Old(er) students and new media

Posted: March 10, 2008 in Education, Media Psychology

Fielding Graduate University is holding an orientation for new doctoral students in media psychology in Santa Barbara. (Fielding has the only doctoral program in media psychology in the U.S.) This is the first time I’ve participated from the ‘orienter’ rather than ‘orientee’ perspective. It is fun to get to know new people, of course, but it is also really inspiring on two counts. The first is that seeing other’s enthusiasm reminds me how exciting a field media psychology really is. The second is how different it is to have an incoming class of accomplished adults rather than people who, though no less enthusiastic, are at the beginning of their careers. (Now I recognize my bias here as an old person, which I am defining as anything over 35.) Not only do adult learners bring a wealth of experience and skills from different backgrounds, partly a product of media psychology’s breadth, but they also have the wisdom that comes from living through the changing technologies and knowing first hand how change impacts people and society. Now granted there is something to be said for knowing out of the womb how to use a video controller, which I never will, but there is also the appreciation of the cognitive processes necessary for adoption. The sore mental muscles of learning to adapt are pretty useful in helping others come to terms with the rapidly changing and increasingly ubiquitous media environment.

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