We just completed surveying staff and students at the on the use use of technologies for teaching and learning. We had over 400 student responses (out of 3000 full time equivalent students) and the picture was very clear. They are not making use of the web 2.0 tools in any great way in their personal lives. Interestingly we had one student ask a question along the lines of a question example given in a previous post. "What's a Wiki?".
This is a blog so I can be a bit lazy! Students are using technologies in their daily lives with texting obviously being at the top of the list. They use other technologies that make their lives easier; booking tickets online; booking travel online; internet banking; shopping online. Oh, and they're not all social networking with a number of students saying that it was a waste of their time. I thought that I detected something along the lines of contempt for the social networking scene from some students. It was almost as if social networking was for those with nothing better to do with their lives.
No, it wasn't a rigorous three year study but it did provide a very good snapshot of where our students sit in relation to Web 2.0. The interesting question then concerns what the findings mean. Perhaps it's a good thing that they're not using Web 2.0 in their daily lives because that lack of use might provide an opportunity to use Web 2.0 in education without students coming to the tools with a whole load of pre-conceived notions about their purpose (social rather than educational). However, teaching and learning must determine the choice of the tool (or not if a tool is not needed).
Check out the representation of a personal learning environment form a PhD student
Take a good look because there's some serious learning at the center with the technologies etc. situated around the core activity of learning.