Beloit College Mindset List: The internet is older than college freshmen

Still not feeling old? Consider this: Andre the Giant, River Phoenix and Frank Zappa all died before these students were born. They don’t know what a Commodore 64 was, and they don’t understand why Boston barflies would ever shout, “Norm!”

Oh, and Ferris Bueller could be their father.

But the list isn’t intended to serve as a cultural tombstone, its authors say, contending that the compilation also serves a practical purpose.

McBride and Nief say the main lesson professors should take from this year’s list is that their incoming students have never lived in a world without the internet.

From the moment these kids were able to reach a tabletop, their fingertips probably were brushing against computers plugged into the World Wide Web.

And while that was largely true for the last few classes as well, the authors say teachers need to be extra-vigilant about where this year’s students are going for information.

The internet is great for finding facts, McBride says, but there’s a big difference between facts and the knowledge that comes from understanding context behind the facts.