster than most people around me. At this point I could have assumed that everyone else in the world was wrong, but instead used some of that brain power to learn to control my mind. Thus I can interact with anyone from the geekiest of cardboard sculpting Halo weapons makers to CEO’s of age old companies who still believe in the “good ‘ol boys club.”

    I agree the world is headed to an all encompassing digital smorgasbord, however the issue I see daily from the people you describe is their obvious lack of respect for people around them. It’s not that these people are attempting to be disrespectful, it’s more to the point that they never stopped long enough to realize they should be respectful. This mentality is not new to our history; today’s technology has done nothing more than given a near limitless amount of options to satiate these minds. The unfortunate side effect is giving them an unlimited number of excuses why they don’t have to interact with the real world. Couple this with a knock on lack of parental discipline (a point I won’t dive into, but no one can argue with) and you end up with a problem.

    If we had a world full of limited attention Einsteins, we’d never accomplish anything. No one would pick up the trash, no one would grow our food etc… We would die on the keyboards, iPods and game controllers we love. I agree the educational institutions are in need of a revamp, but the “digital natives” are not exempt from change as well. They’re growing or grew up faster than previous generations expecting everything to be instant and at their finger tips. It’s time they stepped back, slowed down and learned to control themselves. They’re in for a rude awaking one day when they hit the proverbial concrete wall doing 95. Despite technology, there will always be things in life that move slow and if you ignore them, you’re no better than the system you’re preaching ignores you.

    I can still go home and absorb page after page from Wikipedia becoming an overnight pseudo-expert on the entire DC comics multiverse while listening to a podcast on thermo-dynamics. Or I can write a comprehensive dissertation on Constitutional law and its forcible removal by an Admiralty jurisdiction government seeking legal injury for the citizen. Or sit on a sales call and change a client’s entire opinion while making them think it was all their idea. That’s the real power of this type of mind. Taking raw vigor and speed and controlling it to whatever end you want. Every power in the universe is a destructive force until it is harnessed.

    I do not wish to accuse you of being unaware of these points, however I urge that you address them as well. Too many people will read this and use it as one more excuse to lazily forego their responsibility to better themselves for assuming they’re already better than everyone else. The only conceivable outcome of taking action will give them the ability to do and absorb even more than they can now. Help make a call to action, don’t aid these people in the lethargic pursuits of self-righteous obliteration! Raw ability is nothing compared to trained, disciplined proficiency!

    Cheers,
    Trip

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    “You can always gauge success by the amount of people trying to take you down.”

    By this metric Creationism must surely be true!

    Reply
  • Dave
    August 20, 2008

    “You can always gauge success by the amount of people trying to take you down.”

    By this metric Creationism must surely be true!

    Reply
  • naran
    August 20, 2008

    failed to engage me
    to engage me
    engage me
    me me me me me me me ME!!!!!!!

    It is possible that the problem some of you have is that you are not willing to engage with anything not packaged in flashing lights. You wait for it to engage you, feeling no need to make an effort of your own. A form of shallowness really.

    Reply
  • naran
    August 20, 2008

    failed to engage me
    to engage me
    engage me
    me me me me me me me ME!!!!!!!

    It is possible that the problem some of you have is that you are not willing to engage with anything not packaged in flashing lights. You wait for it to engage you, feeling no need to make an effort of your own. A form of shallowness really.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 21, 2008

    Hello all! Amazing feedback. With over 60 comments here and over 120 on the reddit thread there is a lot of material for me to sort through and to try and respond to. I’m thrilled at the response and dialogue this post has sparked. It’s served its purpose as a catalyst for analysis – I look forward to working with you to explore the concepts, data, and implications in greater depth.

    Thank you all for your patience with me as I try and respond, clarify, and follow up. Wading through the information, trying to continue with the data analysis, fulfilling a number of social commitments I already had scheduled and balancing my regular work schedule (I work a 9-5 in the Mergers and Acquisitions Industry) has been exhausting. I also have a light thumb injury which is making typing painful.

    If you’ve posted a response here on the blog, I WILL be responding. It may just take a day or so. I also currently plan on a follow up post by the end of the week with the updated statistics i’ve found and clarification on several major points.

    Where I left off:
    #18, Russ – I appreciate the sentiment and assumption that that’s the case. However, I’m afraid it’s not. I’d really rather not make this about me, but to answer your question. My honors thesis is linked off of the blog roll. There’s additional information on my current profession and academic/profession success linked off of the blog. Further, in addition to the position I currently hold with a market leader in my industry, I worked for the #3 Commercial Real Estate Company internationally my Sophmore, Junior and Senior years of College. Also, I founded Fusion Virtual in February and am actively pursuing the development of a virtual world alternative/remote conferencing alternative. The last time I made less than $10 was the 2 months I worked retail in High School.

    What have you done recently?

    #19, Milwaukee – The varied learning speeds can be a major issue. Imagine if questions could be asked throughout the course of the lecture through chat and answered in real time b the professor.

    #20, Meteechart – Multitasking has become a dirty word, especially among followers of the lifehacker, T4HWW and others. For that reason it seems as though a lot of individuals are mistaking my intent (not you specifically). Fundamentally, I’m talking about using modern technology to connect, modernize and enrich the educational experience. I’m advocating a modern version of the classic master/apprentice format only facilitated on a mass scale.

    I’m not advocating the complete replacement of the classic structure, rather updating it to reflect revelations about how millennails interact and how the technology driving the future has changed the way we socialize, do business, and learn.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. My question for you is, at what point does the education cease to become about finding what works best for and educates the student, and become what perpetuates what’s comfortable and what we have historically relied upon?

    #21, Joe – I’d love to see any information you have available. You can e-mail it to me at alex@virtualwayfarer.com.

    #22, Greg – You’ve missed the point. It’s not about multi-tasking. This is about how millennials relate to the world around them. You can call it multi-tasking, or you can call it being digitally inquisitive. It doesn’t matter if the individual is focusing all of their energy on one piece of information or twenty. What is relevant is how the individual relates to that material. My point is that the MG relates in a very hands on fashion. It’s not enough for Millennials to just be told about the box. They want to see it, smell it, touch it, and talk to it. Which is a richer learning experiene?

    The whole point is that these individuals can focus when need be/energized/invested in the concept.

    Why do you like Reddit? For most of those using the site, it’s about the diversity of content the site provides. It takes obscure information, allows users access and a degree of ownership and investment, and then brings the relevant data to the surface. In some ways the same things that make Reddit such a powerful research and information tool are what is needed in public education.

    #24, Digital Native – Thanks. There definitely seems to be a very wide perspective gap apparent in the comments, largely – it seems – along generational lines.

    #25, Tom – Great thoughts, thanks for contributing! It’s all so fresh and new that defining it is extremely difficult. I view the web as a major component of the digital native/immigrant classification. I started on the computer when I was 6. It wasn’t until 96 or 97 I branched into web based pursuits. When I compare that to a recent story my roommate shared with me (1st grade teacher) about a co-workers 8 month old daughter who has a video game she plays (she can’t talk yet, and is still working on standing) I believe there is a very powerful difference in the way those individuals will relate to the world and information and how we relate to it.

    When I say multi-tasking the ability to handle, tackle, sort, and respond to and filter what you’ve classified as attention management is more or less what i’m actually talking about. As far as video games as a tool – I developed a working understanding of most of the theories covered in my communication courses while still in high school because of time spent in Everquest. Similarly, I developed a working knowledge of market forces, supply, demand, etc. through the in-game economy. I have also developed a highly accurate understanding of corporate behavior/growth patterns and social politics through my time operating a gaming guild. My point is that when we hear the word game we shut down. If we strip away the dragons and elves what can we learn and apply to the educational system to make it more powerful and effective?

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 20, 2008

    Hello all! Amazing feedback. With over 60 comments here and over 120 on the reddit thread there is a lot of material for me to sort through and to try and respond to. I’m thrilled at the response and dialogue this post has sparked. It’s served its purpose as a catalyst for analysis – I look forward to working with you to explore the concepts, data, and implications in greater depth.

    Thank you all for your patience with me as I try and respond, clarify, and follow up. Wading through the information, trying to continue with the data analysis, fulfilling a number of social commitments I already had scheduled and balancing my regular work schedule (I work a 9-5 in the Mergers and Acquisitions Industry) has been exhausting. I also have a light thumb injury which is making typing painful.

    If you’ve posted a response here on the blog, I WILL be responding. It may just take a day or so. I also currently plan on a follow up post by the end of the week with the updated statistics i’ve found and clarification on several major points.

    Where I left off:
    #18, Russ – I appreciate the sentiment and assumption that that’s the case. However, I’m afraid it’s not. I’d really rather not make this about me, but to answer your question. My honors thesis is linked off of the blog roll. There’s additional information on my current profession and academic/profession success linked off of the blog. Further, in addition to the position I currently hold with a market leader in my industry, I worked for the #3 Commercial Real Estate Company internationally my Sophmore, Junior and Senior years of College. Also, I founded Fusion Virtual in February and am actively pursuing the development of a virtual world alternative/remote conferencing alternative. The last time I made less than $10 was the 2 months I worked retail in High School.

    What have you done recently?

    #19, Milwaukee – The varied learning speeds can be a major issue. Imagine if questions could be asked throughout the course of the lecture through chat and answered in real time b the professor.

    #20, Meteechart – Multitasking has become a dirty word, especially among followers of the lifehacker, T4HWW and others. For that reason it seems as though a lot of individuals are mistaking my intent (not you specifically). Fundamentally, I’m talking about using modern technology to connect, modernize and enrich the educational experience. I’m advocating a modern version of the classic master/apprentice format only facilitated on a mass scale.

    I’m not advocating the complete replacement of the classic structure, rather updating it to reflect revelations about how millennails interact and how the technology driving the future has changed the way we socialize, do business, and learn.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. My question for you is, at what point does the education cease to become about finding what works best for and educates the student, and become what perpetuates what’s comfortable and what we have historically relied upon?

    #21, Joe – I’d love to see any information you have available. You can e-mail it to me at alex@virtualwayfarer.com.

    #22, Greg – You’ve missed the point. It’s not about multi-tasking. This is about how millennials relate to the world around them. You can call it multi-tasking, or you can call it being digitally inquisitive. It doesn’t matter if the individual is focusing all of their energy on one piece of information or twenty. What is relevant is how the individual relates to that material. My point is that the MG relates in a very hands on fashion. It’s not enough for Millennials to just be told about the box. They want to see it, smell it, touch it, and talk to it. Which is a richer learning experiene?

    The whole point is that these individuals can focus when need be/energized/invested in the concept.

    Why do you like Reddit? For most of those using the site, it’s about the diversity of content the site provides. It takes obscure information, allows users access and a degree of ownership and investment, and then brings the relevant data to the surface. In some ways the same things that make Reddit such a powerful research and information tool are what is needed in public education.

    #24, Digital Native – Thanks. There definitely seems to be a very wide perspective gap apparent in the comments, largely – it seems – along generational lines.

    #25, Tom – Great thoughts, thanks for contributing! It’s all so fresh and new that defining it is extremely difficult. I view the web as a major component of the digital native/immigrant classification. I started on the computer when I was 6. It wasn’t until 96 or 97 I branched into web based pursuits. When I compare that to a recent story my roommate shared with me (1st grade teacher) about a co-workers 8 month old daughter who has a video game she plays (she can’t talk yet, and is still working on standing) I believe there is a very powerful difference in the way those individuals will relate to the world and information and how we relate to it.

    When I say multi-tasking the ability to handle, tackle, sort, and respond to and filter what you’ve classified as attention management is more or less what i’m actually talking about. As far as video games as a tool – I developed a working understanding of most of the theories covered in my communication courses while still in high school because of time spent in Everquest. Similarly, I developed a working knowledge of market forces, supply, demand, etc. through the in-game economy. I have also developed a highly accurate understanding of corporate behavior/growth patterns and social politics through my time operating a gaming guild. My point is that when we hear the word game we shut down. If we strip away the dragons and elves what can we learn and apply to the educational system to make it more powerful and effective?

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 21, 2008

    #25, Mike – Do I? No. I differentiate between education and institution. That said, when education and institution line up and work together amazing things happen and fantastic centers of mentorship, intellectual debate, and superstores of information are created. My question is, how do we overcome the obstacles of pure institution and re-introduce more education?

    Interestingly, you’re interpretation of my claim is the exact opposite of that held and brought up by other commentators. You’ve interpreted my comments as advocating for more seat time in classrooms, while others respondents have similarly interpreted this post as advocating the abolition of that very practice in preference of the belief that seat time does in fact constitution education. Perhaps this, more than anything helps re-affirm my point which falls in the middle of both arguments.

    I agree with your 3 points – excellent contributions. On Americas success, I disagree somewhat. Look at our abysmal national IQ. With an average IQ of 99 some 50% of Americans have an IQ somewhere, potentially significantly lower than 100. That’s astounding. Especially when facing off against countries (Asia/Scandinavia)who boast AVERAGE IQ’s 5-7 points higher. My question is where have we miss-stepped?

    #26, Zombie_King – Excellent information and affirmation Zombie. Appreciate the thoughts!

    #27, Meagan – This seems to be a common misconception among female readers and was not my intent or implication what-so-ever. Let me explain a bit about the background. The status quo dialogue up until this post has revolved around differences in the way men and women communicate and learn. The main premise has been that the large numbers of women in higher education and the decreasing numbers of men is due to an inherent differences in the sexes.

    My point is that the two are not related. At least not in a direct sense. Women are not pushing men out of higher education. Rather women are excelling in higher education, while men are encountering a separate obstacle. My premise is that, that obstacle is tied to males early adoption of tech in the 90s and early 00s. Something, that you’ll note I state has shifted in recent years. It’s for that reason that as young, female, digital natives catch up to males en mass our whole youth population will be effected, not just men.

