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Technology Across Generations Is E-Mail So Yesterday? Engaging the "Digital Native“ Students an Parents It goes without saying that each generation of.

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Presentation on theme: "Technology Across Generations Is E-Mail So Yesterday? Engaging the "Digital Native“ Students an Parents It goes without saying that each generation of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Technology Across Generations Is So Yesterday? Engaging the "Digital Native“ Students an Parents It goes without saying that each generation of students and their parents approach their daily lives from different perspectives and with different modes and styles of communication. Yet interestingly, their relationships have never been stronger. And our graduate students - can they get any more diverse in terms of ethnic and generational cultures? Are we, as educational institutions, immigrating to the new world that they function in, or are we still attempting to interact in more traditional ways? New technologies, (e.g., Chat, Podcasts, My Space, IM, Blogs, Texting, etc.) guide how these students and families approach their lives. Learn about these generational differences and see how some schools are re-thinking how they engage and serve their clients. Steven Todd Bryant Director of Financial Aid Outreach University of Southern California

2 What we will cover today: Introduction: Millennials are here! Is obsolete? The Generations Boomers Gen Xers Millennials (a.k.a. Nexters, Echo-Boomers, Gen Y) Technology Across the Generations How do the generations respond to technology (how does technology alter how they approach their lives) Parental Expectations & The Parent Factor: Helicopter Parents (Boomer) and Stealth Fighter Parents (Gen Xers) Technological Options for Millennials Graduate Students: A Very Different Audience Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

3 Millennials are here! Wherever you are in university life, you face a choice: You can either ignore this breaking Millennial student wave by treating today’s collegians as you did the last generation or you can embrace the wave and alter how your institution engages these students. What should a college do to cope with these new students? Should admissions, financial aid, campus-life and the classroom experience be altered?

4 Two Books You Must Read Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2000) Generations at Work. Denver: Performance Research Associates Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2007) Millennials Go to College, 2 nd Edition. New York: Amacom

5 What do we know about Millennials? In the current decade, college administrators need to adjust their institutions to a new crop of students who are: – Very close to their parents – Focused on grades and performance – Intensely focused on the college admission and financial aid process – Packing their resumes with extracurricular and summer activities – Talented in digital mobile-technologies, capable of multi-tasking and interested in interactive learning – Insistent on secure and regulated environments – Respectful of norms and institutions – Numerous and very intent on going to college

6 Millennials have no knowledge of pre-digital age Millennials are the first post-stone age for whom communication has never centered on a pen or pencil Technology but how the Millennials interact Millennials view technology more as a communal networking tool

7 On the inside, the digital Millennials are breeding a new social order by using technology for ‘sharing, creating and validating via peer networks or social networking’.” From MySpace-Facebook $200 Billion ‘Digital Millennials’ article on ZdNet (October 11, 2006).

8 Is Obsolete? This is the most technological savvy generation in the history of the world. We, as education institutions, are already moving away from snail mail and paper publications. Should educational institutions do away with e- mail and adopt alternate communication channels such as text messaging, instant messaging, blogs, My Space, Podcasts, etc…?

9 Are there any other factors we should be examining? Parents? Before we answer the million dollar question, “Is Obsolete?”, let’s look at the other generations involved. Let’s define the generations. Let’s see how the other generations might influence how educational institutions uses technology to engage Millennial students.

10 The Generations

11 The Baby Boomers (Boomers) – Born between – 73.2 million people Generation Xers (Gen Xers) – Born between – 70.1 million people Millennials (Gen Y, Nexters, Echo-Boomers) – Born between – 69.7 million people Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

12 Boomers growing up in the 50’s and 60’s The economy was the healthiest in U.S. history The middle class swelled with high employment and rising wages 50% of the veterans of WWII attended college on the GI Bill The public school system was said to have hit its peak Campus protests and civil rights movements were based on the belief that this generation truly could make a difference (political optimism) Over 75% of children grew up in Leave It To Beaver type households with mom at home Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

13 Boomers Memorabilia and Core Values Memorabilia – Ed Sullivan Show – Fallout Shelters – Poodle Skirts – Slinkies – TV Dinners – Laugh-In – The Mod Squad – The Peace Sign Core Values – Optimism – Team orientation – Personal gratification – Health and wellness – Personal growth – Work Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

