what do david viner, anina, housework and a workout have in common?

I love my new nano and I love listening to podcasts. And I love making connections. For me, that’s what learning really means: making connections in my noggin.

So what do David Viner and Anina have in common? For one, they were both guests on Nerd TV, 2 episodes that I listened to as podcasts. Nerd TV podcasts are long (about an hour), so I wasn’t about to listen to all of them – I’d picked out only a couple that looked kind of interesting. The Anina episode just got downloaded automatically, thank goodness, otherwise I might have missed out on it.

From David Viner you hear about programming from an aging programmer (he’s way over 30), who also sounds like a pretty nice guy in general. He really emphasized the importance of users and programmers “partying together”, and how he learned about actually using something he’d programmed (no?!). As someone who looks at herself as both a programmer and a user, and a programmer that tries to know her user, this is a message I like hearing put out there.

Then I got to hear from Anina, which was a real eye opener (ear opener?). Anina is today’s super user. She manages her business, her contacts, her email, her SMSs, her photography, her web page, her everything-connected-to-everything with ONE device: her mobile phone. Her mobility and connectedness represent a lifestyle that couldn’t be more different from the boring, sedentary life that I live. Yet I’m supposed to write learning content for people her age (around 23). Ha!

Anina’s life just happens a lot faster than mine. Most twenty-somethings today really are tuned in to the MTV wicked fast, multi-processing way of operating that is foreign, or even off-putting, to those of us dinausaurs who had long lost their virginity by the time Anina was born.

If Anina had to sit in a college classroom she would be bored to tears. Unless of course, she could sit in the back and write some code for her mobile so she could update her blog, arrange her next meeting and get her laundry done at the same time. Yet this is the user, the student, that our elearning content is supposed to engage. It’s a whole different world, and we’d better pay attention to it.

One more connection. The other day I was listening to a discussion about learning and memory at a “scientific café“. One of the people sitting on the panel took out a pair of glasses with a wearable computer that allows you to be connected to the internet at all times: whenever you want to contact your network of friends or connect to information in the internet, you can. With one small device attached to a pair of glasses. She got some oohs and ahs, but also a fair amount of OMG-what’s-the-world-coming-to gasps from the crowd of mostly teacher types.

That older crowd (over 30 to well over 30) didn’t realize that this is already the case for the age bracket we’re teaching. Ask Anina. She already has the all-in-one, always connected device: her mobile phone. Maybe we couldn’t imagine, as David Viner suggests, that we could literally party with Anina, or university students her age; but we should be paying attention to what makes them tick, and the incredible speed at which they’re ticking.

So what about the connection to housework and workout? Well, of course, that’s when I listen to my nano. 🙂

– Noah

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