Age effects: Correlation, causation, and socialization

Recently, when working with undergraduates to design a new experiment, they told me that they preferred to recruit participants under 40 in order to control for age effects in attitudes toward using technology.

Actually, that’s not quite what they said. “Older people are slower to change to new technologies,” is the quote I remember.

I acknowledged that I had seen “age effects” in my recent research — which I had just asked them to read through, though that summary didn’t include in which direction the age effects were seen. For the pilot study, I conceded that it might be wise to narrow the sampling to an age range that is more easily recruited around a college campus.

But privately, I started wondering – Do I believe, as they apparently do, that older people are usually slower to “get” technology? After all, **I** am older than 40. I could argue that, given my life circumstances as an adult returning student, I am learning new technologies at a **faster** pace than those younger than me simply because I am playing catch-up. But, in my more honest moments, I know I am more set in my ways than when I was 20 or 25. … Except, I might only be set in ways that I’ve learned the hard way from bad experiences, including from technologies that promise more than they deliver, while I stay open to new possibilities. … Except, I’ve known plenty of tech curmudgeons older than me, so I very well might be the exception. Except,  …

Continue reading Age effects: Correlation, causation, and socialization

Paying for college: August 2015 update

It’s been a few months since I updated this blog. Partly this was because of my end-of-semester crunch after Spring 2015 midterms. I had a lot of work to complete fast. Something had to give. And then came summer classes and, you know, VACATION.

With Semester 2 about to start Monday, however, it’s time for me to get back in the regular writing habit — and also, take stock of how well my plans for paying for college as an adult returning student have played out in real life.

How am I doing money-wise so far this year? Looking at my Quicken stats this week gave me pause.

Continue reading Paying for college: August 2015 update

Lightning talk for InWIC 2015: 5 ideas for paying for college as an adult returning student

It’s my honor to have been selected to present a lightning talk this weekend at the 2015 Indiana Women in Computing (InWiC) conference.  My subject is a practical one, “5 Ideas for Paying for College as an Adult Returning Student,” based on my previous post.

The goal of the conference is to provide a low cost, regionally-tailored, small conference for women in computing. It is sponsored out of Purdue University.