jueves, 22 de mayo de 2008

I am the media

his is a presentation I gave Nov 29 at the Marketing3 conference at Media Plaza in the Netherlands. A big thank you to Lynette Webb who's visual posts and pictures have provided inspiration for quite a few of the slides.

Google Generation

Next Generation Social Marketing

Using social media to promote health and social issues. From Nedra Weinreich's Social Marketing University. http://www.social-marketing.com/blog/

The Point-and-Click Generation Goes to the Library: How Academic Libraries Adapt to Changing Expectations

The Point-and-Click Generation Goes to the Library: How Academic Libraries Adapt to Changing Expectations

Barbara Fister
Linfield College
McMinnville, Oregon
June 3, 2004

Abstract: Umberto Eco once described two kinds of libraries: one designed to hide books and discourage readers, and another that makes discovery an adventure. Current perceptions of academic libraries and of student research habits seem to mirror this dichotomy. Though a controversial article in The Chronicle of Higher Education suggested many academic libraries were "deserted," building projects have not declined, and on many campuses, the library has gained new prominence as a site for learning. While some studies suggest undergraduates use the Web for most of their research, others report traditional print materials and face-to-face reference help remain important. What are we to make of these conflicting views? Drawing from interviews with students, national surveys on how students use libraries and the Internet, and on what we know about the challenges of undergraduate research, we'll explore the place of the library in higher education and what the library as a place means to our students.

In a speech given at the opening of a library in Milan back in 1981, Umberto Eco started out by asking the simple question: what are libraries for? Though he posed that question before the Internet had altered the information landscape, it's a question we ask ourselves often, sometimes defensively. The identity of the library - and what it's good for - is changing as electronic sharing of texts changes the ways people seek and use information. Yet in the past four or five years we've seen signs that the library has an enduring purpose and presence as a physical place. Today what I'd like to do is examine what we know about our students' perceptions of research and try to see these places as much as possible from their perspective - and to think about ways academic libraries are making themselves more accessible to their target audience.

We all have feelings about libraries – one hopes mostly positive ones. In Umberto Eco's discussion of what libraries are for, he contrasted two kinds of libraries—one is a "huge nightmare" with many rules including these:

  • The catalog must be as difficult to use as possible.
  • The stacks are closed and books must be requested by filling out forms which will have spaces too small for the information required.
  • Interlibrary loan should take months.
  • Hours of opening should be restricted to the hours that most of the public are at work.
  • Refreshments are forbidden
  • To the extent possible there will be no toilets
  • Ideally, no reader should be allowed inside the library.

Though this may to reduce complaints about libraries to the absurd, I see hints of my own library in this nightmare. Our students, for example, find the catalog difficult to use and wish we were open when they're wide awake - at three a.m. On the other hand, we long ago conceded on the refreshment issue, and we have no shortage of toilets.

To this nightmare library, Eco contrasts a better version, one that provides a universe on a human scale, a library where the reader can wander at will through the stacks, where there are comfortable armchairs, espresso is served, and accidental discoveries are encouraged. "This sort of library is made for me. I can pass a whole joyful day there . . . This way, a library is an adventure" (59).

A few years ago there was a controversial feature in The Chronicle of Higher Education with a vivid graphic of students fading away in the stacks. The headline was alarmist: "The Deserted Library." Many of us looked around and said "not my library." But there's no arguing that more information provided by libraries - or simply available on the Internet - is available from outside the library's walls and many of the questions that used to be asked at reference desks are answerable online.

Interestingly, since the article was published, book circulation is on the rise in all types of libraries and library construction and renovation has not declined. To introduce an online colloquy on the deserted library issue the reporter, Scott Carlson, posed these questions, ones still worth asking ourselves:

  • What effect has the Internet had on the way students learn?
  • What role can faculty play in helping to bring students to the library?
  • In the information age, what is the role of the college library, traditionally the intellectual and social heart of campus?

The year after that Chronicle story ran, several large-scale studies were published that attempted to answer that first question: what effect has the Internet had on students. One for OCLC was conducted by Harris Interactive; over 1,000 students were surveyed. Another by the Pew Internet and American Life Project was conduced by a University of Chicago team; over 2,000 students were surveyed, others observed at ten Chicago institutions using ethnographic methods. Finally, a study conducted by Outsell for the Digital Library Federation and the Council on Library and Information Resources surveyed over 3,000 students and faculty.

