Not Yet Gen Net

One implication of our results is that these students’ attitudes and beliefs toward technology are integrated with their experiences as (specifically) liberal arts college students. Undergraduate students at highly technical institutions may (and likely do) hold different beliefs about teaching and learning, as well as the role of technology in that experience, which may in turn shape what they consider to be a good student in their institutional context. This underscores the point that, given the multiple ways that technology is culturally embedded in Net Gen students’ lives, we should not make blanket assumptions about its use.

Questioning Assumptions About Students’ Expectations for Technology in College Classrooms,” in Innovate, June/July 2007
Volume 3, Issue 5
by Sarah Lohnes and Charles Kinzer

This is a small scale but persuasive research article that makes a point that ought to be more obvious than it is. Despite the hype about the “net-generation” of technologically savvy kids, not all students have chosen to integrate new communications technologies into every nook and cranny of their lives.

The authors suggest an explanation rooted in institutional culture, which makes sense, and call for a more nuanced view of how technology is used in and out of the classroom. I would also suggest that this study hints at some interesting class dynamics. Perhaps old-fashioned face to face education is becoming an entitlement of the well-off, like valet parking or health care.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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