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Week 13/14 Activity 1: A Critical view of the Net Generation

May 20, 2009
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Selwyn (2008)

Selwyn talks about the first generation of ‘digital natives’ (Prensky, 2005)

Yet whilst the use of new technologies is an increasingly prominent element of many young people’s lives, there is a growing sense amongst some academics that this re-orientation of higher education has perhaps beenpredicated on little more than assumptions about the likely ‘educational effectiveness’ of the internet and its supposed universal appeal to students.” (Selwyn 2008, page 13)

Brotcorne’s (2005) “qualitative study of Belgian undergraduates found internet use to often clash with (rather than complement) students’ progress through the rigid systems of assessment, grading and academic conventions which constitute university life.

Seems that Selwyn gets quite bogged down in the validity of the sample data.

Results showed that all but 2% used the internet to look for information. 50% did so on a frequent basis (all the time)

Moreover,

“using the internet for searching for academic-related information was a more prevalent use than online activities such as e-banking, e-gaming, e-shopping, downloading and participating in online courses or lessons.” (Selwyn 2008, page 17)

The findings suggest that the undergraduate body of students are an internet-rich population with lessening defiencies in skill. This could be counter-balanced with the growing efficiency of rich-internet applications and Web 2.0 technologies. This is maybe something that Selwyn does not take into account.

Selwyn talks about a maturing of the internet. In certain respects I agree with this but I would not consider it as a maturing into its final state. More so I would say that it is simply that the internet has become more useful and less as gadget.

Similarly, another form of online divide which demands renewed attention are the differences in subject discipline reflected in our data – with students from medicine, social studies, law and business all reporting higher levels of educational internet use than their counterparts in creative arts, architecture/planning and the humanities.Therefore addressing these ‘subject-based’ barriers is likely to require a different set of responses from university authorities” (Selwyn 2008, page 20)

I don’t think that this will help. I think that the requirement comes more from the introduction of better forms of rich-internet applications (Web 3.0?) Disciplines such as life drawing and long jump cannot be taught via the internet, at this point. There will need to be a dramatic modification to the way the content on the internet is interfaced and manipulated.

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