NELINET IT Conference 2006–Speaking the Language of the Millennials

Speaking the Language of the Millennials

Elisabeth E. Tully, Michael Blake, and Sara Ciaburri
Phillips Academy
Oliver Wendell Holmes Library
and independent high school

Hear to talk about their kids

Millennials born after 1981

Who are these kids?
Digital Natives–Mark Prensky
Like to receive information fast
like graphics before text
prefer random (hypertext) access
function best when networked
thrive on instant gratification
prefer games to serious work

Phillips Academy freshman class born in 1992
Google has always been a verb
have rarely mailed anything with a stamp

They really do thing differently
Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures
10,000 hours playing video games
20000 hours watching television
200,000 emails and IMs sent

We are facing a language barrier
How serious is this language barrier?
89% of college students begin research with a search engine
2% begin research with a library

Virtual Orientation course inside Blackboard
more than 75% voluntarily completed the activities
each participant had the chance to win an iPOD
used TRAILS to measure assessment
mean scores were really terrible, and Phillips kids are very high-achieving

The Dilemma
How to get the attention of kids who need but don’t know if when we don’t speak the same language

We have to be where they are

We have to change, but we’ve always done it this way
It’s hard being a digital immigrant

What should we do?
We have to communicate in their language

Web 2.0 can be that language
rich interactivity

Opportunities provided by web 2.0 and Library 2.0

Phillips experimenting with Web 2.0 tools

Give them a Google-like interface
–federated searching

Planning assignments
–trying to use open source software as a assignment planner
–put in a date the assignment is due, gives you twelve steps
–provides constant email reminders
–assignemnt planner came from University of Minnesota

Electronic Reserves
–offer 24/7 access via Blackboard

Social Networking adn Millennials
–library 2.0 opportunity–become their friend

Social Software
MySpace–as site for everyone
–anyone with an email address

–a bit more restricted

–based on home video

–social photographs

What they all have in common:

Why are millenials drawn to these sites?
Freedom–adults aren’t supervising

Oliver Wendell Holmes Library has a MySpace account
but the students aren’t on MySPace

87% of PA students have a Facebook account
so they created a Facebook library profile
Use the wall to answer reference question

they use TypePad
Student Advisor Committee blog
Collabortory blog

Library ELF
keep tabs on your library material
send you due date notices through email of text messages

Opportunities for the future
Develop wiki-based resource guides
Audiobooks on iPODS

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the communities and conversations they make possible
–Christopher Harris, School Library Journal, 5/1/2006

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