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This is presentation that critiques some of the most frequently cited literature on the net generation and implications for education. It was presented to a summer institute at the U of Manitoba on June 2, 2008

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  1. 1. Net Generation Nonsense Mark Bullen, BC Institute of Technology
  2. 2. Net Generation Characteristics <ul><li>Digitally literate </li></ul><ul><li>Connected </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential </li></ul><ul><li>Social/Interactive </li></ul><ul><li>Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Visual & Kinesthetic </li></ul><ul><li>Socially-conscious </li></ul>
  3. 3. Net Generation Claims Claim Evidence? Use digital technologies extensively Yes Social, recreational use creates sophisticated users No Social, recreational use of technology transfers to educational use No Use changes learning approaches, even the brain No Need to change the way we teach, organize our institutions, support our learners Maybe, but for different reasons
  4. 4. The Literature Authors Comments Oblinger & Oblinger (2005). Educating the Net Generation <ul><li>unprecendented levels of skills with information technology; </li></ul><ul><li>take technology for granted </li></ul><ul><li>want more of it in their classes, </li></ul><ul><li>postsecondary institutions aren't responding fast enough to meet their needs </li></ul><ul><li>Edited volume of 14 chapters </li></ul><ul><li>Only one is based on empirical research </li></ul><ul><li>Most are speculation or anecdotal observations </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Literature Authors Comments Oblinger & Oblinger (2005). Educating the Net Generation <ul><li>Strongest chapter (Kvavik) actually contradicts main themes of the book </li></ul><ul><li>have basic office suite skills, can use email, Internet with ease but &quot;moving beyond basic activities is problematic ” </li></ul>Howe & Strauss (2000). Millenials Rising <ul><li>focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty, and good conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Based on two surveys: 200 school teachers, 660 students in Fairfax county, VA. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Literature Authors Comments Tapscott (1998) . Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation <ul><li>Force for social transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Access to interactive, digital technologies is creating a generation of critical thinkers </li></ul><ul><li>Based on discussions with 300 children </li></ul><ul><li>Balanced for gender, geography socio-economic status </li></ul><ul><li>Representative? </li></ul><ul><li>Members of an online discussion group </li></ul>Prensky (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part 1 & 2 <ul><li>Use of technology is changing the physical structure of the brain </li></ul><ul><li>Speculation </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Literature Authors Comments Seely Brown (2000). Growing Up Digital <ul><li>Anecdotal observations of 15 yr. olds working in Xerox Lab </li></ul>Frand (2000). The information-age Mindset <ul><li>Speculation </li></ul>Turkle (1995). Life on The Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet 1995
  8. 8. Contradictory Evidence <ul><li>Ipsos-Reid Survey – Canada – November 2007, 2,313 Internet users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Results belies a common belief that young people are most at ease in cyberspace, with the study suggesting that not only do teens spend less time than their elders online; they are also more conservative in their use of the technology. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Contradictory Evidence <ul><li>Australian research – survey of 2588 students at Charles Sturt University – 2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of collaborative, Web 2.0 technologies low. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ To accept the claims of some of the commentators on the changes needed in universities to cater for this generation of students without undertaking further research is likely to be a substantial mistake. “ </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Contradictory Evidence <ul><li>University of Guelph – survey of 19,316 students, 2706 respondents (14% ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students reluctant to mix personal and academic use of computers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students may not use technology the way we expect them to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of online social networks for academic use is low </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rather than trying to find ways to use technologies, should determine what students need and based decisions on those needs </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Contradictory Evidence <ul><li>BCIT Survey – June 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus group interviews with 69 students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students do not have a deep knowledge of the technologies they use but know how to use them for specific purposes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More concerned about basic technology, infrastructure needs than the use of digital technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outside of class students seek access to practical solutions for their course-related issues and ICTs are often not the most practical solution </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Seen this before?
  13. 13. Conclusion <ul><li>Bold claims not based on evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Strong evidence tends to contradict net generation claims </li></ul><ul><li>Anecdotal reports and speculation are often cited as evidence by researchers who should know better </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions are making key decisions based on flawed research </li></ul>