    I’m male, and I made it through college with soaring colors. Yet, I still feel that the concepts outlined in this post apply to me every bit as much as many others who didn’t push through.

    On the statistical information – as I also mentioned at the bottom of the post i’ve been trying to track down core data. Unfortunatly, it’s turned out to be rather difficult. I have enrollment figures finally and am in the process of trying to find year by year population projections (instead of the 90/00) broke out by sex to run calculations.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    #28, T – Thanks T! I have to disagree completely though about the pre-processed part. I want the exact opposite. I would say the existing system has it pre-packaged and delivers it in a take it or leave it format. I’m talking about a 2 way exchange that allows the student to go through the very steps that teach you how to cook the meal working with a master chef. The give in take, questions, experimentation, and incremental building of understanding based on true exploration of concepts.

    29, Retired – I’m afraid neither is your comment. Next time, please contribute.

    30, Blackenheimer – Thanks for the feedback. It’s very possible, one of my passions is virtual worlds and the impact of video game tech on the business world and our social behavior (see thesis as an example on the blogroll) so i’m sure that is reflected in my ideology. That’s a large part of why i’m so eager to see this subject discussed and debated by individuals from all backgrounds and ideologies.

    #31, jvermont – Thank you for the wonderful comment and praise.

    #32/33 – J – This post has been written for a wide audience. Some of my readers barely extend their web use beyond checking e-mail. For others that information is childsplay. On the other hand, I’m glad you made it that far through the post. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 20, 2008

    #25, Mike – Do I? No. I differentiate between education and institution. That said, when education and institution line up and work together amazing things happen and fantastic centers of mentorship, intellectual debate, and superstores of information are created. My question is, how do we overcome the obstacles of pure institution and re-introduce more education?

    Interestingly, you’re interpretation of my claim is the exact opposite of that held and brought up by other commentators. You’ve interpreted my comments as advocating for more seat time in classrooms, while others respondents have similarly interpreted this post as advocating the abolition of that very practice in preference of the belief that seat time does in fact constitution education. Perhaps this, more than anything helps re-affirm my point which falls in the middle of both arguments.

    I agree with your 3 points – excellent contributions. On Americas success, I disagree somewhat. Look at our abysmal national IQ. With an average IQ of 99 some 50% of Americans have an IQ somewhere, potentially significantly lower than 100. That’s astounding. Especially when facing off against countries (Asia/Scandinavia)who boast AVERAGE IQ’s 5-7 points higher. My question is where have we miss-stepped?

    #26, Zombie_King – Excellent information and affirmation Zombie. Appreciate the thoughts!

    #27, Meagan – This seems to be a common misconception among female readers and was not my intent or implication what-so-ever. Let me explain a bit about the background. The status quo dialogue up until this post has revolved around differences in the way men and women communicate and learn. The main premise has been that the large numbers of women in higher education and the decreasing numbers of men is due to an inherent differences in the sexes.

    My point is that the two are not related. At least not in a direct sense. Women are not pushing men out of higher education. Rather women are excelling in higher education, while men are encountering a separate obstacle. My premise is that, that obstacle is tied to males early adoption of tech in the 90s and early 00s. Something, that you’ll note I state has shifted in recent years. It’s for that reason that as young, female, digital natives catch up to males en mass our whole youth population will be effected, not just men.

    I’m male, and I made it through college with soaring colors. Yet, I still feel that the concepts outlined in this post apply to me every bit as much as many others who didn’t push through.

    On the statistical information – as I also mentioned at the bottom of the post i’ve been trying to track down core data. Unfortunatly, it’s turned out to be rather difficult. I have enrollment figures finally and am in the process of trying to find year by year population projections (instead of the 90/00) broke out by sex to run calculations.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    #28, T – Thanks T! I have to disagree completely though about the pre-processed part. I want the exact opposite. I would say the existing system has it pre-packaged and delivers it in a take it or leave it format. I’m talking about a 2 way exchange that allows the student to go through the very steps that teach you how to cook the meal working with a master chef. The give in take, questions, experimentation, and incremental building of understanding based on true exploration of concepts.

    29, Retired – I’m afraid neither is your comment. Next time, please contribute.

    30, Blackenheimer – Thanks for the feedback. It’s very possible, one of my passions is virtual worlds and the impact of video game tech on the business world and our social behavior (see thesis as an example on the blogroll) so i’m sure that is reflected in my ideology. That’s a large part of why i’m so eager to see this subject discussed and debated by individuals from all backgrounds and ideologies.

    #31, jvermont – Thank you for the wonderful comment and praise.

    #32/33 – J – This post has been written for a wide audience. Some of my readers barely extend their web use beyond checking e-mail. For others that information is childsplay. On the other hand, I’m glad you made it that far through the post. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
  • Going My Own Way
    August 21, 2008

    I’m going to have to call BS on this one. These proclamations seem quite similar to those made at the advent of TV, ala Marshall McLuhan & Alvin Toffler- calling for the total destruction of Western Civilization, etc, etc.

    The real meaning of this article is an apology.

    An apology for the absurd gender bias that had first begun in the 60s and has become so utterly exaggerated we are ‘medicating’ males who fail to adapt to a system that is designed to de-privilege them in just about any and every way imaginable. Girls are constantly told, often by the females who dominate the staff of state schools, that they are smarter and more suited for ‘intellectual pursuits’ (even though all objective measurements show that women are poorly suited for and lack interest in engineering disciplines). This is done in the name of ‘compensation’ for a long history of imposed bias, if not conspiracy, against all women-kind.

    As these forces continue to expand their boundaries into family, workplace, classroom, military, etc. their program becomes far more visible and obvious- the total corruption of our basic concepts of family. For what kind of family is possible for a women who spends her life until age 28 in high school, undergrad, and post grad education, with a debt of over $100k, and then expects it to be feasible to give birth and raise a family, which typically takes a full time dedication of 10 years. The ever increasing disappointment of the modern Western Woman is no statistical anomaly.

    None of these obvious facts are ever reported, much less the long laundry list of obvious casualties in the realms of child behavior, jurisprudence, even economics (is it economical to state-fund the advanced education of women who then give it all up in favor of motherhood?).

    I feel the wave is about to break… there are groups propping up who are getting louder and louder with regards to these subjects. See ‘Men’s rights movement’ and ‘Men Going Their Own Way’.

    Reply
  • Going My Own Way
    August 20, 2008

    I’m going to have to call BS on this one. These proclamations seem quite similar to those made at the advent of TV, ala Marshall McLuhan & Alvin Toffler- calling for the total destruction of Western Civilization, etc, etc.

    The real meaning of this article is an apology.

    An apology for the absurd gender bias that had first begun in the 60s and has become so utterly exaggerated we are ‘medicating’ males who fail to adapt to a system that is designed to de-privilege them in just about any and every way imaginable. Girls are constantly told, often by the females who dominate the staff of state schools, that they are smarter and more suited for ‘intellectual pursuits’ (even though all objective measurements show that women are poorly suited for and lack interest in engineering disciplines). This is done in the name of ‘compensation’ for a long history of imposed bias, if not conspiracy, against all women-kind.

    As these forces continue to expand their boundaries into family, workplace, classroom, military, etc. their program becomes far more visible and obvious- the total corruption of our basic concepts of family. For what kind of family is possible for a women who spends her life until age 28 in high school, undergrad, and post grad education, with a debt of over $100k, and then expects it to be feasible to give birth and raise a family, which typically takes a full time dedication of 10 years. The ever increasing disappointment of the modern Western Woman is no statistical anomaly.

    None of these obvious facts are ever reported, much less the long laundry list of obvious casualties in the realms of child behavior, jurisprudence, even economics (is it economical to state-fund the advanced education of women who then give it all up in favor of motherhood?).

    I feel the wave is about to break… there are groups propping up who are getting louder and louder with regards to these subjects. See ‘Men’s rights movement’ and ‘Men Going Their Own Way’.

    Reply
  • Julian Morrison
    August 21, 2008

    You know, physically going to school is usually optional as a means to get education (and there are hacks even in places where it isn’t). The alternative, “digital native” method of self education is called “unschooling” and it’s a very good fit for the Wikipedia-browsing generation.

    Reply
  • Julian Morrison
    August 21, 2008

    You know, physically going to school is usually optional as a means to get education (and there are hacks even in places where it isn’t). The alternative, “digital native” method of self education is called “unschooling” and it’s a very good fit for the Wikipedia-browsing generation.

    Reply
  • Are Your Marketing Strategies One-Dimensional? « Recruiting Millennials in Higher Education
  • H
    August 21, 2008

    Dave

    The conventional jobs I work are strictly for money and are indeed dead end. However what I do with the my income makes all the difference. Like I said in my previous comment when I dropped out I was adrift, spending what I earned, treading life’s waters.

    The money I earn pays my bills/living expenses, buys me building materials and gets invested. I deposit 3k to 4.5k a year into an IRA I’ve opened up. With compound interest by the time I’m 50 I’ll have a million dollars, perfect for retirement.

    The building materials is another investment. This house was purchased in July and will be complete by the end of November. Yes, the property value rises/falls with inflation, no loss/gain there. And the building materials cost the same as a general contractor would bill you for. I make my money on labor. I put in 3-6 hours a weekday and 16-24 hours over the weekends.

    You are also correct in stating that most home improvement projects don’t pay for themselves. However, most home improvement projects are given to contractors. 3 laborers at $10 for 8 hours of work is $240 a day this excludes the contractor fees.

    You are also right in regards to how much money I’ll be making when I sell this house. 40k isn’t that much. However, after this project is done there is a choice to be made. I can sit on it for 2 years to avoid paying capital gains tax. Or do I take out second mortgage (before 2 years of ownership) and buy a second house while listing my finished home with a real estate agent. Regardless of which option I choose my bankroll will grow allowing me to put more money down and get a bigger and better house. The more valuable the house (location, sq. ft., schools) will make the materials and labor I put in it worth more. Adding a bathroom to a 70k home is valued less than adding one to a 150k home. So a snowball effect will take place as I upgrade from house to house.

    Outside of my mortgage I have zero debt. I have a credit card I pay off every month, I own my car and I pay 4 bills (water, electric, internet and cell phone). I’ve installed baseboard heat but I do not intend on using it (installed for resale). We are putting in a Defiant wood stove this weekend and I just finished stacking 4 chords of wood.

    So yes a masters might earn more than my meager 20k I make on my dead end jobs. But how much debt must one take on to get that glorious degree? Furthermore how much longer must I study and attend school (something I don’t enjoy doing) for 3 more years? 4, 5, 6 years? No thanks, give me a hammer and nails and let me work for myself. I was not sold on the belief that college comes after highs school. College is a scam to give you debt and the education to take on a higher paying job. Once you have that debt you’re in for the long haul. Scared to lose your job and have the bill collectors come knocking people are duped into this.

    America was built by do it yourselfers. Hardworking individuals, like myself, who were unhappy where they were and decided to do something about it. They did not have diplomas or a masters. They took great risks (crossing the Atlantic or dropping out of college and not following the crowd) leaving everything they knew was the norm to venture into an unknown world filled with opportunity.

    I’m (still) so win. I took a risk.

    I also like this idea…

    http://wsj.com/article/SB121858688764535107.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    Reply
  • H
    August 21, 2008

    Dave

    The conventional jobs I work are strictly for money and are indeed dead end. However what I do with the my income makes all the difference. Like I said in my previous comment when I dropped out I was adrift, spending what I earned, treading life’s waters.

    The money I earn pays my bills/living expenses, buys me building materials and gets invested. I deposit 3k to 4.5k a year into an IRA I’ve opened up. With compound interest by the time I’m 50 I’ll have a million dollars, perfect for retirement.

    The building materials is another investment. This house was purchased in July and will be complete by the end of November. Yes, the property value rises/falls with inflation, no loss/gain there. And the building materials cost the same as a general contractor would bill you for. I make my money on labor. I put in 3-6 hours a weekday and 16-24 hours over the weekends.

    You are also correct in stating that most home improvement projects don’t pay for themselves. However, most home improvement projects are given to contractors. 3 laborers at $10 for 8 hours of work is $240 a day this excludes the contractor fees.

    You are also right in regards to how much money I’ll be making when I sell this house. 40k isn’t that much. However, after this project is done there is a choice to be made. I can sit on it for 2 years to avoid paying capital gains tax. Or do I take out second mortgage (before 2 years of ownership) and buy a second house while listing my finished home with a real estate agent. Regardless of which option I choose my bankroll will grow allowing me to put more money down and get a bigger and better house. The more valuable the house (location, sq. ft., schools) will make the materials and labor I put in it worth more. Adding a bathroom to a 70k home is valued less than adding one to a 150k home. So a snowball effect will take place as I upgrade from house to house.

    Outside of my mortgage I have zero debt. I have a credit card I pay off every month, I own my car and I pay 4 bills (water, electric, internet and cell phone). I’ve installed baseboard heat but I do not intend on using it (installed for resale). We are putting in a Defiant wood stove this weekend and I just finished stacking 4 chords of wood.

    So yes a masters might earn more than my meager 20k I make on my dead end jobs. But how much debt must one take on to get that glorious degree? Furthermore how much longer must I study and attend school (something I don’t enjoy doing) for 3 more years? 4, 5, 6 years? No thanks, give me a hammer and nails and let me work for myself. I was not sold on the belief that college comes after highs school. College is a scam to give you debt and the education to take on a higher paying job. Once you have that debt you’re in for the long haul. Scared to lose your job and have the bill collectors come knocking people are duped into this.

    America was built by do it yourselfers. Hardworking individuals, like myself, who were unhappy where they were and decided to do something about it. They did not have diplomas or a masters. They took great risks (crossing the Atlantic or dropping out of college and not following the crowd) leaving everything they knew was the norm to venture into an unknown world filled with opportunity.

    I’m (still) so win. I took a risk.