14 Gen Xers Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s Economically tough times The stock marked dropped 22% Interest rates climbed and unemployment increased The country faced a fuel crisis The public school system was outdated and under funded 50% of children came home from school in the afternoon and were on their own; television as foster parent Kids watched idols and institutions crumble (Watergate, Spiro T. Agnew, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart) = (Political Pessimism) 50% of children watched their own parents divorce Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

15 Gen Xers Memorabilia and Core Values Memorabilia – The Brady Bunch – Star Wars – Pet Rocks – Platform Shoes – Dynasty – E.T. – Cabbage Patch Dolls Core Values – Question authority – Diversity – Thinking globally – Balance (work/fun) – Techno-literacy – Self-reliance – Skeptical Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

16 Millennials growing up in the 80’s and 90’s The economy was mixed Technology exploded Sometimes called Echo-Boomers because they share the optimism of the Boomers Busy, over planned lives Stress to succeed and excel Clinton/Lewinsky Columbine Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

17 Millennials Memorabilia and Core Values Memorabilia – Barney – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Beanie Babies – Spice Girls – South Park – Oprah and Rosie Core Values – Family – Trust in authority – Optimism – Civic duty – Confidence – Achievement – Morality Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

18 What Other Generations say about Boomers What Gen Xers say about Boomers – They’re workaholics (success = long hours, not outcome) – They’re too political, always trying to figure out just what to say…to whom…and when – Lighten up; it’s only a job – What’s the management fad of the week? – They’re clueless What Millennials say about Boomers – They’re cool. – They work too much Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

19 What Other Generations say about Gen X What Boomers say about Gen X: – They’re slackers – They are rude and lack social skills – They’re always doing things their own way – They spend too much time on the internet, and text messaging – They won’t wait their turn – They’re too skeptical What Millennials say about Gen X: – Cheer up! Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

20 What Other Generations say about Millennials What Boomers say about Millennials: – They’re cute – They need more discipline from their parents – They can set the time on the VCR! (what’s a VCR?) – They need to learn to entertain themselves; they need too much attention – Can they do my web page for me? What Gen X say about Millennials – Echo-Boomers – Here we go again…another self-absorbed generation of spoiled brats – What do you mean, What’s an album? Boomers Gen Xers Millennials

21 Technology Across the Generations How do the generations respond to technology (how does technology alter how they approach their lives) Boomers find technology helpful but it is not always their first instinct – What happens when the internet goes down at work: Find other non-technical things to do Gen Xers depend heavily on technology but they are Skeptical about almost everything – What happens when the internet goes down at work: Complain, get frustrated, stew Millennials see technology as the air they breathe, essential to every aspect of life – What happens when the internet goes down at work: Can we go home?

22 Generational Use of Technology Boomers – Those who have chosen to embrace technology, use e- mail, as they are exposed to new technology, if they see value to it, they may embrace it. They still like paper. Gen X – Use , text-messaging, blogs, instant-messaging, and rely on a combination of Boomer old-fashioned socializing and Millennial social networking. Millennials – It’s the air they breathe. To be human = to be a digital native. Born to be Wired (wireless)

23 Millennials Depend Heavily on their Parents (both Boomer and Gen X parents) Millennials make decisions jointly with demanding parents (“co-purchasing” a college) and believe in big brands (with reputation counting for a lot). They are very numerous, very intent on going to college, and look forward to planned career path. Millennials feel a “trophy kid” pressure to excel.

24 Embrace Millennial Technology & Respect Generational Differences of the Parent Yes, we need to begin to re-think how we engage and provide service to students. But, before we abandon older technologies and ways of doing business, we need to remember that we are working with a generational team: – Millennial + Boomer Parent (Helicopter Parent) – Millennial + Gen X Parent (Stealth Fighter Parent)

25 Helicopter & Stealth Fighter Parents Meet the moms and dads – whom Wake Forest official Mary Gerardy coined as “helicopter parents,” always hovering – ultra protective, unwilling to let go, enlisting “the team” (physician, lawyer, psychiatrist, financial planner). Where once parents simply unloaded the station wagon on move-in day, kissed the kid good-bye, and drove home, now they linger for days – fussing, meddling, crying, and even ranting if they think their very special child isn’t getting the very best of everything. When they don’t get their way, some threaten to take their business elsewhere or sue.

26 As Gen-X Stealth Fighter parents emerge as the predominant parent type over the next few years, colleges should expect these “annoying” trends to intensify.– Millennials Go to College A word of caution: – If you find this annoying you will be frustrated – Respect the parents of this incredible generation

27 More Generational Expectations/Trends Gen-X parents will expect to get what they are paying for. Boomers and Gen-X parents will have expected their “trophy” children to get full ride scholarships with no back-up plan. With instant technology come highly unreasonable service expectations.

