A study by the Hans Bredow Institute entitled “Growing Up With the Social Web” was particularly thorough in its approach. In addition to conducting a representative survey, the researchers conducted extensive individual interviews with 28 young people. Once again it became clear that young people primarily use the Internet to interact with friends. Most of the respondents saw the Internet as merely a useful extension of the old world rather than as a completely new one. More surprising yet, these supposedly gifted netizens are not even particularly adept at getting the most out of the Internet. “They can play around,” says Rolf Schulmeister, an educational researcher from Hamburg who specializes in the use of digital media in the classroom. “They know how to start up programs, and they know where to get music and films. But only a minority is really good at using it. The second most popular use of the Internet is for entertainment. According to a survey conducted by Leipzig University in 2008, more young people now access their music via various online broadcasting services than listen to it on the radio. A major study conducted by the British Library came to the sobering conclusion that the “net generation” hardly knows what to look for, quickly scans over results, and has a hard time assessing relevance. “The information literacy of young people has not improved with the widening access to technology,” the authors wrote. Tom and his friends just describe themselves as being “on” or “off,” using the English terms. What they mean is: contactable or not.
The article also urges teachers to help students to use the Internet for educational learning, not just social networking. It advocates that teachers “teach” students how t0 use the educational part of the web.
How do help your students to be Web 2.0 learners, instead of Web 2.0 socializers?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.