It’s that time again. The time when adults read the annual Beloit College Mindset List and get a reality check when they’re reminded how old they really are. Brace yourselves, the list for the class of 2021 came out today.
The list item that got me this year? No. 51 – Justin Timberlake has always been a solo act? So you’re telling me that this year’s college freshmen didn’t grow up doing the choreography to ‘Bye Bye Bye’ in the car? Don’t laugh at me – you know you did it, too.
My favorite item this year is No. 49 – There has always been a Monster in their corner when looking for jobs. Which reminds me ...
Gets me every time.
List authors Ron Nief, Tom McBride and Charles Westerberg chronicle the widening generational gap each year between faculty and students and the need for instructors to “watch their references” as they’re fond of saying.
Nief said in an NPR interview a few years ago that when they started it, he'd heard of a professor making a reference to Watergate, and a student responded she knew what that was. It's where Monica Lewinski had an apartment.
Wow. Time marches on.
Which brings us to the list for the Class of 2021 – the 20th anniversary of the Beloit Mindset List. We were thrilled to webcast it this year for the 10th year in a row.
It's no surprise technology has always played a key role for the students of the Mindset List. And undoubtedly their use of technology both inside and outside of the classroom will continue to expand. This year the authors say:
- They are the first generation for whom a “phone” has been primarily a video game, direction finder, electronic telegraph, and research library.
- By the time they entered school, laptops were outselling desktops.
- Electronic signatures have always been as legally binding as the pen-on-paper kind.
- It is doubtful that they have ever used or heard the high-pitched whine of a dial-up modem.
- College students have never considered bringing a tape recorder to class. Courses have always been captured and streamed online.
- Cramming for a test has always meant watching every lecture at double speed.
- Papers have always included citations linked to Mediasite presentations.
- Students have always taken time stamps instead of notes, so they can go back and watch the lecture from their index.
- Both classes and conferences have always had blended, hybrid, virtual or strictly online sections.
- Mediasite has always been a verb, as in "I've got a lot of mediasiting to do." (Yeah, I went there. Just couldn't resist. But we're not the only ones who have.)
Well, that's a start. What would be on your Mindset List of the Future? And how do you think classroom technology is shaping the lives of today's freshmen?
Read the full list here.