    I also like this idea…

    http://wsj.com/article/SB121858688764535107.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    Reply
  • Glenn Jimerson
    August 21, 2008

    I think you’re right in the idea that traditional education moves at a much slower pace than the students are used to interacting with the world. I’m a late bloomer and started using the internet at 14. After years of on-demand everything, the pace information has to be delivered has increased exponentially otherwise I lose interest. Take for instance CNN. Like a classroom the information is delivered mostly via what the newscaster says with some graphics and video snippets in the background. The Internet age has trained my mind to move so much faster than the newscaster can speak. Add to that the extraneous info I don’t want to hear about and the inability to skip ahead as I would do in an Internet based transaction makes for a very disinterested viewer. So what do I do? I find a medium that moves at my pace. I think kids are experiencing the exact same thing.

    It makes sense that if the demographics online skew male thus acting as the canary in the coal mine. I expect that the gender gap will decrease quickly and this type of phenomena will also sprout up in the older population 60+ since they are adopting the Internet faster than any other group.

    Reply
  • Glenn Jimerson
    August 21, 2008

    I think you’re right in the idea that traditional education moves at a much slower pace than the students are used to interacting with the world. I’m a late bloomer and started using the internet at 14. After years of on-demand everything, the pace information has to be delivered has increased exponentially otherwise I lose interest. Take for instance CNN. Like a classroom the information is delivered mostly via what the newscaster says with some graphics and video snippets in the background. The Internet age has trained my mind to move so much faster than the newscaster can speak. Add to that the extraneous info I don’t want to hear about and the inability to skip ahead as I would do in an Internet based transaction makes for a very disinterested viewer. So what do I do? I find a medium that moves at my pace. I think kids are experiencing the exact same thing.

    It makes sense that if the demographics online skew male thus acting as the canary in the coal mine. I expect that the gender gap will decrease quickly and this type of phenomena will also sprout up in the older population 60+ since they are adopting the Internet faster than any other group.

    Reply
  • Jonathan Pfeiffer
    August 21, 2008

    Thanks for delving into this issue, Alex. It’s pretty important. I consider myself to be a digital native, but I also go to great lengths — like regularly driving two hundred miles per week — to be in the presence of professors who are wiser than I am. And yes, these interactions often consist of three hours of dry lecture. But I discipline myself to benefit as much as possible from those interactions, because I know they are a great privilege. Good educators can sense when you are truly trying to learn. Few things are more fulfilling than giving someone three hours of undivided attention, raising your hand, and then having him look straight into your eyes with a sense of compassion as he helps you to understand the meaning of life. (Granted, I have been fortunate enough to associate with exceptionally good instructors.) These are opportunities I will miss when, after I leave graduate school behind, they will no longer be available to me.

    Reply
  • Jonathan Pfeiffer
    August 21, 2008

    Thanks for delving into this issue, Alex. It’s pretty important. I consider myself to be a digital native, but I also go to great lengths — like regularly driving two hundred miles per week — to be in the presence of professors who are wiser than I am. And yes, these interactions often consist of three hours of dry lecture. But I discipline myself to benefit as much as possible from those interactions, because I know they are a great privilege. Good educators can sense when you are truly trying to learn. Few things are more fulfilling than giving someone three hours of undivided attention, raising your hand, and then having him look straight into your eyes with a sense of compassion as he helps you to understand the meaning of life. (Granted, I have been fortunate enough to associate with exceptionally good instructors.) These are opportunities I will miss when, after I leave graduate school behind, they will no longer be available to me.

    Reply
  • Jonathan Pfeiffer
    August 21, 2008

    You might be interested in this: “Better Learning Through Video Games”. My old boss, Andrew Pratt, just posted it today. He discusses Congressional funding issues for the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, which seems to be right up your alley.

    Reply
  • Jonathan Pfeiffer
    August 21, 2008

    You might be interested in this: “Better Learning Through Video Games”. My old boss, Andrew Pratt, just posted it today. He discusses Congressional funding issues for the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, which seems to be right up your alley.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 22, 2008

    #34, Sengan – Thanks for your thoughts, I have to disagree though. A trade skill is in essence what you’re describing. College is the next step towards a general education, and University by it’s very composition and nature is actually about a broad education. It’s a combination of colleges, offering education on a more general set of subject matter than a 1 on 1 trade skill or apprenticeship.

    #35, Kel – Wonderful contribution. Thank you.

    #36, John – Did you read the entire article? Sexism? If anything I’m arguing the exact opposite. If you want a case of true sexism go discuss the status quo explanation for the decrease in males and disproportionate representation. I’ve presented a hypothesis about an issue that currently effects men more than women, but explicitly stated that it will effect women to the same extent and soon.

    It’s a shame you missed the entire point of the article. The beauty of reddit and other similar tools is that it can be used to gain access to obscure – but useful information. I’ve found 100% valid and reputable pieces explaining US economics and the global economy from an international perspective not even mentioned in the US discourse. I’ve learned about the 5+ catastrophic extinctions that have occurred on earth beyond the one that effected the dinosaurs and how the genetic scarring and evolutionary response to those disasters is currently used to help heart attack victims. These are just two small examples. Similar pieces of information are available on a daily basis.

    What did you learn today?

    #37, Jason – Thanks for the comment. With respect to your first comment – I have to say, it looks like you completely missed my point. I’m not suggesting we do away with the entire system, far from it. I’m not suggesting we obliterate study time and the learning environment as it exists today. I’m suggesting we modernize it, make it more hands on, and more immersive. That said, to respond to your concentration point – have you ever watched a high end MMOG raid? Sometimes as many as 80+ people who have never met face to face before, interacting through a virtual interface, spending literally hours of dedicated, precise, coordinated movements to in some cases complete 1 task – all in the name of fun. Take that passion, take that level of engagement, take THAT level of concentration and apply it to a passion for academics and you’ll have something.

    To borrow an old quote – during a philosophy class the professor asked, “What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?” from a slightly groggy student in the back of the class the answer was given, “Don’t know, Don’t care” THAT is today’s academic environment. THAT is what we need to fix.

    On your second point – where did I mention biology? This hypothesis is purely sociological. With respect to your multitasking comments please review my previous comment responses on that subject.

    Point III – Let’s use me as an example, many of the skills i learned in the virtual world have been immensely useful in the real world and helped me succeed. You make the implication that somehow one results in a failure to succeed in the real world. Yet, I was a gamer, I was even an 8 year guild leader. Yet I can say with near confidence that I was probably better socially connected in College (and may very well still be) than you. By your logic that would somehow make your lack of virtual experience a liability, would it not?

    “The decline of men in higher education is more likely an indication that the cost-benefit analysis isn’t as high for many men.”

    This is my whole point. It’s not an argument against it. It’s an argument for it. WHY, WHY is the cost-benefit decreasing for men and how do we fix the problem?

    The stereotypical assumptions in your last paragraph are a shame. The average age of a gamer is 28. Further, 1 in 8 people in serious romantic relationships (even higher now it’s an old figure) met online. Beyond that gamers are typically a significantly more intellectual and well educated demographic than non-gamers. If we’re talking stereotypes, don’t forget the other one. The jock that bloomed in high school usually wilts shortly there after. The geek/nerds are the ones that starts slow and finishes big. That said – this doesn’t really help us get to the truth of anything, does it? It’s just another stupid stereotype.

    #38, Dave – Apparently you missed the part of the historic education where you developed an attention span. Looks like you failed to read the entire article, or at least to pay attention long enough to get the point.

    #39, H – Congratulations on pursuing the American dream. Good luck with your entrepreneurial endeavors.

    #40 – My response.

    #41, Some Guy – There’s money, there’s happiness, and then there’s your personal drive as an individual. You are the ultimate enabler. Thanks for the post!

    #42, Peter – It’s obvious you spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought in your post! Thank you! You raise a good point. There are definitely some fields which are doing a better job bringing the material to life and increasing 2 way interaction already. I would like to point out as well that Math and Science are currently the male strongholds and have been significantly less effected than other areas. To clarify a re-occurring point however, I’m not advocating sitting behind a monitor. I’m advocating look at an education system that embraces the student’s drive and pre-existing skills which focus on interaction, immersion, and hands on exploration.

    As i’ve said on multiple occasions – get past the “game = D&D” mentality. I’m not saying we should sit in front of video games – you are – but i’m not. I’m saying that they have changed the way we interact, and that those behaviors (no different than the addition of e-mail and it’s impact etc.) need to be considered.

    I’ve covered my education above. What I didn’t mention was that I spent my first summer on an honors study abroad trip, and by my second – the summer of my Sophomore year – I already had an internship. I MADE it work for me and did quite well as a result. That’s not how a mass education system should work. When an education system disenfranchises individuals IT failed long before THEY failed. Everyone deserves an education, the trick is figuring out what they need to get them invested and eager to learn.

    Multi-level is the part that people keep mistaking for multi-tasking. It’s the ability to rapidly sort through and hierarchically order a number of simultaneous options and tasks to accomplish your goals. I’ve already addressed a lot of your other questions/notes with respect to the video game differences/perception.

    “Moreover, if you’re going to “interact,” it needs to be with the professor itself, or through a delivery method that would take incredible resources to construct and maintain”

    So what you’re basically telling me in short is, sure it’s not good enough – but it’s too hard to fix it and make it better. Yet that’s what this post is all about.

    Towards the end you raise an interesting point. You’re right, I would interrupt…but not to listen to a Ron Paul Speech. I’d interrupt when I needed clarification or had a question instead of sitting there dumbly on my thumb, perpetuating my ignorance, and then failing to fulfill my potential.

    With respect to your challenge to provide a video game example. Again, it’s a false request based on your misunderstanding of the entire argument. That said, even framed from your perspective, things like Spore, Flight Simulator, even Roller coaster Tycoon are all examples of games, designed to be games with minimal/no actual attempt at being educational tools which can be immensely useful. Astronauts don’t practice for space shuttle missions by flying to space and back and hoping they survive. They run simulations, computer driven, extremely complex simulations. THAT is the same technology and principle as a video game.

    Point #3 – You’re wrong. Your personal attacks and inaccurate assumptions aside facts and information are stories. The difference between a good story teller and a bad story teller is the difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher. All material is inherently boring and at the same time inherently thrilling. The presentation and exploration is what dictates it’s nature and how it relates to YOU.

    On your final point – again, I believe I’ve already done a pretty decent job establishing that this assumption is not only incorrect but also extremely inaccurate. I’m more than happy to compare resumes at the same age or social competency. That said, it’s a distraction from the issue and really in no way relevant to the discourse.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 21, 2008

    #34, Sengan – Thanks for your thoughts, I have to disagree though. A trade skill is in essence what you’re describing. College is the next step towards a general education, and University by it’s very composition and nature is actually about a broad education. It’s a combination of colleges, offering education on a more general set of subject matter than a 1 on 1 trade skill or apprenticeship.

    #35, Kel – Wonderful contribution. Thank you.

    #36, John – Did you read the entire article? Sexism? If anything I’m arguing the exact opposite. If you want a case of true sexism go discuss the status quo explanation for the decrease in males and disproportionate representation. I’ve presented a hypothesis about an issue that currently effects men more than women, but explicitly stated that it will effect women to the same extent and soon.

    It’s a shame you missed the entire point of the article. The beauty of reddit and other similar tools is that it can be used to gain access to obscure – but useful information. I’ve found 100% valid and reputable pieces explaining US economics and the global economy from an international perspective not even mentioned in the US discourse. I’ve learned about the 5+ catastrophic extinctions that have occurred on earth beyond the one that effected the dinosaurs and how the genetic scarring and evolutionary response to those disasters is currently used to help heart attack victims. These are just two small examples. Similar pieces of information are available on a daily basis.

    What did you learn today?

    #37, Jason – Thanks for the comment. With respect to your first comment – I have to say, it looks like you completely missed my point. I’m not suggesting we do away with the entire system, far from it. I’m not suggesting we obliterate study time and the learning environment as it exists today. I’m suggesting we modernize it, make it more hands on, and more immersive. That said, to respond to your concentration point – have you ever watched a high end MMOG raid? Sometimes as many as 80+ people who have never met face to face before, interacting through a virtual interface, spending literally hours of dedicated, precise, coordinated movements to in some cases complete 1 task – all in the name of fun. Take that passion, take that level of engagement, take THAT level of concentration and apply it to a passion for academics and you’ll have something.

    To borrow an old quote – during a philosophy class the professor asked, “What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?” from a slightly groggy student in the back of the class the answer was given, “Don’t know, Don’t care” THAT is today’s academic environment. THAT is what we need to fix.

    On your second point – where did I mention biology? This hypothesis is purely sociological. With respect to your multitasking comments please review my previous comment responses on that subject.

    Point III – Let’s use me as an example, many of the skills i learned in the virtual world have been immensely useful in the real world and helped me succeed. You make the implication that somehow one results in a failure to succeed in the real world. Yet, I was a gamer, I was even an 8 year guild leader. Yet I can say with near confidence that I was probably better socially connected in College (and may very well still be) than you. By your logic that would somehow make your lack of virtual experience a liability, would it not?

    “The decline of men in higher education is more likely an indication that the cost-benefit analysis isn’t as high for many men.”

    This is my whole point. It’s not an argument against it. It’s an argument for it. WHY, WHY is the cost-benefit decreasing for men and how do we fix the problem?

    The stereotypical assumptions in your last paragraph are a shame. The average age of a gamer is 28. Further, 1 in 8 people in serious romantic relationships (even higher now it’s an old figure) met online. Beyond that gamers are typically a significantly more intellectual and well educated demographic than non-gamers. If we’re talking stereotypes, don’t forget the other one. The jock that bloomed in high school usually wilts shortly there after. The geek/nerds are the ones that starts slow and finishes big. That said – this doesn’t really help us get to the truth of anything, does it? It’s just another stupid stereotype.