These studies suggest that though we all hear claims that students only use the Web, the research does not bear this out. Among the somewhat surprising findings of these studies are these points:

  • 89% of students report using print resources for at least some of their research (OCLC)
  • Accuracy of information is important to students (OCLC)
  • 73% of students report using Internet more than the library to find information; 9% use library more (Pew)
  • Students prefer face-to-face interaction with librarians and faculty when they need help (OCLC and Pew)
  • 80% of students and faculty say the Internet has changed the way they use libraries (Outsell) - but -
  • Two-thirds of students and faculty say they have not decreased their use of libraries (Outsell)

Findings from smaller-scale studies fill in some of the details and offer a more intimate glimpse into student perspectives. Barbara Valentine's work with undergraduates, teasing out their values through focus groups, told us there is a utilitarian aspect to research - students will look for the most efficient route to completing research tasks. In some sense this is not news to any of us - but what is new is the reasoning behind it. It reveals something we need to bear in mind: the messages we send through assignments will be closely read. What we don't require will naturally get less effort than that which we explicitly do. It's unreasonable to expect students to do work simply because, in some vaguely articulated way, "it's good for you" - or for them to infer without direction what is good for them.

Philip Davis and others at Cornell examined research paper bibliographies from 1995 to 2001 and found - surprise, surprise - that students couldn't be counted on to cite scholarly sources unless they were told they had to. Not only do you have to say "you must use quality sources," you need to explain what that means.

Vicki Burton and Scott Chadwick surveyed students in a quantitative study to find out how they chose sources. They learned that the traditional research paper assignment is still ubiquitous, that most students use both print and Internet sources, and - in their research population of over 500 students - that the percentage of students who only use library sources is the same as those who only use the Internet (quite a different result than the Pew study). Students with training in evaluating Web sites are less likely to use them as sources than those without training. And finally, they found that though student do evaluate their sources, they don't invest as much commitment to those choices as do experts - that, rather than a courtship between writers and their sources, it's more of a one-night-stand - which, given Valentine's findings, is not really surprising.

A dozen years ago I interviewed a small number of students about their research processes. I wasn't satisfied that the process librarians typically described - moving from general to specific, from encyclopedias to books to articles and so forth - had anything to do with reality, and I was curious how writing and library research intersected. The students I interviewed told me that finding a focus is a time-consuming and tricky part of the process, that finding tools aren't always the best route to good sources, that browsing and tracing cited works play an important and often overlooked role, and that the entire process of research and writing is recursive and interconnected, not distinct and separate stages. I recently used the same script of questions and interviewed another group of students to see if the process has fundamentally changed since the Web and the multitude of online subscription sources have come on the scene. Though I haven't finished coding these interviews, I'm struck by how little the process they describe has changed, even though the tools have. Students often expressed strong preference for books and journal articles over Web sources, though for some projects the web provided just what they needed. They sometimes used the Web in the initial stage of topic formulation and then abandoned it. They typically used browsing and tracing citations with more confidence than database searching. And they printed out every source they used - or used book darts or sticky notes to keep track of parts of books. They needed hardcopy to jot on, mark up, tag, and physically sort into categories in order to use their sources. They used quite elaborate coding techniques to keep track of what was important. And, consistent with Davis's findings, they were very much guided by their professors' prompts.

In short, these smaller-scale studies suggest that faculty, indeed, are key to drawing students into the library because students do research in response to faculty cues. It may be the case that faculty in the disciplines need to rethink their assumptions, given students now arrive at college far more familiar with searching the Web than with searching libraries, and given the greater diversity of materials available will have to be more explicit about what constitutes a good source. But I'm not sure that faculty have to bend over backwards to persuade students to use the library instead of the Web. What they need to do is something that has always been needed - to help students read all texts more critically and to understand the purpose and the process of research as a form of discovery. We observe students struggling to find and use information; faculty often only have the results to work with. If we combine forces we should be able to come to a better understanding of what's really going on.

Now that third question that Scott Carlson posed: "In the information age, what is the role of the college library, traditionally the intellectual and social heart of campus?"

