Saturday, February 14, 2009

Google Generation Study Casts More Doubt

This comprehensive study of how young learners are searching for and researching content was commissioned by the British Library. While it focuses on the implications for libraries, it contains some valuable insights into how these learners use information technologies. The results tend to contradict much of the prevailing hype about the net generation. The study defines the "Google Generation" as anybody born after 1993.

Here are some of the claims about this group that the study refutes:
  1. They have zero tolerance for delay and their information needs must be fulīŦlled immediately
  2. They are the `cut-and-paste’ generation
  3. The find their peers more credible as information sources than authority figures
  4. They need to feel constantly connected to the web
  5. They prefer quick information in the form of easily digested chunks, rather than full text
  6. They are expert searchers
The study did find evidence to support the following claims:
  1. They are more competent with technology
  2. They have very high expectations of ICTs
  3. They prefer interactive systems and are turning away from being passive consumers of information
With respect the claim that this generation multitasks in all areas of their lives, the study concluded there is no solid evidence to support this but "it is likely that being exposed to online media early in life may help to develop good parallel processing skills. The wider question is whether sequential processing abilities, necessary for ordinary reading, are being similarly developed."

Thanks to Agnes Bosanquet and the McQuarrie University Learning & Teaching Centre blog for drawing my attention to this study.

1 comment:

ms.edwards said...

Thanks for these clarifying blogs. I find some of my grandkids fit the netgen rhetoric, but not most of the "Title 1" kids I teach -- until their ACCESS is increased and they CAN utilize the technology. Then, like me (a grandmother), they prefer the interactive versus the passive systems, and then they enjoy and want their school work to include the ability to be part of the conversation and to include images/video/etc. in their own work. They like the idea of connecting with other kids (and other teachers) across the world. And this middle school teacher and grandmother does too. Access is key -- and therein lies the dilemma of nations and education: equity in access. Access allows educators to provide practice and application of responsible connectivism, through which a wisdom of ethics for participation as global citizens hoepefully develops. Thanks again for a thought-provoking discussion much needed for encouraging net connectivity and interaction as a positive global presence.