Thursday, March 26, 2009

CAL 2009: The Net Generation

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

The Net Generation entering university: The experiences of first year students
C.R. Jones*, R Ramanau: Open University

See The Net Generation Encountering eLearning at University Project for more details.

Started by challenging the whole concept of the Net Generation. Is there a generation with a new outlook on learning and if there is, how does this show itself?

Focus in this presentation was to look at five different types of universities and a range of subject disciplines concentrating on first year students.

Figures showed 38.1% own desktop but 77.4% own a laptop. Broadband access 55.6% only but 13.4% had wireless mobile connection (interesting because this is a new technology but already reasonably high take up).

They also look at differences between use for life and use for study. There are a small minority who never or rarely use email. Also, there is a very low use of virtual worlds - the educational use of virtual worlds is not being driven by the young people. Roughly 50% are using SMS for learning.

They are not a generation! There is no consistency and often low take up. For example, 21.5% contributed to a blog, 12.1% contributed to a wiki. There is no coherent effect.

In general use exceeds requirements to use but students are also unclear about what is required!

If they are using tools for social life and leisure, they are more likely to use in learning. There are some age differences but their are also big differences within age groups. However there are some age related differences. For example over 50% of younger people who download documents read them on screen. There is however a moral panic, see for example Baroness Greenfield's comments on Facebook. {See Bad Science for an excellent citique of the Baroness' comments. - DM}

Questions raised the wifi access finding and pointed out the rise of pay as you go services and links with broadband connections may mean this is reaching into groups that it would normally not have considered wifi connections.

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