Want to learn a bit about the students who are entering college right now and infer a bit about digital kids at other ages? Check out this year’s Beloit College Mindset list for the class of 2017.
Started in 1998 by two faculty members at Beloit, the list was originally created as a way for faculty and staff at the college to learn more about how easy it is for adults talk about things that they take for granted but that their students don’t know. The website includes past years’ lists.
As parents and teachers, we gain far more credibility with digital-age children when we understand that many of the things we refer to are not a part of their mindset, and when we make an effort to understand the context of their young lives.
A Few of My Favorite Items from This Year’s Mindset List
At the beginning of each academic year, several faculty members at Beloit compile a list to demonstrate how students in the entering freshman college class experience life, learning, and culture differently from many of the adults they know. Some items are silly, others compare digital kids with their parents’ generation; some I don’t understand; and others I can fit into a bit of context, but they are mostly unfamiliar to me.
The list’s mission is to remind educators and parents that it takes energy and openness to new literacies to understand how dramatically the “growing-up” and learning processes change over time (and many of these have nothing to do with digital life).
Over the course of a school year I often chat with adults about their digital kids. Most parents are enthusiastic, perhaps even astounded about the digital changes that occur every day in their lives. Yet, they also admit to feeling confused, worried, and even a bit befuddled. Often I find parents reflecting on how committed parents — who understand the importance of these digital changes — are supposed to keep track of the constantly changing digital landscape?
As a 22 year veteran in the educational technology world, I like to sift through articles, seek out references and discover resources that can help people — especially the parents of my students — understand more about the digital world. I read articles, watch videos, listen to stories, and keep an eye out for interesting research. It makes sense to share them on a blog. When I think about a post, I ask the question, “If I were a parent of a digital kid, what might I want to learn about?”
Each year I pass along the Beloit College Mindset list to just about everyone I know. Compiled by Professor Tom McBride and colleague Ron Nief at Beloit College, the list is a set of observations about the entering freshman class — designed to help the Beloit faculty understand a bit more about the thinking and the experiences of their new students. This year’s entering students are in the class of 2014.
According to the Mindset List introduction, “The college class of 2014 reminds us, once again, that a generation comes and goes in the blink of our eyes, which are, like the rest of us, getting older and older.” Read about the history and background of the Mindset List which Professor McBride has been compiling since 1998.