To tackle that one, let's return for a moment to Eco's library - not the nightmare, but the one that is an adventure. Like Eco, our students want to have refreshments as they use the library, they want to be comfortable, they want to be able to browse freely (both online and in real space), something particularly important to undergraduates because they can't seek information they don't know exists and don't know enough about their topic to give it a name. Browsing gives them a chance to scope out the possibilities, to dabble, to explore, to make unexpected discoveries.

Libraries as places speak to those who use them. Their architecture is calculated to express something to the reader about their relationship to the library and what it contains. In the great nineteenth century libraries, the message was "come inside if you want to be improved." They were public, they were democratic, but they were also monumental, civic statements about an ideal of learning. They dwarf the reader and evoke greatness by using architectural motifs from a classical era or reminiscent of a cathedral.

The New York Public Library's Fifth Avenue building is a civic monument framed by rather arrogant-looking lions, but they have become domesticated over time, and the imposing steps leading up to the front door are a favorite picnic spot for those who work in Midtown Manhattan.

The Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington uses a different language - an ecclesiastical one. The library suggests readers are part of a Western tradition, and the reading room looks like the nave of a Gothic cathedral, telling the reader that they are engaged in something spiritual and significant.

The new Seattle Public Library is a daringly different building that nevertheless is designed to send a message. In this design, the books shelved as a single sequence, a unified spiral of knowledge; the reference and public computing areas are the "mixing chamber" - where interdisciplinary knowledge can come together and librarians can collaborate with researchers.

Chicago opted for another approach when they opened the Harold Washington Library Center in 1991, the largest public library in the world. This traditional, massive building evokes nineteenth century libraries and was chosen, according to one of the committee members reviewing proposals, because it was the only design submitted that looked like a library.

One way libraries have adapted to change is to include more technology. This is in part because so much of the library is only available now through computers, but is also a recognition that libraries are places where working on computers makes sense. It's part of the library's tradition to be a place where people spend time together even if they're working alone on various projects. In fact, modern "information commons" sometimes look very much like traditional reading rooms - long ranges of desktops, designed for individual study in a common room.

The technology that some believed would replace libraries has simply moved into the library. (The fact that Marquette University, when it built a new library, intentionally left the books in another building is an interesting riff on this idea; technology presumably supports learning; books are simply inventory.) In a recent Library Journal feature, "Library 2.0," Andrew Albanese commented on the popularity of information commons in academic libraries. "Thanks to new, technology-driven models, more and more campus libraries offer a mix of traditional resources, technology, instruction, and collaborative and social space. They serve an ever-expanding role in supporting an institution's curriculum."

Though this is true - on our campus computer labs in other buildings have been closed due to lack of traffic; students want to do their computing in the library - I'm not sure it's still "technology driven" I'd rather reconceptualize this "commons" as Scott Bennett does in a recent CLIR report - as a "learning commons." Even before computers, the library was the intellectual common ground of the institution, where the knowledge of all disciplines meets and mingles, ownership dissolves, boundaries fall away - and learning has always been what libraries are for.

Fundamentally, learning isn't about use of tools, it's a social experience. We should make it easier for our students to conceptualize research as a social act, not simply manipulating inert bits of information and documenting where those bits came from. It's important when we draw them into research that we don't send the wrong message - e.g. that research is transcription - because they will take the message to heart.

The concept of an information commons is centered on tools and specialists; the learning commons concept is focused on social needs and is student-centered. One library director Bennett interviewed said about his library: "It's the most democratic building on campus, and if it's grand and awe inspiring and at the same time warm, comfortable, and inviting, it makes a tremendous statement about how the college feels about learning and teaching." This reminds me again of Eco's library-as-adventure. It's the universe, but on a human scale.

Certainly Linfield College has drawn on this social perspective in their new library. There are long tables for quiet study, places for group work, and comfortable seating - even a fireplace! Clearly, though technology is present, at Linfield the library is about learning.

What we want to do with our libraries is make students comfortable with this strange, hybrid print and digital world of ours by incorporating some of the traditional messages of past libraries - the ones Barnes and Nobles has used to such great effect in their bookstores - with the technology our students need, We want to do it in a way that says to students: this is a place you want to be. This is yours. You have citizenship in the realm of knowledge.