    #38, Dave – Apparently you missed the part of the historic education where you developed an attention span. Looks like you failed to read the entire article, or at least to pay attention long enough to get the point.

    #39, H – Congratulations on pursuing the American dream. Good luck with your entrepreneurial endeavors.

    #40 – My response.

    #41, Some Guy – There’s money, there’s happiness, and then there’s your personal drive as an individual. You are the ultimate enabler. Thanks for the post!

    #42, Peter – It’s obvious you spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought in your post! Thank you! You raise a good point. There are definitely some fields which are doing a better job bringing the material to life and increasing 2 way interaction already. I would like to point out as well that Math and Science are currently the male strongholds and have been significantly less effected than other areas. To clarify a re-occurring point however, I’m not advocating sitting behind a monitor. I’m advocating look at an education system that embraces the student’s drive and pre-existing skills which focus on interaction, immersion, and hands on exploration.

    As i’ve said on multiple occasions – get past the “game = D&D” mentality. I’m not saying we should sit in front of video games – you are – but i’m not. I’m saying that they have changed the way we interact, and that those behaviors (no different than the addition of e-mail and it’s impact etc.) need to be considered.

    I’ve covered my education above. What I didn’t mention was that I spent my first summer on an honors study abroad trip, and by my second – the summer of my Sophomore year – I already had an internship. I MADE it work for me and did quite well as a result. That’s not how a mass education system should work. When an education system disenfranchises individuals IT failed long before THEY failed. Everyone deserves an education, the trick is figuring out what they need to get them invested and eager to learn.

    Multi-level is the part that people keep mistaking for multi-tasking. It’s the ability to rapidly sort through and hierarchically order a number of simultaneous options and tasks to accomplish your goals. I’ve already addressed a lot of your other questions/notes with respect to the video game differences/perception.

    “Moreover, if you’re going to “interact,” it needs to be with the professor itself, or through a delivery method that would take incredible resources to construct and maintain”

    So what you’re basically telling me in short is, sure it’s not good enough – but it’s too hard to fix it and make it better. Yet that’s what this post is all about.

    Towards the end you raise an interesting point. You’re right, I would interrupt…but not to listen to a Ron Paul Speech. I’d interrupt when I needed clarification or had a question instead of sitting there dumbly on my thumb, perpetuating my ignorance, and then failing to fulfill my potential.

    With respect to your challenge to provide a video game example. Again, it’s a false request based on your misunderstanding of the entire argument. That said, even framed from your perspective, things like Spore, Flight Simulator, even Roller coaster Tycoon are all examples of games, designed to be games with minimal/no actual attempt at being educational tools which can be immensely useful. Astronauts don’t practice for space shuttle missions by flying to space and back and hoping they survive. They run simulations, computer driven, extremely complex simulations. THAT is the same technology and principle as a video game.

    Point #3 – You’re wrong. Your personal attacks and inaccurate assumptions aside facts and information are stories. The difference between a good story teller and a bad story teller is the difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher. All material is inherently boring and at the same time inherently thrilling. The presentation and exploration is what dictates it’s nature and how it relates to YOU.

    On your final point – again, I believe I’ve already done a pretty decent job establishing that this assumption is not only incorrect but also extremely inaccurate. I’m more than happy to compare resumes at the same age or social competency. That said, it’s a distraction from the issue and really in no way relevant to the discourse.

    Reply
  • bill
    August 22, 2008

    I work for an marketing firm and a major portion of our business is conducted in the trade show sector. The trade show industry is suffering as a forum for education. There seems to be a lot of overlap between the falling number of males in academia and the decreased number of trade show attendees. Here is the address for a blog that I wrote on our company website:

    http://www.adventresults.com/experiential-marketing/the-changing-face-of-face-to-face/

    It would seem that the trade show industry is failing to adapt to the needs of the new generation.

    Reply
  • bill
    August 22, 2008

    I work for an marketing firm and a major portion of our business is conducted in the trade show sector. The trade show industry is suffering as a forum for education. There seems to be a lot of overlap between the falling number of males in academia and the decreased number of trade show attendees. Here is the address for a blog that I wrote on our company website:

    http://www.adventresults.com/experiential-marketing/the-changing-face-of-face-to-face/

    It would seem that the trade show industry is failing to adapt to the needs of the new generation.

    Reply
  • Ukridge
    August 22, 2008

    Ever thought about a burn-out!?

    Reply
  • Ukridge
    August 22, 2008

    Ever thought about a burn-out!?

    Reply
  • TLA
    August 22, 2008

    You’re all immigrants. I’ve been involved in computers since 1964. Lol, I can also multitask. I put more quarters in the original “pong” than a lot of you make. Games got old and I discovered different things on the net that were much more interesting. I’m also mostly self educated as formal edu stopped at the end of 9th grade. However thru seminars, company classes, etc. I have more than enough credits for a couple of degrees if I cared enough to get one.

    What you are saying is nothing new. You just now have a very easy platform to say it and one hell of a lot larger audience than was reachable in the dark ages.

    Reply
  • TLA
    August 22, 2008

    You’re all immigrants. I’ve been involved in computers since 1964. Lol, I can also multitask. I put more quarters in the original “pong” than a lot of you make. Games got old and I discovered different things on the net that were much more interesting. I’m also mostly self educated as formal edu stopped at the end of 9th grade. However thru seminars, company classes, etc. I have more than enough credits for a couple of degrees if I cared enough to get one.

    What you are saying is nothing new. You just now have a very easy platform to say it and one hell of a lot larger audience than was reachable in the dark ages.

    Reply
  • thoughtfulfac
    August 23, 2008

    In spite of the author’s attempts to spin his unhealthy habits as creative and “advanced,” the fact remains that it is important to learn how to focus on one thing at a time for a period of time. As one comment writer points out, even the quick laporoscopic surgeon had to sit through lectures and read a textbook. This essay is a masterpiece of rationalization, but it does help explain why the author’s generation can’t concentrate for more than 20 minutes.

    Reply
  • thoughtfulfac
    August 23, 2008

    In spite of the author’s attempts to spin his unhealthy habits as creative and “advanced,” the fact remains that it is important to learn how to focus on one thing at a time for a period of time. As one comment writer points out, even the quick laporoscopic surgeon had to sit through lectures and read a textbook. This essay is a masterpiece of rationalization, but it does help explain why the author’s generation can’t concentrate for more than 20 minutes.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 24, 2008

    #43, Dave – Parallel conversation so going to skip this one.

    #44, Enoon – First, here’s that argument again. It’s cute, it’s cuddly, but it’s grossly inaccurate. See where I’ve discussed it above for more information.

    Second, the first part of your comment contradicts itself. Further, what o you think this, and some of my other projects are? This is doing something about it. As is one of the business options i’m working on through FusionVirtual dealing with virtual classroom applications. I’m afraid you’ve set your soapbox up in quicksand and worse, on uneven ground.

    #45, Peter (followup)- You’re right. The fundamental, core argument i’m making is basically the same that’s been made about education since Socrates and Plato. The meat of my argument is that there’s a new factor which allows an immense opportunity to improve the system. Further, that opportunity also is based on a potential problem.

    #46 – My Response.

    #47, Peter – You seem to have re-pasted your initial post? See my response to it.

    #48, Matt – Matt, thanks for the post. Students have been calling school boring since school began. Equally, older generations have been calling younger generations lazy, unmotivated, and less impressive. There is a fundamental difference, however, between an idle complaint about school being boring, and a failure by the education system to engage, motivate, and educate.

    I’m not talking about burning the system to the ground and setting up a warehouse with computers. I’m talking about modernizing the system to take advantage of modern technology. As you said yourself, it needs change.

    With respect to your second point – please review my responses dealing with the multi-tasking misconception above.

    #49, Dave – Thanks for taking the time to put together a thorough response. The web has its own culture. Unfortunatly, it’s often a shoot from the hip, see if i can get a raise, peacocking style of commentary. The comments aside, look at the quality of many of the links submitted and voted up. Especially in the science, business, and technology subreddits. Look at the power of the system and ask yourself why you use it. Don’t get distracted by the graffiti and static.

    With respect to your comments on scope. I disagree. While the information may have always been there, I can pull up Libraries in London, Athens, and Tekrit and sort through data that would have taken months and thousands of dollars to access otherwise. While you can argue that pre-web the information was all still available, somewhere, the reality of it’s accessibility trumps the value and feasibility of using that data. Further, in creating an infrastructure that increases the ease of communication and exchange it does create data by bringing together experts that would otherwise never have the opportunity to interact. Even in the cases of non-experts. Take this post for example. It’s been viewed more than 20,000 times and as a result of those views we’re having this discussion. Without being an established expert in the field and without taking weeks, perhaps months of travel and networking time – that wouldn’t be possible without the web.

    “Little real discourse seems to occur during these games and the ability to conduct social interactions in these games is clearly divorced from the ability to conduct social interactions in real life”

    You are grossly mistaken. I’d suggest spending some time reading some of the research done by the Daedalus Project (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/).

    The existence of the ability to stop and rewind has been around since the 70s – very true. But the real question is scope. The written word has been around for thousands of years, however it’s use and impact has changed as new technology has evolved. That said, the real value I was referring to in YouTube is the ability to interact with the material. To post your own comments, post your own video responses, post your own re-mixes and to share and exchange them, while commenting. Videos of real substance are being accessed. Look at things like the recent last lecture, or even that youtube video. Those are just a snap shot. Also, consider the political content. You can use YouTube to teach you how to salsa dance, how to fix a car, how to fix your computer – take your pick. These are all just examples, snapshots of how the technologies potential. In the end though, you have to be willing to look at it as something more than what it is. You have to look at the behaviors and information associated with it as well as how it could be applied and how it could be used to engage people. Hell, it’s dumb as could be but look up Hot For Words on youtube.

    This entire post is theory. While my tone may express it confidently, I’ve never said it was anything but. The whole point of this post is to serve as a catalyst. To get the community at large, and hopefully researchers looking at what’s out there and acting to explore the concept.

    #50, Peter – Short of highly inappropriate content or spam and in the name of fairly represented discourse i’m approving ALL comments and am not removing any.

    #51, Whitney – Thanks for the thoughts. It’s an interesting dilemma. On one hand, theory comes from individuals questioning the status quo, observing a phenomena, and then carrying out scientific research. There is an incredible, understated, difference between memorizing theory and understanding it. If all we did was memorized theory and never questioned it or worked to understand it ourselves there wouldn’t be any theory. A person with a perfectly photographic memory can pass just about every class without truly understanding any of what they’ve learned. For my part as a Communication Major I learned the vast majority of the concepts I’d later learn names for while playing MMOGs, watching people around me, and leading a gaming guild. The theory is beneficial because it helps us label and discuss a concept. It also helps us gain introduction to new concepts we haven’t been exposed to. That said though, the most important part (but not only) is understanding what/why & how from a big picture perspective. Not who put it on paper or confirmed that it worked and then slapped a name about it and that’s something a lot of academics have forgotten.

    “Many of them turn out to be flash-in-the-pan online fads.”

    People have been striving to create an electric car since the 1870s. Others have been creating startups working to take us to the moon since the days of Icarus. Some do indeed fail, but failure comes with it’s own benefit. It moves us forward towards eventual success. The online tech startups are relevant because they represent the clearest example of the creation of new technology which in turn has a trickle down effect.

    “(Remember Friendster, or Myspace?) Do they increase the sum total of human knowledge?”

    MySpace still has over 115 million active, unique users. Sure there’s a lot of worthless crap, but that doesn’t change the reality that one service, one tool reached out to and influenced 115 million people. That’s incredible. Further, as a social tool it has put millions of people in content with others they would otherwise never have been exposed to. Some have gone on to get married, others to exchange thoughts which have resulted in great inventions or startups. Others have been inspired to change their lives. Some have even been inspired to end their lives. So has it impacted the sum of human knowledge? My answer is a resounding yes.

    “Do they truly improve the human condition, in anything more than an incidental way?”

    Recently research showed that we are all connected to each other by 6.6 degrees. That’s an astounding thought when you consider that there are 6,602,224,175 people in the world today. What is the sum capability of a lone individual? Now, what is the sum of all of humanity working in concert? Services like twitter, facebook, myspace and others allow us to increase our connectivity with the rest of our species and enable us to act on the potential of the several instead of the one. We won’t ever have all 6 billion people working together, but I know for my part, through tools like facebook, or even this blog I can reach out to and exchange quality thoughts with hundreds – potentially (as this blog as shown) even thousands of other people. Just look at the free hugs campaign that grew through YouTube or countless other web based grass roots efforts.

    For your last thought – who ever said it had to be mutually exclusive? I sure as hell didn’t. Is the system truly so sacred to you, that to question how we can improve it is blaspheme? If a synergy of both makes the surgeon a significantly better surgeon shouldn’t we be working to integrate the best of both?

    #52, Joe – Close, but no cigar. Rather I’m “smart/edumacated” and so I see beyond the silly pictures and explosions.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 23, 2008

    #43, Dave – Parallel conversation so going to skip this one.

    #44, Enoon – First, here’s that argument again. It’s cute, it’s cuddly, but it’s grossly inaccurate. See where I’ve discussed it above for more information.

    Second, the first part of your comment contradicts itself. Further, what o you think this, and some of my other projects are? This is doing something about it. As is one of the business options i’m working on through FusionVirtual dealing with virtual classroom applications. I’m afraid you’ve set your soapbox up in quicksand and worse, on uneven ground.

    #45, Peter (followup)- You’re right. The fundamental, core argument i’m making is basically the same that’s been made about education since Socrates and Plato. The meat of my argument is that there’s a new factor which allows an immense opportunity to improve the system. Further, that opportunity also is based on a potential problem.

    #46 – My Response.

    #47, Peter – You seem to have re-pasted your initial post? See my response to it.

