Research conducted at three Australian universities suggests that the Net Generation are not big users of Web 2.0 technologies, or were not, in 2006. Gregor Kennedy and his colleagues surveyed over 2500 first year students at the University of Melbourne, University of Wollongong, and Charles Sturt University in 2006. As well, follow-up focus group interviews were held with 46 students.
The results show that these Australian students were infrequent users of Web 2.0 technologies. More than 80% had never produced a podcast or contributed to a Wiki. More than 70% and never kept their own blog and more than 50% had never used a social networking site, read someone else's blog or downloaded a podcast.
Furthermore, the focus group interview revealed a considerable level of ignorance about these technologies. "For example, when one student was asked how a blog could usefully support her studies, she responded by saying: 'What’s a blog? I don’t know what it is'. Similarly, in focus group discussions about podcasting, two students from separate focus groups reported being unfamiliar with any such technology or service" (p. 522).
The authors conclude, "these research results indicate that we must be wary of overgeneralising the distinctive features of this generation, as individuals or as a group, their lifestyles or their learning styles based on assumptions about technology use or preferences" (p. 522).
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