My talk to the high school students went very well. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions. I worked a lot of your comments into my talk.
Talking to a high school seniors made me remember my first year as a freshman working on my bachelors degree. When I went to college, the internet was just becoming something you could get access to outside of the academic world. Netscape was the hub for finding anything else on the web and the only way to check your email in your dorm was to signup with AOL or a local BBS system.
Out of a campus of 5000 students in 1995, I was the only student with a cellphone (I did a lot of work for a health care system and they needed to be able to get a hold of me). I wonder what percentage of students have mobile phones now.
Freshman at college today expect to have highspeed connection in their dorm and possibly wireless access covering the entire campus. It is quite a different environment. While the internet is a wonderful tool, I wonder if it really helps students learn more.
The convenience of all this wonderful technology is offset by the distraction level.
My first few years of college, research involved going to the library, looking things up on the card catalog computer and then manually finding the physical resources or the CDROMs the resources were stored on. This was a slow process and the amount you could review in a single hour was very low by today’s standards. However, it was a very focused time. There were no incoming emails, chat windows, SMS, phone calls or pop-up banners trying to get my attention.
Just because a particular piece of technology has the ability to make you more productive doesn’t mean that, in practice, it won’t actually make you less productive.