IT Directors: The Gap Btwn Adults and Kids on Technology

The IT Director at my school asked me to speak at a meeting of Bay Area private school tech directors on the topic of the growing disconnect between young people and adults (specifically educators) when it comes to technology. I spent 20 minutes there this morning and didn’t have much profound to say. In fact, I was so exhausted from this past week (tests, games, meetings, calls…repeat 3 times) that I went into “rhetoric” mode. I’m fortunate to be able to sound articulate. I’m fortunate to be able to mask any nervousness and deliver a speech or presentation without fidgeting or stumbling (for the most part). The upside to this is obvious. This morning for example I didn’t prepare really at all and can’t remember much. But words came out, they sounded ok, and people were impressed I think. “Rhetoric mode” is rare and a sign that I need to recharge my batteries.

A couple interesting points discussed – one person said how kids of today don’t realize how public they live their lives when they have blogs or photos online etc. I said “BS. Kids know.” After a little elaboration I added that through my blog I am striving for a lot of transparency and honesty with the outside world. The guy responded “Ben, you’ve chosen to live your life like that. None of us in this room ever did that when we were young.”

Another asked if blogs, IM, email, etc. has contributed to the decline in writing skills. Again, for the sake of argument, I disagreed (discussions like this go nowhere when everyone agrees) and said that the more writing you do, the better it gets. Period. (I actually don’t agree with this. I think IM and email has contributed to a decline in writing and grammar at all ages. But I’m sick of kids saying “I don’t know how to spell anymore because of computers. Come on, that’s a personal choice.”)

Overall, my key point was that everybody (adults) seems to be throwing their hands up and declaring that the “understanding gap” btwn adults and Millenials on technology is huge and, thus, unsolvable. It’s not that hard of a problem. It would be great if an entrepreneur set out to solve it.

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