    #48, Matt – Matt, thanks for the post. Students have been calling school boring since school began. Equally, older generations have been calling younger generations lazy, unmotivated, and less impressive. There is a fundamental difference, however, between an idle complaint about school being boring, and a failure by the education system to engage, motivate, and educate.

    I’m not talking about burning the system to the ground and setting up a warehouse with computers. I’m talking about modernizing the system to take advantage of modern technology. As you said yourself, it needs change.

    With respect to your second point – please review my responses dealing with the multi-tasking misconception above.

    #49, Dave – Thanks for taking the time to put together a thorough response. The web has its own culture. Unfortunatly, it’s often a shoot from the hip, see if i can get a raise, peacocking style of commentary. The comments aside, look at the quality of many of the links submitted and voted up. Especially in the science, business, and technology subreddits. Look at the power of the system and ask yourself why you use it. Don’t get distracted by the graffiti and static.

    With respect to your comments on scope. I disagree. While the information may have always been there, I can pull up Libraries in London, Athens, and Tekrit and sort through data that would have taken months and thousands of dollars to access otherwise. While you can argue that pre-web the information was all still available, somewhere, the reality of it’s accessibility trumps the value and feasibility of using that data. Further, in creating an infrastructure that increases the ease of communication and exchange it does create data by bringing together experts that would otherwise never have the opportunity to interact. Even in the cases of non-experts. Take this post for example. It’s been viewed more than 20,000 times and as a result of those views we’re having this discussion. Without being an established expert in the field and without taking weeks, perhaps months of travel and networking time – that wouldn’t be possible without the web.

    “Little real discourse seems to occur during these games and the ability to conduct social interactions in these games is clearly divorced from the ability to conduct social interactions in real life”

    You are grossly mistaken. I’d suggest spending some time reading some of the research done by the Daedalus Project (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/).

    The existence of the ability to stop and rewind has been around since the 70s – very true. But the real question is scope. The written word has been around for thousands of years, however it’s use and impact has changed as new technology has evolved. That said, the real value I was referring to in YouTube is the ability to interact with the material. To post your own comments, post your own video responses, post your own re-mixes and to share and exchange them, while commenting. Videos of real substance are being accessed. Look at things like the recent last lecture, or even that youtube video. Those are just a snap shot. Also, consider the political content. You can use YouTube to teach you how to salsa dance, how to fix a car, how to fix your computer – take your pick. These are all just examples, snapshots of how the technologies potential. In the end though, you have to be willing to look at it as something more than what it is. You have to look at the behaviors and information associated with it as well as how it could be applied and how it could be used to engage people. Hell, it’s dumb as could be but look up Hot For Words on youtube.

    This entire post is theory. While my tone may express it confidently, I’ve never said it was anything but. The whole point of this post is to serve as a catalyst. To get the community at large, and hopefully researchers looking at what’s out there and acting to explore the concept.

    #50, Peter – Short of highly inappropriate content or spam and in the name of fairly represented discourse i’m approving ALL comments and am not removing any.

    #51, Whitney – Thanks for the thoughts. It’s an interesting dilemma. On one hand, theory comes from individuals questioning the status quo, observing a phenomena, and then carrying out scientific research. There is an incredible, understated, difference between memorizing theory and understanding it. If all we did was memorized theory and never questioned it or worked to understand it ourselves there wouldn’t be any theory. A person with a perfectly photographic memory can pass just about every class without truly understanding any of what they’ve learned. For my part as a Communication Major I learned the vast majority of the concepts I’d later learn names for while playing MMOGs, watching people around me, and leading a gaming guild. The theory is beneficial because it helps us label and discuss a concept. It also helps us gain introduction to new concepts we haven’t been exposed to. That said though, the most important part (but not only) is understanding what/why & how from a big picture perspective. Not who put it on paper or confirmed that it worked and then slapped a name about it and that’s something a lot of academics have forgotten.

    “Many of them turn out to be flash-in-the-pan online fads.”

    People have been striving to create an electric car since the 1870s. Others have been creating startups working to take us to the moon since the days of Icarus. Some do indeed fail, but failure comes with it’s own benefit. It moves us forward towards eventual success. The online tech startups are relevant because they represent the clearest example of the creation of new technology which in turn has a trickle down effect.

    “(Remember Friendster, or Myspace?) Do they increase the sum total of human knowledge?”

    MySpace still has over 115 million active, unique users. Sure there’s a lot of worthless crap, but that doesn’t change the reality that one service, one tool reached out to and influenced 115 million people. That’s incredible. Further, as a social tool it has put millions of people in content with others they would otherwise never have been exposed to. Some have gone on to get married, others to exchange thoughts which have resulted in great inventions or startups. Others have been inspired to change their lives. Some have even been inspired to end their lives. So has it impacted the sum of human knowledge? My answer is a resounding yes.

    “Do they truly improve the human condition, in anything more than an incidental way?”

    Recently research showed that we are all connected to each other by 6.6 degrees. That’s an astounding thought when you consider that there are 6,602,224,175 people in the world today. What is the sum capability of a lone individual? Now, what is the sum of all of humanity working in concert? Services like twitter, facebook, myspace and others allow us to increase our connectivity with the rest of our species and enable us to act on the potential of the several instead of the one. We won’t ever have all 6 billion people working together, but I know for my part, through tools like facebook, or even this blog I can reach out to and exchange quality thoughts with hundreds – potentially (as this blog as shown) even thousands of other people. Just look at the free hugs campaign that grew through YouTube or countless other web based grass roots efforts.

    For your last thought – who ever said it had to be mutually exclusive? I sure as hell didn’t. Is the system truly so sacred to you, that to question how we can improve it is blaspheme? If a synergy of both makes the surgeon a significantly better surgeon shouldn’t we be working to integrate the best of both?

    #52, Joe – Close, but no cigar. Rather I’m “smart/edumacated” and so I see beyond the silly pictures and explosions.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 24, 2008

    #53, digitalfemme – CV! Thanks for the comment. I’d prefer to think of the article more as a “hey, here’s a possible problem – let’s star the ball rolling on fixing it”.

    Education – while I think massive changes are needed. I think there’s still a lot of great stuff there that we can build on. We just need to get the varnish back out and polish things. It’s also time for a new few utensils. Then the all you can eat knowledge buffet should be a lot more tasty. As far as teachers, i’ve always felt there are teachers and then there are educators. Teachers fill a position, go to work and typically are in it for the wrong reasons, not competent, go about it all wrong. Educators on the hand are in it to inspire and to share information. It’s not about them, it’s not about ego, it’s not about the system, it’s not about how much work it takes, it’s about taking an individual and creating a more intelligent and inspired mind.

    Technology – Budgets and vision are always the dilemma. What “is” is always much safer and far less challenging than what “can be”.

    M vs W & Vise Versa – Your first point: I agree absolutely. I’m glad you picked up on it, as some of the other female readers have missed the point. I agree, which is why I believe this issue is so, so important.

    On your second point – patience. It’s true. Studies also show that thee way women relate socially and relationally also aids them in a classroom setting and makes them better at dealing with 1 way information exchanges.

    On point 3 – I agree, there is definitely more drive for higher education. It has conventionally been a white mans world, though I think we’re starting to reach a point of near equilibrium. There’s still a long ways to go, but the drastic measures that started us along the road are becoming less beneficial and more harmful, to both sexes.

    Point 4 – I’m sure that’s the case for some. It’s hard to say though, the message, “you’re just a dumb brute, go move heavy objects” is just as prolific and damaging as “you’re just a dumb sex object” and every bit as prolific. Especially as the education system has focused on reverse discrimination to bring women into the education system. As the epitome of the white, 2nd generation college Caucasian I had to overcome a lot of reverse discrimination hurtles and put up with a lot of less-than qualified competition given astounding handicaps. All I want is a fair shot. One for them and one for me.

    On point 5 – I disagree. The education system needs to change, in fact I’d say that’s the real problem. I believe we have begun to adapt already, which has created a dissonance between our needs and capabilities and the educational offering being provided. It starts with us, we are the catalyst – but ultimately the system needs to adjust as well. Sometimes when the climate changes the old ski lodge/company needs to switch to off road biking to best keep up with things.

    On women in education – it’s true that it’s really only been 20-30 years that the shift has been in full swing. That said, look at the actual numbers. For associate degrees in 2008 the projects are: 267k Males, 447k Females. For bachelor degrees: 665k Males, 930k Females. That’s an astounding difference in representation.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    #54, Anonymous – Thanks for the comment! I think you raise a very interesting point in observing that by changing who is in college, we’ve added a lot of static. The person from High School in the back of the class who was more disruption than addition very well may have continued on and become a major distraction and much more prolific in the college environment.

    Your comment also touches on a fantastic point. The degree is a check mark, but the real sales piece is A) your references and B) your internship/work experience. Without it, even with a degree you’re at a significant disadvantage.

    #55, Jack Ted – Wonderful comment! Thank you for the contribution.

    As you mentioned it really is just a hypothesis. I view it as little more than a snowball thrown down a hill. I do hope, however, that it picks up momentum and turns into something much, much larger.

    Excellent point about the PhD value equation, and I agree. It’s not the only factor. I think it’s just one that we’ve failed to consider or really look at previously.

    On your ADHD/ADD mention – I couldn’t help but chuckle. I began the Ballroom/Latin/Swing program at ASU my Sophomore year and consider it one of the 2 best classes I took (the other being the intro “Human Event” Honors course focusing on religion, philosophy, and social studies). The dance class, of all things helped prepare me better for the business world than just about any other course I took at ASU and blew what I learned in “public” speaking out of the water. There are several write ups on the subject here on the site if you’re curious.

    The question of harm is a fantastic one. Especially when turned around to look at the way the current educational structure interacts with and influences the students it’s responsible form.

    You do point out an excellent point about women’s ability to multitask – the information is still (as far as I know good) and stems from a larger corpus collosum. I think the trick though is, that their ability to multitask is a different consideration. The important part is how we relate to things and learn/engage. The multitasking is just a side benefit/associated skill.

    Thank you for sharing your workplace experiences. I agree, one of the skills my co-workers have commended me on repeatedly is my ability to respond to crises or a large number of varied requests, balance them, and then complete them. Especially working with brokers in Commercial Real Estate and the Mergers and Acquisitions Industries – everything comes last minute and is based on prioritizing. IF you can’t change speeds and juggle multiple projects, tasks, thoughts and challenges you quite simply wouldn’t be able to operate and do the job.

    It has reached a number of academics. One of the first things I did upon posting the comment was to forward the link to several of my former professors in the Communication department at ASU. I’m hoping that dedicated academics and experts in the field pick up the concept and help explore it. If you or any of the other readers have similar contacts please feel free to forward the message. I’m also free to discuss the concept in greater depth in a 1 on 1 format with any researchers interested in picking up the torch.

    Great comment – thanks Jack!

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 23, 2008

    #53, digitalfemme – CV! Thanks for the comment. I’d prefer to think of the article more as a “hey, here’s a possible problem – let’s star the ball rolling on fixing it”.

    Education – while I think massive changes are needed. I think there’s still a lot of great stuff there that we can build on. We just need to get the varnish back out and polish things. It’s also time for a new few utensils. Then the all you can eat knowledge buffet should be a lot more tasty. As far as teachers, i’ve always felt there are teachers and then there are educators. Teachers fill a position, go to work and typically are in it for the wrong reasons, not competent, go about it all wrong. Educators on the hand are in it to inspire and to share information. It’s not about them, it’s not about ego, it’s not about the system, it’s not about how much work it takes, it’s about taking an individual and creating a more intelligent and inspired mind.

    Technology – Budgets and vision are always the dilemma. What “is” is always much safer and far less challenging than what “can be”.

    M vs W & Vise Versa – Your first point: I agree absolutely. I’m glad you picked up on it, as some of the other female readers have missed the point. I agree, which is why I believe this issue is so, so important.

    On your second point – patience. It’s true. Studies also show that thee way women relate socially and relationally also aids them in a classroom setting and makes them better at dealing with 1 way information exchanges.

    On point 3 – I agree, there is definitely more drive for higher education. It has conventionally been a white mans world, though I think we’re starting to reach a point of near equilibrium. There’s still a long ways to go, but the drastic measures that started us along the road are becoming less beneficial and more harmful, to both sexes.

    Point 4 – I’m sure that’s the case for some. It’s hard to say though, the message, “you’re just a dumb brute, go move heavy objects” is just as prolific and damaging as “you’re just a dumb sex object” and every bit as prolific. Especially as the education system has focused on reverse discrimination to bring women into the education system. As the epitome of the white, 2nd generation college Caucasian I had to overcome a lot of reverse discrimination hurtles and put up with a lot of less-than qualified competition given astounding handicaps. All I want is a fair shot. One for them and one for me.

    On point 5 – I disagree. The education system needs to change, in fact I’d say that’s the real problem. I believe we have begun to adapt already, which has created a dissonance between our needs and capabilities and the educational offering being provided. It starts with us, we are the catalyst – but ultimately the system needs to adjust as well. Sometimes when the climate changes the old ski lodge/company needs to switch to off road biking to best keep up with things.

    On women in education – it’s true that it’s really only been 20-30 years that the shift has been in full swing. That said, look at the actual numbers. For associate degrees in 2008 the projects are: 267k Males, 447k Females. For bachelor degrees: 665k Males, 930k Females. That’s an astounding difference in representation.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    #54, Anonymous – Thanks for the comment! I think you raise a very interesting point in observing that by changing who is in college, we’ve added a lot of static. The person from High School in the back of the class who was more disruption than addition very well may have continued on and become a major distraction and much more prolific in the college environment.

    Your comment also touches on a fantastic point. The degree is a check mark, but the real sales piece is A) your references and B) your internship/work experience. Without it, even with a degree you’re at a significant disadvantage.

    #55, Jack Ted – Wonderful comment! Thank you for the contribution.