A couple of weeks ago when I was working at night in the library and the place was buzzing with students talking, studying, playing games, playing with databases, eating, yawning, writing, reading, and doing many of these things more or less simultaneously, I was thinking about how odd it is that research papers, which are very hard to write well, remain the most commonly-assigned writing genre in colleges. And how seriously, even grimly, they go about it. Research is not play, it's hard work. And moreover, it's work that has rules that, if you break them, you'll find yourself in deep trouble. Though students often get excited about what they're learning through the process, when it comes to writing it up they tend to shut down, lose some of that enthusiasm, think in fact enthusiasm is out of place and inappropriate. This seems all wrong, since research is really a kind of formalized fooling around. At its best and most creative, it's playful.

In the print version of the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "play" occupies over ten pages of definitions and examples. The meanings of the word include "freedom or room for movement," "to ridicule or mock," "to set in opposition," and "mimetic representation of some action." To play is to exercise freedom, to perform, to engage in games.

Thinking about that, I started to read what anthropologists say about play and found one of Gregory Bateson's Metalogues - short imaginary dialogues that explore some cultural subject. One, "On Games and Being Serious," is a dialogue between a father and daughter.

"Daddy, are these conversations serious?"

"Certainly they are."

"They're not a sort of game you play with me?"

"God forbid . . . but they are a sort of game we play together" (14)

Here I thought of how like helping students learn to do research this is - a joint effort between two people who aren't exactly equal but who are both involved, both learning. They play the game together. It's serious, but not entirely.

Later in the Metalogue the daughter says "People who cheat just don't know how to play" (14). This struck me as a really good way of looking at student problems with writing research papers. Plagiarizing students often simply do not understand the rules (which are complex). They think research is all about getting other people to say what you want to say and making sure you give them credit. Though they may be pretty good at "playing the game" as they understand it, they're not having much fun. They're too busy trying to follow the rules. Bateson's metalogue goes on with the daughter saying,

"Wouldn't it be a good thing if we had a few more rules and obeyed them more carefully? Then we might not get into these dreadful muddles."

"Yes. But wait. You mean that I get us into these muddles because I cheat against rules we don't have. Or put it this way. That we might have rules which would stop us getting into these muddles - as long as we obey them."

"Yes, Daddy. That's what the rules of the game are for."

"Yes, but do you want to turn these conversations into that sort of a game? I'd rather play canasta" (18).

Learning to do research is more than learning a set of rules or mastering technologies. It's learning to play with ideas with some degree of freedom. It's pushing an idea beyond the known into the unknown. It's risk-taking, not rule-following. And it is fundamentally social, open-ended, exploratory. As another cultural anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, has said, the function of play is interpretive.

This need for social space, for places where people can interact with ideas, has architectural implications. A new building has just opened on the MIT campus. It's not a library, it will house computer science and artificial intelligence labs, the information systems program, and the philosophy and linguistics departments, but it made me think about library spaces which are also a kind of lab and classroom. The architect, Frank Gehry, said to a New York Times reporter it "looks like a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate."

This building is designed to be playful and to encourage flexible use of common space for collaboration and social interaction in order to foster new ideas. The new design incorporates lots of common space and transparency among offices to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.

It is in part a response to a student life report that MIT had too few places to interact and that computer clusters were being used social spaces. Interestingly, technology per se is little in evidence. There are no massive computer labs - everything is wireless and according to one architectural advisor, "the better technology becomes, the less obtrusive it is.It's built "around people, instead of around technology" (Chronicle, A30). The interior spaces are designed to enable unexpected views and to bring people together.

The place for this kind of playful interaction is the library, where technology and texts can be turned loose with students in ways that encourage them to interact not just with each other but with ideas. Philosopher Michael Oakshott described knowledge this way:

"...we are the inheritors, neither of an inquiry about ourselves and the world, nor of an accumulating body of information, but of a conversation, begun in the primeval forests and extended and made more articulate in the course of centuries. It is a conversation that goes on in public and within each of ourselves . . . And it is this conversation which, in the end, gives place and character to every human activity and utterance" (490-91)

Libraries are great places to learn how to participate in that conversation.


