Apple Keynote…no…not that one

Yes, I am in San Francisco and yes I am at a conference where a representative from Apple is the Keynote speaker but no…it’s not Macworld. I am at the Winter 2009 ICT Educator conference. The ICT organization is an expanding group of academic professionals and industry experts who share a common goal or ensuring a quality and industry-relevant education for all Information and Communication Technology (ICT)students.

Jon Burgess of Apple presenting to ICT Educators.

So the keynote was by Jon Burgess of Apple who did an excellent job outlining what educators should focus on for the future. He spoke a great deal about the disconnect between student technology expectations and the technology available in community college and university classrooms. He spoke about students feeling that walking into a classroom was like boarding an airplane where all the technology is turned off for the duration of the flight (or classroom). He indicated technology can be better integrated into the classroom. While it may seem a bit self-serving, I think it is wonderful that a major technology company is focusing on education.
Four types of people who are learners.

One of his first slides was right up my alley, it had 4 different types of people:

  • Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Gen Y
  • Tweens (10-12)

Jon indicated that Gen Y is more ethinically diverse than any generation before. Gen Y has 79 million individuals which is one million more than the number of Boomers. 94% of them use the Internet to do school work. They consume, on average, 20 hours of media a day–they do that in 7 hours–so, on average, they are looking at media from 3 different sources at a time. 45% of the jobs that they will obtain haven’t been created yet. While Boomers see technology as a tool, Gen Y and Tweens see technology as an environment. Gen Y might not like to formally write but they do create 500 pages of email a year.

Technology expectations of students vs. academic technologies.

One thing that was particularly interesting is that Jon mentioned that it used to be that technology in universities and colleges used to be ahead of consumer technology but now, consumer technology has overtaken academic technology and students have far greater expections about technology than what is taking place in the classroom.

He also mentioned that traditionally, IT departments in schools and organizations had three purposes:

  • Protect Information
  • Perserve Investement
  • Minimize Risk

That is changing (or should be changing.) Now IT infrastructure in schools and companies are surrounded by software that is open, easy to update and accessible by many. Workers and students not only want that type of environment, they demand it. In fact, in colleges, on average each student has 3 wireless devices, a phone (hopefully and iPhone…according to Jon), a gaming platform (like PS3 or Wii) and a laptop. Some even set up their own wireless routers because they don’t like the school’s network. They are trully customizing their technology environment to suite thier own needs. Students and workers now want to personalize tools to enhance the quality of their work and save time.

Finally, Jon indicated that community college faculty are in a unique situation to impact the education of Gen Y and to make a difference.

All in all a great keynote and I am sure the other guy from Apple did a good job as well.

*Disclaimer: All pictures in this blog post were taken with an iPhone (however, the computer used for making this entry is not Apple-based.

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Posted in: Out and About

Leave a Comment (4) ↓


  1. Karl Kapp January 26, 2009


    I could not agree more. It is a totally different mindset among the two groups.

  2. annb January 14, 2009

    Thanks so much for the summary, Karl. This is very helpful info. I was struck by the comparison that boomers define technology as a tool but that the Gen X & Y define technology as an environment. To me, this is one of the most basic issues within academic IT departments: Still treating technology as a tool rather than an environment.

  3. Stan Yann January 13, 2009

    When it comes to technology, Gen X and Gen Y are like amphibians and mammals. The amphibians are capable of being without technology, but for the mammals it’s an integral part of their world.

  4. Mark Burke January 10, 2009

    Thanks Karl — this is great news. I would love to hear more when you get back – especially answers on HOW? The tough task for schools is how to keep complex tech systems up and running while using their staff to focus on integration.


Karl Kapp
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