Monday, December 21, 2009

A Critique of the Net Gen Discourse from Germany

In Is There a Net Gener in the House? Dispelling a Mystification, Rolf Schulmeister analyzes the evidence for the existence of a "net generation" and concludes many of claims are overstated or unsupported

"Generation: Multivariate analyses of the use of media always arrive at different contours of the users and describe their diversity rather than their unity.

The Use of Media: It turns out that the use of media alone is not sufficient for the existence of the net generation but rather that the motives for the use of media are essential in the context of such an analysis.

The Motivation for the Use of Media: The preferences of the young for specific internet activities provide information about the spectrum of their interests; the age distribution of their preferences suggests that the actual interests are influenced by socialization.

Socialization: An interpretation of youth people’s use of media is the result of the understanding of their ontogenetic development and socialization. This perspective agrees with the basic assumption of the Uses & Gratification-approach, which presupposes that the needs of youth determine the choice of the media and not, to put the cart before the horse, assuming that media make the young. The young take up the media they require in order to satisfy their needs.

Student Responses and University Didactics: students value live teaching and prefer a moderate use of media. Active self-determined participation required by Web 2.0 is only pursued by a minority of students."

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