Do they need to learn the old way, or do we need to adapt to the new?

During my conversations with colleagues about a world without e-mail, the Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014 came up. One of the points from the list that was brought to my attention was that this generation

“will need to acquire the patience of scholarship. They will discover how to research information in books and journals and not just on-line.”

This is obviously written by someone coming from the perspective that these new students need to learn the old ways of doing things, that the old ways are inherently better because they are, well, old. (Maybe “existing” or “proven” would be more palatable, take your pick.) But I would be willing to bet that this generation, or one not too distant, will be the one to make “patience of scholarship” a thing of the past and the distinction between “books and journals” and “online” disappear.

Schools, like business, need to accept that the evolution of technology, and the generations that grow up with that technology, will result in significant changes and do what they can to ride the wave of those changes, instead of thinking that they need to do what they can to mitigate the effects of the technology so they can continue to do things the way they’ve always done them.

If the rising generation is not using e-mail, because it is too slow, etc, do we really want to go out of our way to make them use it and, in the process, slow them down?

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