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Teaching | JPowers.IN3.ORG
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Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials Feel Technology Differently


I've just updated the IN3 think piece Age & IT Experience that plots the current age of managers, employees and customers against the big developments in information technology. It's a good party starter: find your age when the IBM PC was launched, when streaming media happened, when Google Maps came out. Try to imagine how people from other life experiences feel about tech, and try to avoid the ageist notion that your cohort is the only one that matters, the only one that deeply understands.

It's a different kind of diversity with wide variations in adoption rates, dexterities, familiarity with digital concepts, comfort levels. Everybody comes from a different place on the map, and we'll all fall off the chart eventually as technology passes us by. With the aging workforce, maybe we should add columns for 65-, 75- and 85-year-olds. After all,we start with COBOL in 1960.

The tech-cultural column is very subjective, with headlines from politics and pop culture. Some companies customize the chart with their own industry milestones, and I can imagine versions for healthcare, education and politics. What do you think?

At SISO: A Twitter Feed for ConferenceIdeas

I’m speaking at the Society of Independent Show Organizers 2008 Executive Conference in Atlanta. (Slide links to come.) In addition to discussing this year’s SISO Web Awards, I’m presenting a talk with Carl Pugh of Radius Events on "Developing Your Conference Program for Fun and Profit." Among the things we’ll be talking about is live blogging and tweeting from conferences, so I’ve set up a Twitter account called "ConferenceIdeas". Follow it and send your conference comments to @ConferenceIdeas via Twitter.

At the Movies: Happy Birthday, Helvetica

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the world’s most popular typeface, filmmaker Gary Hustwit is producing Helvetica, a documentary about …

… typography,
graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation
of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as
part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The
film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type
that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers
about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics
behind their use of type.

film will be released early next year. Read an interview with the filmmaker in the AIGA journal and visit the movie’s MySpace page. Font lovers,  see also the "Thank You for Smoking" trailer.

The iPod as an Education PDA

At a sparsely attended digital technology conference here in New York yesterday, speaker Mike Lawrence, technology expert for the Orange County (California) Department of Education and an Apple Distinguished Educator, presented an eye-opening seminar on the educational possibilities of Apple’s wildy successful iPod digital music player. As I wrote earlier this month, the iPod is a handy, portable 20 or 40 gigabyte disk drive. Lots of students listen to music on the iPod, and according to Mike, teachers have been adapting it for a number of interesting educational applications:

  1. Course-related music
  2. Digital “books on tape”
  3. Historical audio like the 9-11 Commission proceedings
  4. Broadband assignments like movies and multimedia files that would otherwise bog down a school network
  5. Digital photo storage for student-created work and for courseware
  6. Language translation for the iPod from Talking Panda

Mike demonstrated several add-ons like the Altec Lansing iPod speakers and the Apple Airport wireless links. He also described the launch of, a new web site that will cover developments in this interesting area. Teachers have always been smart about adapting new technologies to the classroom. Hooking up the ubiquitous iPod is a stroke of genius.

Graphics Teachers Technology Conference: Teaching the Teachers

Gttc2For years in the early 90s a group of volunteers in New York ran a conference on Election Day for graphics teachers covering the latest developments in desktop publishing, digital imaging, multimedia, electronic documents, digital prepress and printing. In the constant shufflings of the New York Board of Ed, the event got canceled in favor of other, more institutional “staff development initiatives. “

This November 2nd, thanks to the volunteers at the Graphics Arts Education Advisory Commission and the conference host, the Parsons School of Design, we’re once again holding the Graphics Teachers Technology Conference and opening it free of charge to New York middle school and high school teachers. The excellent Diane Romano, president of AGT Seven, has agreed to keynote the conference, and we’re getting great response from speakers and volunteeers across all the spectrum of graphics fields.

If you know anyone who can speak compellingly about graphic communications issues, or who can help out (in advance or on-site) managing the event, or — very important — who can help us pay for the coffee and donuts and sandwiches, email me or sign on through the REGISTER NOW click on the conference web site. People business are always going to conferences to get up-to-date, to get charged up and to keep their skills sharp. Here’s a chance for us to help teachers do the same.

Graphic Teachers Exchange networking site is a networking site for graphics developed with the New York Graphic Arts Education Advisory Commission. It’s gearing up for the new school year with news about the AGC student design contest, this year’s scholarshipwiners and the free-to-teachers Graphics Teachers Technology Conference.