What effect has the Internet had on the way students learn?

Burton, Vicki T., and Scott A. Chadwick. "Investigating the Practices of Student Researchers: Patterns of Use and Criteria for Use of Internet and Library Sources." Computers and Composition 17(2000): 309-328.

Davis, Philip. "Effect of the Web on Undergraduate Citation Behavior: Guiding Student Scholarship in a Networked Age." portal: Libraries and the Academy 3.1 (2003): 41-51.

Fister, Barbara. "The Research Processes of Undergraduate Students." Journal of Academic Librarianship 18.3 (1992): 163-169.

Friedlander, Amy. Dimensions and Use of the Scholarly Information Environment: Introduction to a Data Set Assembled by the Digital Library Federation and Outsell, Inc. Washington, DC: Digital Library Federation and Council on Library and Information Resources, 2002.

Jones, Steve. The Internet Goes to College: How Students are Living in the Future with Today's Technology. Washington DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2002.

OCLC White Paper on the Information Habits of College Students: How Academic Librarians Can Influence Students' Web-Based Information Choices. Dublin, OH: OCLC, 2002.

Tenopir, Carol. Use and Users of Electronic Library Resources: An Overview and Analysis of Recent Research Studies. Washington DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2003.

Valentine, Barbara. "The Legitimate Effort in Research Papers: Student Commitment Versus Faculty Perceptions." Journal of Academic Librarianship 27.2 (2001): 107-115.

---"Undergraduate Research Behavior: Using Focus Groups to Generate Theory." Journal of Academic Librarianship 19.5 (1993): 300-304.

What role can faculty play in helping to bring students to the library?

Bateson, Gregory. Steps Toward an Ecology of Mind. Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago, 2000.

Bruffee, Kenneth. Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1993.

Geertz, Clifford. "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight." The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic, 1973: 412-53.

Oakshott, Michael. "The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind." Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays. New and expanded edition. Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991: 488-541.

In the information age, what is the role of the college library, traditionally the intellectual and social heart of campus?

Albanese, Andrew. "Campus Library 2.0." Library Journal April 15, 2004.

Beimiller, Lawrence. "MIT Splices Whimsy Into Its Architectural DNA: Sprouting Cubes and Cones, Frank O. Gehry's New Building Melds Student Life and Learning." Chronicle of Higher Education May 7, 2004.

Bennett, Scott. Libraries Designed for Learning. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2003.

Carlson, Scott. The Deserted Library: As Students Work Online, Reading Rooms Empty Out - Leading some Campuses to Add Starbucks." Chronicle of Higher Education November 16, 2001.

Denn, Rebecca. "Libraries Dust Off Stuffy Image: New Showcase Blends Hi-Tech with Service." Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 20 2004.

Eco, Umberto. "De Bibliotheca." Bostonia Spring1993: 57-60.

Foote, Steven M. "Changes in Library Design: An Architect's Perspective." portal: Libraries and the Academy 4.1 (2004): 41-59.

Given, Lisa M., and Gloria J. Leckie. "'Sweeping' the Library: Mapping the Social Activity Space of the Public Library." Library and Information Science Research 25(2003): 365-385.

Muschamp, Herbert. "The Library that Puts on Fishnets and Hits the Disco." New York Times May 16 2004.

Rimer, Sara. "Putting A Smile On Sober Science." New York Times May 12 2004, , sec. E: 1.

Ross, Catherine S. Reading in a Digital Age n.d.

Roth, Leland M. Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning., 1993.

The click-click generation

The click-click generation

Written by Muneerah B., on Tuesday, 7 November 2006

 On an average day, you are likely to find yourself in front of your laptop or PC, plugged into your i-Pods or Creative Zen, occasionally glancing over and picking up your cell phone for text messages and such. This may be a picture of daily occurrence for you but it still makes a handful of people go, “I never got to do things like that when I was your age!” Sure you’ve heard it all before, how lucky you are to be growing in this era and all that but to understand exactly what they’re ranting about, here are some of the things ‘they’ never got to do even as recently as the past five to ten years.