    As you mentioned it really is just a hypothesis. I view it as little more than a snowball thrown down a hill. I do hope, however, that it picks up momentum and turns into something much, much larger.

    Excellent point about the PhD value equation, and I agree. It’s not the only factor. I think it’s just one that we’ve failed to consider or really look at previously.

    On your ADHD/ADD mention – I couldn’t help but chuckle. I began the Ballroom/Latin/Swing program at ASU my Sophomore year and consider it one of the 2 best classes I took (the other being the intro “Human Event” Honors course focusing on religion, philosophy, and social studies). The dance class, of all things helped prepare me better for the business world than just about any other course I took at ASU and blew what I learned in “public” speaking out of the water. There are several write ups on the subject here on the site if you’re curious.

    The question of harm is a fantastic one. Especially when turned around to look at the way the current educational structure interacts with and influences the students it’s responsible form.

    You do point out an excellent point about women’s ability to multitask – the information is still (as far as I know good) and stems from a larger corpus collosum. I think the trick though is, that their ability to multitask is a different consideration. The important part is how we relate to things and learn/engage. The multitasking is just a side benefit/associated skill.

    Thank you for sharing your workplace experiences. I agree, one of the skills my co-workers have commended me on repeatedly is my ability to respond to crises or a large number of varied requests, balance them, and then complete them. Especially working with brokers in Commercial Real Estate and the Mergers and Acquisitions Industries – everything comes last minute and is based on prioritizing. IF you can’t change speeds and juggle multiple projects, tasks, thoughts and challenges you quite simply wouldn’t be able to operate and do the job.

    It has reached a number of academics. One of the first things I did upon posting the comment was to forward the link to several of my former professors in the Communication department at ASU. I’m hoping that dedicated academics and experts in the field pick up the concept and help explore it. If you or any of the other readers have similar contacts please feel free to forward the message. I’m also free to discuss the concept in greater depth in a 1 on 1 format with any researchers interested in picking up the torch.

    Great comment – thanks Jack!

    Reply
  • Roland Dobbins
    August 25, 2008

    I find it quite revealing that the word ‘book’ did not appear once in your original post.

    I’m a ‘digital native’, too, albeit older than you – I built my first computer from a kit with my father when I was 9, I was a BBS junkie, I set up UUCP nodes, participated in BITNET, was on CompuServe, BiX, USENET, IRC, then migrated over to IM (still use email, too), read all my books these days on my Kindle, get all my music and video content online, IM & email constantly from my mobile phone, read 1000+ syndication feeds/day, love to play FPS on my gaming PC & XBox 360, et. al.

    That being said, I never figured that anyone ever owed me an education in anything. I got bored, dropped out of high school at 17, & embarked upon my present career.

    So, I ask you – why is it that your post seems based on the assumption that the history of mankind began with your birth? Why is it that you fail to take into account the fact that people were educated before computers and networking and the Internet were ever invented, and have continued to be educated thereafter (albeit increasingly poorly)? Do you *really* think that human nature is that malleable, that there’s something ‘special’ about you and your cohorts? It’s pretty obvious that you’ve failed to do even the most cursory online search with regards to the set of issues you describe, else you’d already have found a lot of discussion of these subjects which would’ve informed your essay, whether you agreed or disagreed with them (here we see the phenomenon of the 21st Century Digital Boy unwilling/unable to use Google effectively, heh. Ironic, no? ;>).

    I would be interested to know how many books you read in the last year or so, and what they were, if you don’t mind sharing. Have you read any of the classics of the Western canon at all? It’s pretty obvious that you haven’t read many of the books, essays, and other forms of commentary and discussion regarding educational ‘reform’.

    You seem to be an intelligent chap, and you make some trenchant observations; however, you seem to be almost completely unconscious of the origins of the historical/cultural milieu you inhabit, and completely ignore millennia of experience, expertise, and insight which are directly related to the subject at hand. You also seem incapable of much in the way of introspection, and the self-centered nature of your worldview (which I believe a direct result of your immersion in self-directed, essentially narcissistic communication modes, rather than time spent reading and thinking) shines through in your original post.

    To your credit, you acknowledge that there are meaningful differences between males and females, and don’t buy into the politically-correct hype which asserts otherwise, in the face of all scientific evidence. You also seem to reject the junk-science ‘diagnosis’ of the nonexistent ADD/ADHD, which are merely cop-outs for lazy parents and cash registers for greedy doctors.

    You do need to read and to think a bit, IMHO, instead of spending so much time with Twitter, Facebook, and other such attention-wasters. You’ll end up much more well-rounded, and have the background & depth to make a more meaningful contribution on this or any other subject to which you turn your attention.

    Don’t mistake me – I think it’s good that you’ve taken the time to set down some thoughts on this issue, and you’ve sparked a lively discussion. What I’m trying to say is that with more breadth & depth, your thoughts will be more complete and cogent, and that you will have something original and of lasting import to say, on this or on any other subject.

    Reply
  • Roland Dobbins
    August 25, 2008

    I find it quite revealing that the word ‘book’ did not appear once in your original post.

    I’m a ‘digital native’, too, albeit older than you – I built my first computer from a kit with my father when I was 9, I was a BBS junkie, I set up UUCP nodes, participated in BITNET, was on CompuServe, BiX, USENET, IRC, then migrated over to IM (still use email, too), read all my books these days on my Kindle, get all my music and video content online, IM & email constantly from my mobile phone, read 1000+ syndication feeds/day, love to play FPS on my gaming PC & XBox 360, et. al.

    That being said, I never figured that anyone ever owed me an education in anything. I got bored, dropped out of high school at 17, & embarked upon my present career.

    So, I ask you – why is it that your post seems based on the assumption that the history of mankind began with your birth? Why is it that you fail to take into account the fact that people were educated before computers and networking and the Internet were ever invented, and have continued to be educated thereafter (albeit increasingly poorly)? Do you *really* think that human nature is that malleable, that there’s something ‘special’ about you and your cohorts? It’s pretty obvious that you’ve failed to do even the most cursory online search with regards to the set of issues you describe, else you’d already have found a lot of discussion of these subjects which would’ve informed your essay, whether you agreed or disagreed with them (here we see the phenomenon of the 21st Century Digital Boy unwilling/unable to use Google effectively, heh. Ironic, no? ;>).

    I would be interested to know how many books you read in the last year or so, and what they were, if you don’t mind sharing. Have you read any of the classics of the Western canon at all? It’s pretty obvious that you haven’t read many of the books, essays, and other forms of commentary and discussion regarding educational ‘reform’.

    You seem to be an intelligent chap, and you make some trenchant observations; however, you seem to be almost completely unconscious of the origins of the historical/cultural milieu you inhabit, and completely ignore millennia of experience, expertise, and insight which are directly related to the subject at hand. You also seem incapable of much in the way of introspection, and the self-centered nature of your worldview (which I believe a direct result of your immersion in self-directed, essentially narcissistic communication modes, rather than time spent reading and thinking) shines through in your original post.

    To your credit, you acknowledge that there are meaningful differences between males and females, and don’t buy into the politically-correct hype which asserts otherwise, in the face of all scientific evidence. You also seem to reject the junk-science ‘diagnosis’ of the nonexistent ADD/ADHD, which are merely cop-outs for lazy parents and cash registers for greedy doctors.

    You do need to read and to think a bit, IMHO, instead of spending so much time with Twitter, Facebook, and other such attention-wasters. You’ll end up much more well-rounded, and have the background & depth to make a more meaningful contribution on this or any other subject to which you turn your attention.

    Don’t mistake me – I think it’s good that you’ve taken the time to set down some thoughts on this issue, and you’ve sparked a lively discussion. What I’m trying to say is that with more breadth & depth, your thoughts will be more complete and cogent, and that you will have something original and of lasting import to say, on this or on any other subject.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 26, 2008

    #56, Jonathan – Thank you for joining the discussion and contributing several excellent thoughts!

    You raise excellent points. I suppose my immediate thoughts are that there is a 2 fold difference in scope. First the scope of the immersive nature of the games themselves, eg: Counter-Strike allows for a significantly more immersive experience than space invaders did. By that same water marker games 20 years from now should be spectacularly more immersive.

    The second is the scope of the audience. As a very early stage adopter you had access and were exposed to technology that your average 7 year old probably could not even fathom.

    Another great point about the early MUDs. I have to confess that they pre-date me. My early computer games were Keen, Duke Nukem I, Warcraft I and Aces Over Europe. I am passingly familiar with the extensive and extremely impressive scope of the early MUDs and agree that compared to all but a few modern games the storyline, world, and content was immense. But, I think you also address the point later in the same paragraph when you mention that with significant leveling you could begin to code for the game. That’s a real illustration of the demographic using the games and their highly specialized skill set. I can’t imagine World of Warcraft becoming editable by players at level 70. In no small part because over the years the demographic of the average computer gamer, and number of gamers has skyrocketed. I’d be very curious to explore how the 10 million WoW subscribers stack up to the # of machines on the internet in 1990, or number of machines with games in 1980.

    All of that said, as a very early adopter i’d be curious to see if you feel you relate slightly different than non-users? With those thoughts in mind i’d also like to see any institutional research widened to encompass more than just the last 18 years.

    On multi-tasking. I’ve discussed it a few times in previous comments, so without going too in depth. I think the trick is the interactivity that goes with multi-tasking. Sit someone down who doesn’t use the computer or doesn’t game and try and have them play Counter-Strike or World of Warcraft. They will have a lot of trouble initially. Not just operating the controls but dealing with all of the sources of information streaming at them, all of which they need to react to. So, while you’re right that music in the background in the 50s is in effect the same occurrence. The scope and execution of today’s technology is exponentially different.

    Review your first 2 class summaries. Notice what you focus on as being the redeeming elements – the engaging hands on elements. The interactive components. On your third point, I agree that the fluff can be difficult to get through. That’s where the deciding factor becomes the teacher.

    Learning to teach yourself is an incredibly important skill. Fundamentally, it’s that curiosity and core confidence in your ability to seek out information that leads to a highly educated mind. Books are without question an amazing asset.

    #57, Nick – Thanks for the thoughts.

    #58, Trip – Thank you for a well thought out, thorough response. P#1 – This post is really little more than an initial musing. A proposed thesis to be discussed and explored in greater depth. As is it ended up long for a blog post, which at the end of the day is what it is. There is a lot to be clarified, elaborated on, and researched.

    P#4 – I strongly agree with you that the common level of courtesy is disappointing. Part of it is no doubt tied to the less formal nature of modern communication. A lot though I think stems more from the behavior shift that started with the baby boomers. The rejection of classic social rules and formality and the embrace of the “whatever man” mentality. If you look closely I think that’s where you’ll find the roots of what you’re talking about. That said, the introduction of new, engaging, mobile technology has done it’s own harm. For my part I’ve had to train myself to pause phone calls, and to pocket my phone at things like the checkout counter. I do think there is a transitionary period between when the new technology catches on and when rules and norms become established and become commonly accepted. Just look at the use of ALL CAPS in e-mails and the like.

    P#5 – There’s nothing like a quality camping trip, or a good book to remind you that some of the best things come at a different pace. There’s definitely room for the millennials to diversify their focus. I have to say though, that i don’t believe that they can’t do it. It’s just a question of finding something they value enough to want to do it. One example that comes to mind was an old camp in the MMOG Everquest with a rare spawn. Simply put, to get the item you wanted you commonly had to spend 10-20 hours “camping” the spawn point. A time investment that people were more than willing to invest. All for a virtual item. If they can and will do that, it’s not a question of if they can, but rather what is valuable or necessary enough that they stop and smell the roses?

    The reality is, it’s a matter of balance. I’ve never proposed doing away with the entire education system. I have proposed tweaking a few areas to improve the way it interacts and shares the information. That’s the key. Balance.

    P#7 – A wonderful and accurate point. The goal of this post is not to offer a free lunch, rather to review and spark analysis of the system as it stands today. If anything the systems I’m advocating and proposing require more work, more time, and more investment. Not less. I believe this post is just a brief snapshot, the tip of the iceberg if you will. The issue as a whole is much more involved. For now my goal is to spark discourse. I hope you’ll join me in the future as we work to explore that discourse and build a better, more thorough understanding of the issue, its impact, and what can be done about it.

    #59, Dave – lol.

    #60, Naran – Out of curiosity where was your effort? It seems that perhaps you need those flashing lights every bit as much as you seem to believe the millennials do.

    #61, My Response

    #62, My Response

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 25, 2008

    #56, Jonathan – Thank you for joining the discussion and contributing several excellent thoughts!

    You raise excellent points. I suppose my immediate thoughts are that there is a 2 fold difference in scope. First the scope of the immersive nature of the games themselves, eg: Counter-Strike allows for a significantly more immersive experience than space invaders did. By that same water marker games 20 years from now should be spectacularly more immersive.

    The second is the scope of the audience. As a very early stage adopter you had access and were exposed to technology that your average 7 year old probably could not even fathom.

    Another great point about the early MUDs. I have to confess that they pre-date me. My early computer games were Keen, Duke Nukem I, Warcraft I and Aces Over Europe. I am passingly familiar with the extensive and extremely impressive scope of the early MUDs and agree that compared to all but a few modern games the storyline, world, and content was immense. But, I think you also address the point later in the same paragraph when you mention that with significant leveling you could begin to code for the game. That’s a real illustration of the demographic using the games and their highly specialized skill set. I can’t imagine World of Warcraft becoming editable by players at level 70. In no small part because over the years the demographic of the average computer gamer, and number of gamers has skyrocketed. I’d be very curious to explore how the 10 million WoW subscribers stack up to the # of machines on the internet in 1990, or number of machines with games in 1980.

    All of that said, as a very early adopter i’d be curious to see if you feel you relate slightly different than non-users? With those thoughts in mind i’d also like to see any institutional research widened to encompass more than just the last 18 years.

