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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Communicating with the Class of 2016

Each August for the past 14 years, Beloit College, a small liberal arts school in my home state of Wisconsin, has released their Mindset List for the incoming class. Originally created to help faculty "beware of dated references," it is now eagerly awaited throughout the world. The website gets over a million hits each year. 

For boomers, like me, who grew up with typewriters, mimeograph machines and Howdy Doody, the world the class of 2016 lives in is phenomenal and a bit surreal. 

Just think, those born in 1994 probably never had a paper airplane ticket, looked up a topic in a set of bound encyclopedias, listened to music on an 8-track or took a photograph with a film camera. They don't carry their luggage through airports -- they roll it. They don't type -- they text. The year the class of 2016 was born, Apple introduced the first Macintosh computer to use the new PowerPC Microprocessor, Bill Clinton delivered his first state of the union address and NFL star O.J. Simpson fled from the police in a white Ford Bronco. For them, Richard Nixon, Kurt Cobain and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis have always been dead. 

The class of 2016 lives in a 24/7 news cycle but doesn't read newspapers. They watch television everywhere but on a television set, and they get most of their information online at the time and place of their choosing. Their smart phones have more capability than the building-size computers of my day. Most of the incoming class of '16 enter college with some hearing loss. And the list goes on.
To see the entire list, go to:

What icons resonate for you when you think about the Class of 2016?

~ Paula

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