Round the circle again

Today is day 2 of the first session of StART OWU, our pre-orientation session for incoming freshman. This is my fourth summer assisting them with changing their password and logging in to our systems for the first time. It’s exciting getting to help them access the many IT resources we provide, welcoming them to OWU, and seeing the enthusiasm and excitement they bring to campus as new students.

As my eldest son just graduated from OWU last month, this summer has been rife with reflection on rites of passage and the passage of time. I also just read Rebecca Nathan’s My Freshman Year and have a deeper appreciation for the student perspective.

And yet I’m failing to draw any conclusions. The students are youthful and bright. Many are remarkably tech-savvy. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors. They’re bringing PC laptops, MacBooks, iPhones, iPod Touches, Android smartphones, and the occasional eReader. Thankfully, our network and apps haven’t changed much since last year so everything is going smoothly other than a minor hold-up this morning. I can’t complain. (Right now it’s quiet, giving me the space to write and reflect.)

I was just catching up with my Reader feeds and came across this piece on the affects of technology on the young. This got me thinking about the fast pace of technological change and its lesser-known impact. Incoming students are highly likely to have had a hand-held electronic device as a young child and to have grown up surrounded by them and by all the resources–good and bad–that the Internet delivers. These are our students, our customers, our charges. And, if we’re lucky, we will learn something from them.

What are your views on the class of 2016 and their acclimation to technology?

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