A generation gap?

Funny how you never know where you mind will go. I meant to leave a short comment on Warlick’s post about Leaving Flock and ended up writing a  three paragraph comment.

It just kind of happened. Here’s part of the comment that I want to expand on:

I know a lot of people who tried using Flock, me included, who have switched back over to the Fox. What fascinates me though is that (I’m trying not to sound ageist here) my generation seems to have given up on it before your generation. I know a lot of people my age who used it for a week, maybe two, got frustrated and went back to the Fox. I tried it twice because people were talking about how great it was and little things just frustrated me. You are the 3 person in your generation this week that have given up/moved back to the Fox.

What does that say? My generation doesn’t have the patience to work through/stay with a developing program? That we become frustrated with web tools that aren’t perfect the first time we use them. I then think about my students and when I compare myself to them, I have loads of patience with computers and software compared to their one click, didn’t work, forget about it attitude. I think about the software that is big with this generation. Myspace and youtube were great sites when they launched not very buggy and easy to use…is that what made them popular? When you have grown up with this technology, when it’s what you know do you have less tolerance when it doesn’t work? I think of my generation with TV. It’s always been color and I can barely remember it without a remote…so if the remote is missing, yes the TV is broken.

Is this a generation gap? As I was writing this I was thinking to myself how many times we say that today’s kids have no patience. I was thinking about all the trouble I was having with Elgg in our classes and how the students hated it when the program had an error. Of course they didn’t understand it, but they didn’t need to…things are just suppose to work and if they don’t, then you don’t use them. That’s the way they view the Internet and the programs they use on it. If I was designing a program today, I think I would keep it in beta a little longer before releasing it to the public, because once they are turned off of it, they don’t want to go back. I think of my generation and the TV. We had a black and white TV growing up…it was the one my parents gave us for our Atari. We had to go buy a special adapter to get it to work, but we did. By the time I was 10 we had the old living room TV that was color, and the sound quality out of that one little speaker was great! I’m trying to remember though how old I was when we got our first TV with a remote (My mom reads this sometimes…maybe she’ll remember) I’m pretty sure I was still in grade school, so it’s a safe bet to say for over half my life I haven’t known a TV without a remote. I think about our students today…about that 1st grader that will always have flat screen monitors, Flatscreen HD TVs. I have more patience with software/hardware, I think, because I’ve grown up with it, I’ve seen it evolve and I can marvel at how far we’ve come. Our students don’t know that, they don’t know computers before Windows 98. The Internet has always been there and software and sites should just work. Just like I expect a TV to work, and how my father expects the telephone to work.

Do we have patience when the phone breaks? Do we try and fix it? I’d bet most of us don’t we just go buy a new one. How about your TV? If it breaks, do you open it up, look inside and see if it works? Or do you buy a new one? My generation (as a generality) probably just goes and buys a new one. We don’t want to fuss with it, we don’t really understand how it works, we just want it to work! How is that different than our student today on the Internet? Is that what makes or breaks a web site. A website that ‘Just Works’ is bound to be popular? I think del.icio.us is a perfect example. There is nothing fancy about del.icio.us. In fact the web site itself is pretty plain, but it works, and because of that it’s popular. Myspace? YouTube? FaceBook? Google?

What do our students have patience for?

  • Waiting for a game to load
  • Waiting for a web site to load
  • Waiting for a computer to start up
  • Waiting for a text message to send
  • Waiting for the wireless to connect
  • Waiting for an iPod to update

David Warlick spent months working with Flock, I spent about two weeks, how long would a student wait?

[tags]patience, generations[/tags]

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