Friday, September 26, 2008

Open Education Furthers the Discussion

It is heartening to see that the concerns expressed in this blog about Net Gen hype have been taken up by Tom Hanson and his Open Education blog. Tom has posted a three-part series that features the critiques mentioned here. He concludes:

"It is time to drop the digital natives’ hype and recognize that the debate should not be about digital natives versus digital immigrants. The debate should be about how to use technology to effectively enhance the learning experience for students."

And I would add that, in doing this, we need to be sure we understand who are learners are and that our use of technology meets their needs, and is not based on a preconceived and inaccurate notion of an entire generation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Eloquent Critique of Generational Stereotyping

"Talk of a "digital generation" or people who are "born digital" willfully ignores the vast range of skills, knowledge, and experience of many segments of society. It ignores the needs and perspectives of those young people who are not socially or financially privileged. It presumes a level playing field and equal access to time, knowledge, skills, and technologies. The ethnic, national, gender, and class biases of any sort of generation talk are troubling. And they could not be more obvious than when discussing assumptions about digital media."

Read the full article from Siva Vaidhyanatha.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Todays Teens: Anything But Masters of Technology

Once again, the strong research seems to contradict the prevailing view of the digitally-literate Net generation. I came across this study out of Great Britain, thanks to Tom Hanson at Open which casts doubt on the idea that teens are better with technology than adults.

"The study sought to determine just how good young people were with information technology and thereby determine what schools and libraries should in turn focus on when teaching students. To make their determinations, a log of British Library web sites and search tools was analyzed along with a “virtual” longitudinal study based on literature reviews from the past 30 years."

Read the Open
posting on the study or download the full study.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Net Gen No Sense

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.