05-21-2010, 12:01 AM
I had my class working on small-group discussion cases the other day, and was reading some PDFs on my eDGe to pass the time. The eDGe caught some of the students' eyes, so of course instead of working on their assignment :), they started asking me "What is that?" and other questions about it. After class a group of them were taking a closer look at it, and a few of them offered, unsolicited, that they thought it looked more useful than the iPad, particularly the journaling aspect. Now this certainly wasn't a randomized or large sample, so I'm not drawing any grand conclusions from these comments, but I thought it was instructive in that we (older folks) often make assumptions about what things are going to appeal to "young people," technology large among those. For instance, I find that a surprisingly large number of my students (grad as well as undergrad) report that they don't engage in social networking to the extent that's sometimes portrayed in the popular press. I guess what it really brought to mind was my hope that the eDGe, and any other devices geared toward productive academic usage, will have enough of a fair trial to gain a foothold sufficient to survive for future development/iterations. So I think device marketers may want to go beyond the "sexy" and incorporate more "real user" (including, e.g., parents who may be helping to foot the bills) input in trying to get the eDGe et al. more deeply into the public consciousness.