The DeHavilland Blog

Thursday, September 29, 2005

What teenagers like

As part of Advertising Week 2005, The Interactive Advertising Bureau asked a panel of 10 teenagers to evaluate the products of three interactive marketing campaigns - Nike, Coke, and Halo 2 - in front of an audience of hundreds of industry executives. The New York Times article can be found here.

Without getting into winners and losers, what they saw and heard was that teens like to have fun, they like to customize, and they like to socialize. The Times quoted Nick Law, VP of Visual Design at R/GA in New York:
And no other group is as interested in
controlling the product as the teenage market, he said. "I think what
distinguishes how teenagers interact with the media in contrast to us older
folks is that they want control over the media they consume," Mr. Law said. "The
possibilities of self-expression are endless."
MediaPost yesterday reported on an international study by Yahoo! and OMD that said something very similar (link here):
This broad ethnographic study suggests a
trinity of "core values" embraced by millions of teens who use "new media":
"community," "self-expression," and "personalization." Community and
self-expression are self-explanatory, denoting the basic human need to feel that
one belongs, and at the same time stand out from the pack. Personalization of
technology provides the main means of fulfilling both these needs.

This isn't terribly surprising information, but I bring it up to contrast it with what happens all too often in the classroom: top-down information distribution, standardization, and formidable controls on what students are allowed to do and how they are allowed to do it. Imagine what would happen if you truly put students in control of their learning experience: give them access to the core materials and let them loose to absorb, interpret, and distribute it in a unique new form of their own making. Students want to be engaged, and they want to work with things to modify them and put their stamp on them. Shouldn't we find a way to channel that into the learning experience?

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