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More Generation Gaps in Technology Than Ever Before

2010 January 11
by Richard N. Landers
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A recent article in the New York Times discusses a new situation with technology – increasingly short generations in terms of familiarity with technology.  For the first time, even relatively close siblings are having entirely different experiences:

“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”

I think this foreshadows a larger problem facing technology-enhanced training and education; as the technology skills that trainees and college students come in with become increasingly heterogeneous, it will be more difficult for instructors to design courses in line with those students’ expectations.

Personally, I think this is the most troubling part, as stated by Dr. Larry Rosen:

“They’ll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have growing up.”

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