    On multi-tasking. I’ve discussed it a few times in previous comments, so without going too in depth. I think the trick is the interactivity that goes with multi-tasking. Sit someone down who doesn’t use the computer or doesn’t game and try and have them play Counter-Strike or World of Warcraft. They will have a lot of trouble initially. Not just operating the controls but dealing with all of the sources of information streaming at them, all of which they need to react to. So, while you’re right that music in the background in the 50s is in effect the same occurrence. The scope and execution of today’s technology is exponentially different.

    Review your first 2 class summaries. Notice what you focus on as being the redeeming elements – the engaging hands on elements. The interactive components. On your third point, I agree that the fluff can be difficult to get through. That’s where the deciding factor becomes the teacher.

    Learning to teach yourself is an incredibly important skill. Fundamentally, it’s that curiosity and core confidence in your ability to seek out information that leads to a highly educated mind. Books are without question an amazing asset.

    #57, Nick – Thanks for the thoughts.

    #58, Trip – Thank you for a well thought out, thorough response. P#1 – This post is really little more than an initial musing. A proposed thesis to be discussed and explored in greater depth. As is it ended up long for a blog post, which at the end of the day is what it is. There is a lot to be clarified, elaborated on, and researched.

    P#4 – I strongly agree with you that the common level of courtesy is disappointing. Part of it is no doubt tied to the less formal nature of modern communication. A lot though I think stems more from the behavior shift that started with the baby boomers. The rejection of classic social rules and formality and the embrace of the “whatever man” mentality. If you look closely I think that’s where you’ll find the roots of what you’re talking about. That said, the introduction of new, engaging, mobile technology has done it’s own harm. For my part I’ve had to train myself to pause phone calls, and to pocket my phone at things like the checkout counter. I do think there is a transitionary period between when the new technology catches on and when rules and norms become established and become commonly accepted. Just look at the use of ALL CAPS in e-mails and the like.

    P#5 – There’s nothing like a quality camping trip, or a good book to remind you that some of the best things come at a different pace. There’s definitely room for the millennials to diversify their focus. I have to say though, that i don’t believe that they can’t do it. It’s just a question of finding something they value enough to want to do it. One example that comes to mind was an old camp in the MMOG Everquest with a rare spawn. Simply put, to get the item you wanted you commonly had to spend 10-20 hours “camping” the spawn point. A time investment that people were more than willing to invest. All for a virtual item. If they can and will do that, it’s not a question of if they can, but rather what is valuable or necessary enough that they stop and smell the roses?

    The reality is, it’s a matter of balance. I’ve never proposed doing away with the entire education system. I have proposed tweaking a few areas to improve the way it interacts and shares the information. That’s the key. Balance.

    P#7 – A wonderful and accurate point. The goal of this post is not to offer a free lunch, rather to review and spark analysis of the system as it stands today. If anything the systems I’m advocating and proposing require more work, more time, and more investment. Not less. I believe this post is just a brief snapshot, the tip of the iceberg if you will. The issue as a whole is much more involved. For now my goal is to spark discourse. I hope you’ll join me in the future as we work to explore that discourse and build a better, more thorough understanding of the issue, its impact, and what can be done about it.

    #59, Dave – lol.

    #60, Naran – Out of curiosity where was your effort? It seems that perhaps you need those flashing lights every bit as much as you seem to believe the millennials do.

    #61, My Response

    #62, My Response

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 26, 2008

    #63, Going – Thanks for the response and the time and energy you invested!

    I’m not sure how you ended up with the perception that my suggestion that we re-evaluate an element of how we structure and facilitate classes equates to me “calling for the total destruction of western civilization”. In fact, I’m rather fond of western civilization =)

    In regards to your comments on the differences between the sexes. It’s definitely an issue. It’s also one that is very complex and often frustrating. The issue of reverse discrimination is one that really gets my hackles up – that said, it’s not what this post is really focusing on. So, while it’s definitely a factor, and I won’t say I disagree with you. It’s not something I’ll be discussing here. We are definitely looking at major backlash however as males get organized and get sick of reverse discrimination being abused.

    #64, Julian – Excellent information and a great point. With the growth of places like University of Phoenix, I’d speculate that our institutional/graduation rates are actually deceptive as most of the online degree programs have probably retained/created offerings for individuals that would have other dropped out/never pursued higher education.

    #66, H – Wonderful what you’re doing, congratulations and keep it up. As you move house to house, you’ll quickly buy yourself out of the system. The biggest trick for salaried employees is the money never makes it to investment. That 100k supports a 95k lifestyle in most cases. It’s nicer, but no different than the 30k lifestyle on a 35k salary. The cars get nicer, the house might get a bit nicer, a boat shows up, etc. ultimate an individuals success is based on their drive and self control. There are a lot of ways to accomplish those ends. For some, the classical route through a degree is that course. For others, it’s a self charted course making the system work for them. You’re teaching your self every bit as much as you’d learn in college as you self teach a degree.

    #67, Glenn – Thanks for the thoughts bud! You really hit the nail on the head with this comment. Really put it nice and succinctly.

    “Add to that the extraneous info I don’t want to hear about and the inability to skip ahead as I would do in an Internet based transaction makes for a very disinterested viewer. So what do I do? I find a medium that moves at my pace. I think kids are experiencing the exact same thing.”

    I agree that we’ll see interesting shifts among older generations as well. Especially as they focus on using the web to reach out socially. I remember how difficult it was for my grandparents as their old golf and poker buddies passed away. A web outlet to meet new people and reach out would have been wonderful.

    #68 & 69, Jonathan – As always thanks for a wonderful post and fantastic information. That post sounds right in line with my passions and focus. I’m eager to take a crack at it and I’ll follow up with you once I do!

    #70, Me.

    #71, Bill – Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reviewing the blog post.

    It’s very interesting to see a possible trickle down effect into other related industries.

    #72, Ukridge – That’s at the heart of the issue. Burnout is the result of pushing too hard, too long upstream. If the system was aligned with the students needs it would extend their immersion period before they ran into burnout issues.

    #73, TLA – Thanks for the thoughts! This is definitely more a story of scope than timing! It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re curious and driven =)

    #74, thoughtfulfac – Thanks for calling the piece of a masterpiece. Sorry, I seem to have lost focus and missed the rest.

    #75, Me.

    #76, Me.

    #77, Roland – Despite your rather bizarre and off base assumptions and miss-perception and rather rude tone, thank you for taking the time and energy to share your thoughts.

    A re-occurring theme throughout your comment is your odd view that because I’ve written about millennials, the web, and video games that I don’t read and am poorly read. You’re wrong and in a most entertaining way.

    I’m actually in the process of reading The Starfish and the Spider, The God Delusion and just starting to get into Mobilization Generation 2.0 which Beth Kanter and the Nonprofit Technology Network sent me as a thank you for participating in a recent wiki. That said, because of an extremely busy schedule my monthly book consumption has dropped exponentially in the last 8 months. I average between 3-800 pages currently. Several years ago when I had more time I was averaging 1-3,000 a month.

    I’ve also been lucky enough to not only enjoy classic literature and poetry but to read it on site. I’ve sat on the pebbled beat at Dover and read read Arnold’s poem just as I’ve spent time in Ancient Greek ruins reading the Iliad and the Odyssey.

    As it just so happens my father is also an author: http://www.cdescry.com and has published pieces on education as well historically based mysteries set in the southwest.

    What makes your fixation on my relationship with books that much more comical is one of my more recent posts (July 9th) which is actually on the subject of libraries: http://virtualwayfarer.com/public-libraries-in-the-digital-age/

    So despite your vanity and lack of tact, the answer to your question is Yes. I read.

    Back on topic: I find it somewhat revealing that you support the entire point of the post while trying to disprove it in no less than your third paragraph: “I never figured that anyone ever owed me an education in anything. I got bored, dropped out of high school at 17, & embarked upon my present career”. The education system failed you, and as a result you pursued your own.

    Your 4th paragraph is largely pointless and what few legitimate points sandwiched between attacks and tangents have already been raised and addressed either in the original post which you seem to have completely misunderstood or in my responses to comments.

    P#5 – I’ve already addressed.
    P#6 – Seems to largely be dedicated to establishing your literary brilliance. Congratulations, you’re even more verbose than I am. No small accomplishment.
    P#7 – I’m glad that in addition to your previous agreement you also agree with several of my other hypotheses.
    P#8 – Already covered.
    P#9 – Thank you for your relative support. Ironically, in reviewing your comment it would seem that you actually agree with or at least have provided support for just about all of my major points. The only ones you seem to really disagree with are odd strawmen you’ve created yourself.

    If you’d like to share some of the research you’ve found, I invite you to do so. However, please make sure it’s relevant to the discourse and on topic.

    Reply
  • Alex Berger
    August 25, 2008

    #63, Going – Thanks for the response and the time and energy you invested!

    I’m not sure how you ended up with the perception that my suggestion that we re-evaluate an element of how we structure and facilitate classes equates to me “calling for the total destruction of western civilization”. In fact, I’m rather fond of western civilization =)

    In regards to your comments on the differences between the sexes. It’s definitely an issue. It’s also one that is very complex and often frustrating. The issue of reverse discrimination is one that really gets my hackles up – that said, it’s not what this post is really focusing on. So, while it’s definitely a factor, and I won’t say I disagree with you. It’s not something I’ll be discussing here. We are definitely looking at major backlash however as males get organized and get sick of reverse discrimination being abused.

    #64, Julian – Excellent information and a great point. With the growth of places like University of Phoenix, I’d speculate that our institutional/graduation rates are actually deceptive as most of the online degree programs have probably retained/created offerings for individuals that would have other dropped out/never pursued higher education.

    #66, H – Wonderful what you’re doing, congratulations and keep it up. As you move house to house, you’ll quickly buy yourself out of the system. The biggest trick for salaried employees is the money never makes it to investment. That 100k supports a 95k lifestyle in most cases. It’s nicer, but no different than the 30k lifestyle on a 35k salary. The cars get nicer, the house might get a bit nicer, a boat shows up, etc. ultimate an individuals success is based on their drive and self control. There are a lot of ways to accomplish those ends. For some, the classical route through a degree is that course. For others, it’s a self charted course making the system work for them. You’re teaching your self every bit as much as you’d learn in college as you self teach a degree.

    #67, Glenn – Thanks for the thoughts bud! You really hit the nail on the head with this comment. Really put it nice and succinctly.

    “Add to that the extraneous info I don’t want to hear about and the inability to skip ahead as I would do in an Internet based transaction makes for a very disinterested viewer. So what do I do? I find a medium that moves at my pace. I think kids are experiencing the exact same thing.”

    I agree that we’ll see interesting shifts among older generations as well. Especially as they focus on using the web to reach out socially. I remember how difficult it was for my grandparents as their old golf and poker buddies passed away. A web outlet to meet new people and reach out would have been wonderful.

    #68 & 69, Jonathan – As always thanks for a wonderful post and fantastic information. That post sounds right in line with my passions and focus. I’m eager to take a crack at it and I’ll follow up with you once I do!

    #70, Me.

    #71, Bill – Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reviewing the blog post.

    It’s very interesting to see a possible trickle down effect into other related industries.

    #72, Ukridge – That’s at the heart of the issue. Burnout is the result of pushing too hard, too long upstream. If the system was aligned with the students needs it would extend their immersion period before they ran into burnout issues.

    #73, TLA – Thanks for the thoughts! This is definitely more a story of scope than timing! It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re curious and driven =)

    #74, thoughtfulfac – Thanks for calling the piece of a masterpiece. Sorry, I seem to have lost focus and missed the rest.

    #75, Me.

    #76, Me.

    #77, Roland – Despite your rather bizarre and off base assumptions and miss-perception and rather rude tone, thank you for taking the time and energy to share your thoughts.

    A re-occurring theme throughout your comment is your odd view that because I’ve written about millennials, the web, and video games that I don’t read and am poorly read. You’re wrong and in a most entertaining way.

    I’m actually in the process of reading The Starfish and the Spider, The God Delusion and just starting to get into Mobilization Generation 2.0 which Beth Kanter and the Nonprofit Technology Network sent me as a thank you for participating in a recent wiki. That said, because of an extremely busy schedule my monthly book consumption has dropped exponentially in the last 8 months. I average between 3-800 pages currently. Several years ago when I had more time I was averaging 1-3,000 a month.

    I’ve also been lucky enough to not only enjoy classic literature and poetry but to read it on site. I’ve sat on the pebbled beat at Dover and read read Arnold’s poem just as I’ve spent time in Ancient Greek ruins reading the Iliad and the Odyssey.

    As it just so happens my father is also an author: http://www.cdescry.com and has published pieces on education as well historically based mysteries set in the southwest.

    What makes your fixation on my relationship with books that much more comical is one of my more recent posts (July 9th) which is actually on the subject of libraries: http://virtualwayfarer.com/public-libraries-in-the-digital-age/

    So despite your vanity and lack of tact, the answer to your question is Yes. I read.

    Back on topic: I find it somewhat revealing that you support the entire point of the post while trying to disprove it in no less than your third paragraph: “I never figured that anyone ever owed me an education in anything. I got bored, dropped out of high school at 17, & embarked upon my present career”. The education system failed you, and as a result you pursued your own.

    Your 4th paragraph is largely pointless and what few legitimate points sandwiched between attacks and tangents have already been raised and addressed either in the original post which you seem to have completely misunderstood or in my responses to comments.

    P#5 – I’ve already addressed.
    P#6 – Seems to largely be dedicated to establishing your literary brilliance. Congratulations, you’re even more verbose than I am. No small accomplishment.
    P#7 – I’m glad that in addition to your previous agreement you also agree with several of my other hypotheses.
    P#8 – Already covered.
    P#9 – Thank you for your relative support. Ironically, in reviewing your comment it would seem that you actually agree with or at least have provided support for just about all of my major points. The only ones you seem to really disagree with are odd strawmen you’ve created yourself.