For starters, we love the cell phone. No questions about that. But other than the idea of a mobile telephone, Short Message Service is the greatest thing it came along with! It totally changes the way we arrange our plans with others. Before this godsend of an invention, you agree on a time and place to meet before you leave your home, and you had to turn up on time. People generally made a lot more effort to be punctual for their appointments. You don’t need technology to know that having to wait cluelessly is not fun. Now, all you have to do is send a text message to explain whatever reasons (read: excuses) you have for running late. You don’t even have to listen to your friend’s reaction (which will add on to your guilt) on the other line!

 There was a time when ‘hip’ kids were identified by say, those who know and maybe know the lyrics to the latest songs on radio. The radio unfortunately has lost its hip factor with the arrival of the internet. (And it has nothing to do with the fact that lyrics are Google-able.) You don’t have to wait for the stations to pick up a song to know about and listen to and Fegie’s or Beyonce’s new single. Heck, you can even choose not to listen to ‘that kind of music’. The concept of discovering music online has allow music fans to be more exposed to genres and artistes they won’t normally get to listen on regular radio stations, they don’t dictate the music and bands you listen to anymore. That’s why you have Saosin and Copeland on your playlist, right?

Of course we can’t speak about the ‘wonders of the internet’ without mentioning how blogging (along with Friendster and MySpace) has unleashed the narcissist in us. But if any good is to come out of that, it actually provides instant updates about the people we care about. Or those we’re just… curious about. We may be too busy to meet up with selected friends (or people we can’t possibly meet without a plane ride) but reading their blogs or a peak their profile pages can keep you up-to-date with what’s been going on with their lives. And when you do get to meet up or bump into them, there’s no need for the routine “So what have you been up to?” to catch up. Instead you can dive straight into “Hey I heard you are [insert info you read on his/ her blog]?”

The Net Generation

The Net Generation

The New Teen Culture

internetAre you 22 or younger? Have you ever had to help your parents with the computer? Then you belong to the Net Generation. How is technology changing the lives of people your age around the globe?

America currently contains about 88 million members of the Net Generation. These "N-Geners" are kids who have been manipulating mouses since an early age. While past generations made do with the telephone and television, today's generation has access to those devices and super-realistic video games, the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging, online communities, and videos and music that can be downloaded over a computer.

Thanks to e-mail, many kids communicate daily with pen pals around the globe. Some can download their homework if they miss a day of school. Others have even built their own Web sites. While it's easy to take these activities for granted, this high level of interactivity is shaping the Net Generation's culture, values, and world outlook.

After studying young people for his book, Growing Up Digital, author Don Tapscott says the following descriptions apply to most N-Geners.

  • Look at the checklist below. Make an "x" in the space below each category if a description fits you and your friends. Which adjectives would you add?


Characteristic Checklist

globally conscious

Return to Top

Going Global

While many young Americans and Europeans are used to living in a high-tech world, their peers in developing countries are not. According to the World Bank, about 40% of the world's population have never made a phone call, and 1.2 billion people live on less than $1 a day. For these people, modern technology means very little.

  • Six billion people live worldwide. According to the statistic provided by the World Bank, how many of them have never made a phone call? What do you think are the consequences?

Despite the statistics, many companies interested in broadening business markets are working to connect developing countries to the Internet. Other organizations want children and adults in developing countries to have access to the information and resources available on the Web, especially sites that have scientific and educational value.

Currently, an American company called Africa ONE is building a $1.9 billion cable network to connect all 54 nations within the African continent to the Information Highway. About 19,883 miles (32,000 km) of fiber-optic cable will circle the continent beneath the ocean's surface. Laying of the undersea cable will begin in 2001, and the network should be ready for service by 2002.

Similar connective efforts are taking place in South America. Two companies, Telefónica de España of Spain and Global Crossing of the United States, are competing to ring the continent with undersea fiber-optic cable by next March or April.

  • Submarine cable capacity between the United States and Latin America will increase from 275.6 gigabits per second this year to 1,595.6 gigabits per second next year. Gigabits refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over the cables. Estimate how many times greater the connectivity between the United States and Latin America will be by next year. Why might better connectivity between the continents benefit you?

Pros & Cons of Connectivity

Some critics are concerned that children of developing countries will be adversely affected by the technology invasion set to happen within their borders over the next several years. Much of the material on the Internet is oriented toward the Western values of North America and Europe. This can present a lopsided view of the world, one in which the values and traditions of other cultures become invisible.

