Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cultural updates

Doesn't time fly? For many of us the breakup of the Soviet Union feels like a recent event and internet is still new technology. An article in Times Higher Education reports on an American college that has written a cultural update for the teaching staff to remind them that teachers' reference points are no longer undestood by the students (Beloit College Mindset List). For students born in 1991 the EU has always existed, the iron curtain is a vaguely understood archaism and cellphones, cable TV and internet have always been around.

Of course that's the whole digital natives phenomenon but this light-hearted list does bring home a few points to me. It's so easy to talk about concepts like "eastern bloc" and not realize that we're talking to people who have no idea what we mean. If we do make such references we have to be prepared to explain the background.

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