28 Implications for Student Services – Students and parents are customers who actively compare programs and make “family” choices – A 24x7 customer service culture – Cyber service and instant response demanded – Millennials accept authority and respect institutions, along with "zero tolerance" for institutional failure

29 Is Obsolete? Is Losing Its Effectiveness? – People are more and more unwilling to share their address – Students do not check their official university – Spam filters intercept legitimate – Millennials prefer IM and texting – Growth of alternate communications channels

30 Alternate Communications Channels

31 Technology Options for Our Students Text Messaging RSS Web Portal Digital Print Telephone Online Application Social Networking Campus Events Letters via Snail Mail Virtual Advisor Live Events Chat/IM Blogs

32 Technological Options for Millennials Facebook, MySpace, YouTube – Social networking, (teens and college students), join to interact online – When you “join” you make “friends” and interact via messages and blogs – Your “profile” lets the world, (literally), know who you are. – MySpace is the H.S. “teen” hangout – Facebook is the College Student place to be – Should your School have a MySpace page? – Should your School have a YouTube page? The USC YouTube site is controlled more strictly than YouTube's main site: The USC YouTube homepage does not allow comments on its videos.

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34 Technological Options for Millennials Blogs – Blogs are everywhere – Many of our Admissions colleagues are using them – USC is considering a controlled Financial Aid Blog for parent/student testimonials (edited / monitored)

35 Technological Options for Millennials Podcasts – Audio (and some video) snippets (3-5 minutes) that can be played on a computer or Audio/Video player (ipods, etc) Campus Tours Student and Parent Testimonials Managing the Family Contribution Applying for your Stafford Loan

36 Technological Options for Millennials IM / Text Messaging – Instant Messaging – AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk – Many institutions use IM for internal staff-to- staff communication – Text Messaging?

37 Technological Options for Millennials Live Chat – Two types Scheduled chats in a chat room –FERPA nightmare Live and secure one on one chats –One staff member with 4 or 5 chats open at one time –FERPA compliant – Special Event Chats Tonight from 7-9 chat with the Financial Aid Staff

38 Technological Options for Millennials Brain implants to remind students to meet deadlines Time Machines for late applicants Flying Cars for people who drive from San Diego to LA without an appointment only to arrive at 4:59pm Protective Force Fields for staff when handling difficult parents of Millennials

39 Don’t Abandon High Touch!

40 Case Study: Online Appointments University of Southern California 32,000 students 19,000 financial aid applicants Online appointments = high tech / high touch customer service

41 We can generate appointments as far or little in advance as possible – Academic Year: 1 week – March / April: 30 days – May-July: 60 days

42 Step One: Client selects date and time for appointment (system only offers time slots) Step Two: Client inputs reservation information Step Three: Client receives confirmation as well as reminder 3 days prior to appointment (each with cancellation option)

43 Change of Behavior: Appointments advertised on the web, at presentations (e.g., Orientation), and by counselor referral Benefits: High-touch meets high-tech; increased quality of life for clients and staff

44 Graduate Students A Very Different Audience

45 Characteristics of the New Graduate Student Very technologically savvy Very close to their parents Make personal decisions jointly with family members Not your graduate student of yesterday New FERPA issues

46 Graduate Students and Parental Influence “The number one thing to realize with the Millennials is that as a whole they reflect much more parental perfectionism than any generation in living memory. Colleges and universities should know that they are not just getting a kid, but they are also getting a parent.” William Strauss Author, Millennials Rising

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48 Millennial Parent Characteristics Idealist Passionate Protective Involved Concerned Intelligent Demanding Prioritize education Knowledgeable about college experience Sense of entitlement – high cost of attendance – regard for student as children, not adults Basic concerns are priority Expect to be involved from admission to graduation

49 Language and Tone True or False? Graduate students are adults so the language on our website and in our publications should be sophisticated – A graduate degree is the new bachelor’s degree; more and more students going right into graduate school; progressive degree programs – There are probably more twenty-something than thirty- something – Their parents are engaged and may even come in their place (living vicariously) – The language and tone should be geared toward a younger more savvy millennial audience

50 Q & A This is a green presentation No trees were killed For a PDF of this presentation, Steve Bryant at

51 Deep Thoughts "One thing a computer can do that most humans can't is be sealed up in a cardboard box and sit in a warehouse." – Jack Handey


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