    If you’d like to share some of the research you’ve found, I invite you to do so. However, please make sure it’s relevant to the discourse and on topic.

    Reply
  • Rod Montgomery
    August 27, 2008

    Peter Drucker, in _The Effective Executive_, observes that some people learn best by reading, others by listening. Those are the most common preferred modes of learning, but a few — Winston Churchill, for example — can learn only by *writing*; for them , conventional schooling is sheer torture. (There are other low-prevalence preferred learning modes; see the book.)

    Seems to me one key to effective education is for the student to identify which mode of learning works best for him/her, then figure out how to arrange to receive the material he/she needs to learn via that mode.

    And one key to personal effectiveness is, when one is on the transmitting side, to figure out which mode works best for one’s audience, and present the material via that mode. If the audience contains more than one receiver, one might have to present via several modes.

    An effective education *system* would make sure all material is available via all modes. It would also make sure students understand the importance of mode-matching. And it would make sure students became proficient in *presenting* material via multiple modes — at the least, via both writing and speaking.

    The relevance of this to the present topic is that it’s not a matter of one generation, or one gender, learning best via some particular learning mode, whether traditional (reading/listening) or novel (gaming, IMing), uniformly over all members of that generation or gender. It’s a matter of recognizing that individual students have different preferred learning modes, and of teaching each student the way that student learns best.

    Reply
  • Rod Montgomery
    August 26, 2008

    Peter Drucker, in _The Effective Executive_, observes that some people learn best by reading, others by listening. Those are the most common preferred modes of learning, but a few — Winston Churchill, for example — can learn only by *writing*; for them , conventional schooling is sheer torture. (There are other low-prevalence preferred learning modes; see the book.)

    Seems to me one key to effective education is for the student to identify which mode of learning works best for him/her, then figure out how to arrange to receive the material he/she needs to learn via that mode.

    And one key to personal effectiveness is, when one is on the transmitting side, to figure out which mode works best for one’s audience, and present the material via that mode. If the audience contains more than one receiver, one might have to present via several modes.

    An effective education *system* would make sure all material is available via all modes. It would also make sure students understand the importance of mode-matching. And it would make sure students became proficient in *presenting* material via multiple modes — at the least, via both writing and speaking.

    The relevance of this to the present topic is that it’s not a matter of one generation, or one gender, learning best via some particular learning mode, whether traditional (reading/listening) or novel (gaming, IMing), uniformly over all members of that generation or gender. It’s a matter of recognizing that individual students have different preferred learning modes, and of teaching each student the way that student learns best.

    Reply
  • Educating Millennials - Part II | VirtualWayfarer.com | A Place For Intellectual Musings
  • sengan
    August 30, 2008

    #70: My Bachelor’s degree in the UK (physics/computing) was deep study as I describe. Not quite as deep as my PhD, obviously, but significantly deeper and harder than high-school was. I wouldn’t qualify them as trade-skills though as it was more about learning to think than it was about learning real-world shortcuts.

    Perhaps things are different in the US at your college. I hope not, as thinking deeply is a skill one rarely gets to develop in non-academic situations.

    Reply
  • sengan
    August 29, 2008

    #70: My Bachelor’s degree in the UK (physics/computing) was deep study as I describe. Not quite as deep as my PhD, obviously, but significantly deeper and harder than high-school was. I wouldn’t qualify them as trade-skills though as it was more about learning to think than it was about learning real-world shortcuts.

    Perhaps things are different in the US at your college. I hope not, as thinking deeply is a skill one rarely gets to develop in non-academic situations.

    Reply
  • Deh.o.
    September 3, 2008

    What I’ve noted from personal experience and read in scientifically documented material is that frequently engaging in internet/gaming activities for long periods of time actually changes how your brain functions. It re-wires and bypasses mechanisms that exist. This re-wiring atrophies your ability to do other functions, like focus in a different manner, enjoy more peaceful and natural activities. I could expound greatly about this – from the lessons I learned from my son (almost 13) and how his brain, behavior and abilities changed during throughout his life when it included the internet and gaming. He’s now without his computer and all internet access for nearly 10 months, and thank god his normal (and positive!) abilities are back and improving. As much as he misses them (computer based activities), he actually admits how much happier he is now that he’s broken his addiction from them, and his brain is adapting back to a better state. And no, it IS a better state. Having mild ADHD and something commonly known as Sensory Processing Disorder, turning into a ‘native’ was destroying his few abilities to participate socially in any normal manner, as well as many other abilities needed to function in life and school. All the hard work done with PT and OT’s was being lost. Thank goodness it’s all coming back.

    I highly suggest reading a book called “The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” to get a better idea of how much control we have over how our brain functions, and then consider the fact that you DO have the ability to help yourself function in a ‘normal’ classroom environment should you desire to. THE BRAIN IS PLASTIC. Do with it what you will, but do not blame your inadequacy to be motivated or inspired on others. It’s all your choice — how do YOU choose to wire your brain, and for what better cause does it serve?

    Reply
  • Deh.o.
    September 3, 2008

    What I’ve noted from personal experience and read in scientifically documented material is that frequently engaging in internet/gaming activities for long periods of time actually changes how your brain functions. It re-wires and bypasses mechanisms that exist. This re-wiring atrophies your ability to do other functions, like focus in a different manner, enjoy more peaceful and natural activities. I could expound greatly about this – from the lessons I learned from my son (almost 13) and how his brain, behavior and abilities changed during throughout his life when it included the internet and gaming. He’s now without his computer and all internet access for nearly 10 months, and thank god his normal (and positive!) abilities are back and improving. As much as he misses them (computer based activities), he actually admits how much happier he is now that he’s broken his addiction from them, and his brain is adapting back to a better state. And no, it IS a better state. Having mild ADHD and something commonly known as Sensory Processing Disorder, turning into a ‘native’ was destroying his few abilities to participate socially in any normal manner, as well as many other abilities needed to function in life and school. All the hard work done with PT and OT’s was being lost. Thank goodness it’s all coming back.

    I highly suggest reading a book called “The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” to get a better idea of how much control we have over how our brain functions, and then consider the fact that you DO have the ability to help yourself function in a ‘normal’ classroom environment should you desire to. THE BRAIN IS PLASTIC. Do with it what you will, but do not blame your inadequacy to be motivated or inspired on others. It’s all your choice — how do YOU choose to wire your brain, and for what better cause does it serve?

    Reply
  • Sandra Dodd
    November 4, 2008

    Someone above wrote:
    “Well, how about this? If this person is so bored with education as it is, why doesn’t he do something about it?
    Become a teacher.”

    MANY former teachers who learned they couldn’t change the sedentary behemoth that is the education system have not even sent their own children to school, having seen from the outside AND the inside some of the insurmountable and growing problems.

    I have three children who were homeschooled in the ways John Holt wrote about in the 1970’s. The oldest started playing video games when he was five, and now at 22, he works for Blizzard Entertainment. But video games and jobs are only a very small part of the picture. School does damage to people, as many of the defensive, ignorant (and misspelled) comments above show.

    The printing press opened the world, and people no longer had to be students or own their own libraries (and the houses and servants to hold and maintain them) to learn. Now with the internet, they don’t even have to own the books. Learning is a whole new deal in the world today. Schools will figure it out in about twenty years. Meanwhile, there are babies being born who might not thrive in a school system designed for the 1950’s.

    Reply
  • Sandra Dodd
    November 4, 2008

    Someone above wrote:
    “Well, how about this? If this person is so bored with education as it is, why doesn’t he do something about it?
    Become a teacher.”

    MANY former teachers who learned they couldn’t change the sedentary behemoth that is the education system have not even sent their own children to school, having seen from the outside AND the inside some of the insurmountable and growing problems.

    I have three children who were homeschooled in the ways John Holt wrote about in the 1970’s. The oldest started playing video games when he was five, and now at 22, he works for Blizzard Entertainment. But video games and jobs are only a very small part of the picture. School does damage to people, as many of the defensive, ignorant (and misspelled) comments above show.

    The printing press opened the world, and people no longer had to be students or own their own libraries (and the houses and servants to hold and maintain them) to learn. Now with the internet, they don’t even have to own the books. Learning is a whole new deal in the world today. Schools will figure it out in about twenty years. Meanwhile, there are babies being born who might not thrive in a school system designed for the 1950’s.

    Reply
  • Why The Term “Multitasking” Is All Wrong | VirtualWayfarer.com | A Place For Intellectual Musings
  • golfman_story
    March 24, 2009

    What a useful and great info !! Tq very much..

    Cheers!

    Reply
  • Aelfwine
    May 31, 2009

    Okay… my classes at grad school are shockingly “one dimensional.” We actually read books and talk about them. Face to face, all of us, every age from twenty-somethings fresh out of undergrad to thirty-somethings like me to people my parents' age, faculty and students together, spanning departments and even including some undergraduates.

    And you know what? We get stuff done. We keep interested. We actually read the bloody readings. If we don't have these cretinous boys who are too busy playing video games and drowning in wikipedia to actually learn or think, then good riddance.

    I have ADD–don't give me this rubbish about multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is a curse that makes life harder for people with my condition, not easier. I need less bleeping and blooping and electronic bumf that gets in the way of what I need to do. The best way to deal with ADD, aside from the appropriate medication, is to filtre the distractions by working with paper materials, avoiding television and stripping one's computing down to bare essentials–treating the machine as a tool for working with information, rather than an end in itself.

    If our grand-children manage to maintain technological progress, rather than regressing to a standard of living more remniscent of that of our great-grandparents, if not a sort of Mad Max savagery, it will be because we find a way to cure the “digital generation” and turn them into productive and thoughtful citizens, rather than buying into this load of nonsense about “digital natives.”

    Reply
  • AlexBerger
    June 10, 2009

    I apologize for the brief delay in responding. I appreciate your taking the time and energy to weigh in on the subject.

    Your point of view is the epitome of the late 20 something and up viewpoint that this post is directly trying to respond to. Particularly since you will be in the position to teach/TA courses populated by Millennials and perhaps a few Digital Natives.

    Help me better understand you. You've identified yourself as 30 something, which makes you about 10 years older than the Millennials. As a returning grad student – I'm curious if you completed your 4 year program when you were 18-23 or recently returned to school, completed your bachelors and are now following up with your masters.

    Here's the fundamental difference. You state, “If we don't have these cretinous boys who are too busy playing video games and drowning in wikipedia to actually learn or think, then good riddance”. You're so entrenched in the Industrial model that I have a hunch you don't realize the direct contradiction there. It's not that Millennials won't do the readings. In fact, it's a whole different issue. What do you think those individuals are doing on Wikipedia? I find it amazing that you don't see the self directed, unforced learning taking place when an individual freely explores an encyclopedia with their free time. That's learning and educated curiosity like that goes much further towards learning to think than having a power point read at them ever has.

    On the subject of multi-tasking. Please search the blog for my post on Parallel Processing. I've since worked to further refine the subtle but significant differences.

    I find your last statement deeply saddening. We are on the cusp of the re-birth of modern education – a shift which will better all of those involved. I wonder where your true animosity towards technology and it's associated potential really stems from.

    Reply
  • D Reed
    June 10, 2009

    Sadly we in public education have much work to do. As a professional educator, it seems that we continue to make excuses as to why the traditional archaic system that has been ingrained in our society continues to flourish against the betterment of modern delivery methods that unfortunately intimidate teachers who find it easier to maintain the status quo rather than innovate to the need of multiple learning levels, styles and paces. The industrialized, mass production, traditional education system is cheaper and consistency, “another brick in the wall” is cheaper. Offering diverse options to small groups is expensive, harder to train staff for, and harder for teachers to manage.

    Nationally over 70% of high school student drop out. Nearly 70% of high school graduates start a post-secondary opportunity the fall after their graduation. 40% of these leave the post-secondary institution within the first year; why?

    I will not argue that there is a place for the traditional methods, but similar to the advances in education’s acceptance and molding to ADD, ADHD, ELL and other special needs students, the traditional system will either have to start thinking about the diverse needs of the millennial group or lose a large portion of their student to nontraditional delivery public education organizations. This exodus has only begun in public education as choice is now accepted, understood, and craved by parent and students. These choices although embryonic in th secondary schools, have been prevalent in post secondary for quite some time. Diverse schedules, delivery times, competency methods, and paces have been common to post-secondary for quite some time.

    One dimensional delivery systems will work for some, but learning happens in multi-dimensional methods; hearing, seeing, and interacting. How many college classes could deliver the same content and produce the same results in varied increments of time or through varied methods of learning. I’m afraid the traditional system does not want the answer. I think we will get stuff done in many paradigms. It really is what fits best for the students leaning style and pace. Not only will this vary by students but by individual courses in each student’s schedule.

    Personally “reading the bloody readings” is a much distorted statement. I highly doubt the entire class reads all the readings. Also I lean a lot from Wikipedia. Not to say it is fact or fiction, but what is research? Research designs raise more questions. For every finding you can usually find other research finds that refute it; particularly in areas of education.
    I also have extensive experience with ADD and other special needs students. Not sure if I agree with the ideal that bleeping, “blooping”, and electronic “bumf” got in the way of what these students needed to do. I actually was thankful for the alternative delivery options for students that needed a chance to learn in different ways, in different schedules and in different environments.

    The masses are speaking and business will foster the educational paradigms of the future. Just look at the balance sheets for charter schools and nontraditional education organizations such as U of P. Traditional education has done a poor job academically and economically. There are plenty of research studies to back that up.

    Reply
  • AlexBerger
    June 10, 2009

    Great comment. Thank you for weighing in and your contributions to the discussion!

    Reply
  • refinance_uk
    October 19, 2009

    That's the great article! I just pass 'n read it, two thumbs up! 😉

    Reply
  • refinance_uk
    October 19, 2009

    That's the great article! I just pass 'n read it, two thumbs up! 😉

    Reply
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