Critics worry that as children from South America, Africa, and Asia get massive exposure to Western ideas and values, rifts may develop between them and their parents.

Despite the potential problems, some people take a middle ground, saying that the globalization that would be powered by the Internet is not the same thing as Americanization.

  • Read "One World: It's A State of Mind," an essay written by Andrew Lam, an American journalist born and raised in South Vietnam. He argues that while it is easy for Americans to recognize how their culture affects the world (by noting the success of McDonald's and mega-malls around the globe), we often don't realize how the world changes us.

  • Think of several ways that other countries have affected your life. For example, what foods or music do you enjoy that originated in different countries? What sports do you play that originated in other lands?

Of course there are many benefits of developing countries being linked to the larger world. Scientists and doctors from around the world meet online in "virtual laboratories," to quickly spread medical and scientific news and research.

But the benefits extend beyond the medical. Many developing countries are also marked by political unrest. Oftentimes, a government will try to censor the press so that no news can filter to its citizens and the world at large. Such is the case in Sierra Leone, an African nation undergoing a civil war. Citizens there have been "going to great means to get to the Internet," says Brian Herlihy of Africa ONE. "It's the best way to spread news."

  • Read Riverdeep's Teaching the News article, "Diamonds Are a Guerrilla's Best Friend," to learn more about the situation in Sierra Leone. Why could the spread of news help citizens there?

  • Overall, do you think better Internet connectivity will help or harm people your age in different countries? Why?

  • Imagine yourself in college. What skills have you gained by using the Web that you think might be valuable in higher education?

Learn More

  • Read the Riverdeep Today article, "Impolite Society," which examines how technological advances lead to rudeness.

More Links

  • Meet friends worldwide with ePALS.

Related Resources

Educating the Net Generation: www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101.pdf

About the Net Generation

Also known as the Digital Generation, Milenials, or Generation Y, "this generation is the first to grow up with computers at home, music downloads, instant messaging and cellular phones." Students in this generation frequently use Internet technology for Education (Information, Research), Communication, Entertainment, and Self-expression (Wikipedia). According to DoIT's 2002 student computing survey, computer ownership was at 91% (DoIT Student Computing Survey ).

In addition to being computer-users and frequently "on the Net, "many students of the Net Generation are using a variety of Internet technologies on a daily basis that many of their instructors have never used. This website is designed to introduce instructors to these technologies and to help inspire professors and TAs to incorporate these technologies into their academic courses. This page also offers some information about how exposure to the Internet has impacted the Net Generation as learners.

"Today's youth are different from any generation before them. They are exposed to digital technology in virtually all facets of their day-to-day existence, and it is not difficult to see that this is having a profound impact on their personalities, including their attitudes and approach to learning."

Tapscott, Don. (2005) The Net Generation and the School. Milken Family Foundation.

Characteristics of The Net Generation:

  • They are able to multitask / multiprocess: Net-geners can do several things at once.
  • They "have little tolerance for delays." They expect webpages to load quickly, responses to e-mail immediately, etc. (Skiba)
  • They tend to be more comfortable constructing their knowledge than being instructed.
  • They prefer to be interactive: "They want to be users--not just viewers or listeners." (Tapscott, 1998, p.3)

Please see the Resources page for a list of resources on The Net Generation.

LTDE Support

This site will provide you with an introduction to a number of the Internet technologies that are familiar to many students these days. If you would like additional support incorporating any of these technologies into your UW Madison academic course, please contact Learning Technology & Distance Education (LTDE). We offer individual consultations and walk-in help.

Generation M

Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds

A national Kaiser Family Foundation survey found children and teens are spending an increasing amount of time using “new media” like computers, the Internet and video games, without cutting back on the time they spend with “old” media like TV, print and music. Instead, because of the amount of time they spend using more than one medium at a time (for example, going online while watching TV), they’re managing to pack increasing amounts of media content into the same amount of time each day.

The study, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds, examined media use among a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 3rd through 12th graders who completed detailed questionnaires, including nearly 700 self-selected participants who also maintained seven-day media diaries.

