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The Net Generation

The classroom was a buzz of excitement, mainly from the discussion about the previous night’s exploits, but also from the expectation of another interactive and entertaining lesson. The room was full of the same disaffected young learners that occupy further education colleges across the country. However, they are used to being experimented on by me. Part of my role at the college is to teach the other lecturers to use technology in learning and I have to try out these techniques somewhere:-)

Today, the so called ‘net generation’ were being shown how to create a wiki. We were developing an online document to share our research on the laws and ethics surrounding information systems. We used the excellent etherpad online collaboration tool (recently acquired by google, so who knows what will happen to it), which allows real-time, multiple, edits of the document. Researching computing and adding their findings to the online document, the class built up a shared resource. Once they had added their research to the wiki, they spent the remaining time playfully abusing each other in the associated chat area on the wiki.

Meanwhile, back at home, after only one demonstration my four year old has worked out how to switch on the family computer and navigate to the cbeebies website without supervision. In comparison it took my post-16 learners an hour to get to grips with an online document.

Through this blog I want to compare the developments of the current net generation with the next generation of naturalised technologists. A generation that is so completely immersed in interactive multimedia that technology is an extension of life.