This is impossible to keep up with, but in
general, the idea remains the same. times change, and things change.
The things we as adults grew up with and thought were important and cool, and perhaps
still do, are quite irrelevant to the current generation. It's really not
very different from when we were young and starting college or were in high
school. The culture of the previous generation was also rather irrelevant to
us. But having said that, here is my take as we approach June 13, 2014.
The young men and women who will start college in the Fall of 2014 were
born in 1996. However...
They were only five years old on 9/11/2001.
They were only one years
old when I began the ADPRIMA website in 1997.
All Star Trek TV and most Star Trek movies are ancient history.
They have never really used "floppy
They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up. It
was ten years before they were born.
Twitter, Instagram, Texting, Facebook, YouTube, and Myspace are part
of their daily lives
Almost all phones they use have no wires.
Smart phones are taken for granted, and
all phones have cameras.
They likely have never heard of Atari,
the Commodore 64, or Pac Man.
They've never known really "bad times" until of course, beginning
with 2008, when they were 12.
Texting is a way of life.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
The CD was introduced six years before they were born.
They have always had a digital answering machine
They have always had cable or satellite TV.
They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
They don't know and don't care who Mork was or where he was from.
They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a
Camel", or "de plane Boss, de plane".
To many of them, Britney Spears is old, and Madonna is ancient.
They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is.
McDonald's never served
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
Below is an earlier version
Students beginning college in the
Fall of 2000 were born in 1982. While many college teachers lament the
skills and knowledge of these students, let’s take a look at what the world
may mean to them in terms of their familiarity with the culture. Many of
these young men and women will major in education and someday become
teachers. If arguably one task of teachers is to play a part in the
transmission of the culture and heritage, then the crucial question of the
culture and sense of heritage being transmitted must be answered. While
there are many exceptions, in general the following describes many, if not
most entering college students.
These students have no meaningful
recollection of the Reagan era, and do not know he had ever been shot. They
were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged. Black Monday in 1987
is as meaningful to them as the Great Depression.
They were 11 when the Soviet Union
broke apart and do not remember the Cold War. There has been only one Pope,
and they have never feared a nuclear war. CCCP is just a bunch of letters to
them, and they have only known one Germany. They are too young to remember
the Challenger exploding and Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
Their lifetimes have always
included AIDS, smallpox is unknown to them, they have never had a polio shot
and likely do not know what it is.
Bottle caps have always been
screw-off. They do not know what a pull-top can looks like. Cars have always
used unleaded gas, and the word "carburetor" is unknown to them. Gas
stations have always been self-service.
Atari predates them as do vinyl
albums. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to
them. They have never owned a record player. Star Wars looks very fake and
the special effects are pathetic.
The compact disk was introduced
when they were one year old. As far as they know, stamps always cost at
least 32 cents. Zip Codes have always had a dash in them. They have always
had an answering machine. Most have never seen a TV with only 13 channels,
nor have they seen a black-and-white TV. They have always had cable. They
cannot fathom not having remote control.
They never took a swim and thought
about "Jaws." They have never seen Larry Bird play, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
is a football player. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as
W.W.I, W.W.II, or even the Civil War. They have no idea Americans were ever
held hostage in Iran.
December 7, 1941 means nothing to
them. Omaha Beach? They didn’t know Omaha had a beach, but they’re glad it
does. They don’t know what Tarawa or Iwo Jima were about and Hiroshima and
Nagasaki are probably places where they make Japanese cars.
They know nothing specific about
Gandhi, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, FDR, or Jefferson Davis. Charlemagne and
Saladin are unknown to them. The significance of the Crusades or even when
they occurred is a mystery. The "New Deal" is probably about some upcoming
sale somewhere, and it’s not clear just where the Panama Canal is located.
As far as the Suez Canal is concerned, fuggiddaboutit.
This is a small slice, a glimpse as
it were of the "knowledge" students bring to college. Mathematics, science,
and literature are other matters. One may reasonably expect that the next
generation of teachers, those who are now replacing and will continue to
replace the graying, retiring "Baby Boomer" teachers will be transmitting a
culture and sense of heritage largely unrecognizable to their "Baby Boomer"