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Reports and Studies Icon Executive Summary: Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds

Reports and Studies Icon Report: Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds

This report was released at a forum on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 in Washington, D.C., that included a keynote speech by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and a roundtable discussion featuring FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, Hip Hop artist Common, and top executives from the video game and television industries. The discussion was moderated by CNN’s Jeff Greenfield.

Fact Sheet Icon Agenda

Fact Sheet Icon Speaker Biographies

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Video Audio Icon Webcast of this Forum


martes, 20 de mayo de 2008

Wikinomics and the Future of Education

A keynote speech by Anthony D. Williams at Case Western University's President's Symposium on the Collaborative Technology and the Future of Education

From 'My Generation' to 'My Media Generation:' Yahoo! and OMD Global Study Finds Youth Love Personalized Media

In the 1960s, television and FM radio launched a generation of youth bent on creating new forms of community and self-expression, forcing advertisers and marketers to adapt. According to an in-depth study of 13-24 year olds in 11 countries titled, "Truly, Madly, Deeply Engaged: Global Youth, Media and Technology," released today by Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, and OMD Worldwide, one of the world's foremost leaders in communications, in the 21st century, youth's use of interactive and wireless technologies has created a global generation highly accustomed to personalizing their experiences with interactive media. This so-called "My Media Generation," driven by a desire to personalize their media, has given rise to very different attitudes and responses toward advertising and marketing messages. The results will be released today at Yahoo! and OMD's event for marketers at the Reuters Building in New York as part of Advertising Week 2005.

Like the youth celebrated in The Who's classic song "My Generation," the "My Media Generation" is highly motivated by the need for community and self-expression. But the Internet, mobile phones, and the availability of digital music have allowed that community to go global for the first time.

What really sets today's youth apart is the expectation that they can customize and personalize everything in their world and daily experiences in ways previous generations never could. From individual playlists on MP3 players to personalized avatar wardrobes on instant messaging programs, to wallpaper and ring tones on mobile phones, the My Media Generation demands products and services that suit their moods and desires. And, they will actively search for, modify, or create their own tailored products and services. As one study participant put it: "Using an Avatar, you can express your mood to other people and what you feel at that moment."

"We've moved from broadcasting to podcasting in just a short period of time," says Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer, Yahoo!. "The My Media Generation increasingly filters the flow of advertising messages -- letting in only those that are relevant, entertaining, or delivering value. While that raises serious challenges for marketers, it also brings the promise of new, more powerful channels for reaching youth and having them willingly and enthusiastically engage with brands."

The study showed that as advertising channels become more personal, receptivity to seeing or hearing advertising through that channel decreases. Advertising in traditional media is generally considered more acceptable to youth than advertising in new media channels. However, receptivity to advertising via "their" media (established media), vs. "our" media (the Web) vs. "my" medium (personal devices) varies considerably by country. In fact, in some countries, receptivity to advertising in new media is higher than receptivity to advertising in some traditional media outlets. Sixty three percent of Indian youth agree that it is okay to see advertising on web sites, while only half (51 percent - 52 percent) found advertising acceptable on outdoor, movie theaters or radio.

Multitasking and "Media Meshing"

The study has also revealed that members of the My Media Generation have developed an immense capacity to multitask.

"A key finding from this study is that members of the My Media Generation can fit up to 44 hours of activities in just one day," said Joe Uva, president and CEO, OMD Worldwide. "Their ability to perform up to three tasks simultaneously, using multiple technologies, allows them to potentially increase their media consumption during their average waking hours. Combine this with the demand for personalization, and there's a clear message for marketers on the need to personalize and possibly increase the frequency of their messages in order to reach today's youth."

According to the study, on average the global My Media Generation performs approximately three to four other tasks while surfing the Internet and approximately two to three other tasks while watching television. Young people who live in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia perform the highest number of other activities while surfing the Internet.

Globally, the My Media Generation finds itself faced with more tasks than time to accomplish them -- on a daily basis -- and, as a result, has become highly adept at multitasking and "media meshing."

Media meshing is a behavioral phenomenon that occurs when people begin an experience in one medium, such as watching television, then shift to another, such as surfing the Internet, and maybe even a third, such as listening to music. The explanation for this behavior is the constant search for complementary information, different perspectives, and even emotional fulfillment.