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The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology The Net generation encountering e-learning at university Chris Jones Ruslan Ramanau, Anesa Hosein,

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Presentation on theme: "The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology The Net generation encountering e-learning at university Chris Jones Ruslan Ramanau, Anesa Hosein,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology The Net generation encountering e-learning at university Chris Jones Ruslan Ramanau, Anesa Hosein, Graham Healing and Simon Cross © Dr C, Jones. Some rights reserved. This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

2 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology New kinds of learners? In education they [the Net generation] are forcing a change in the model of pedagogy, from a teacher-focused approach based on instruction to a student-focused model based on collaboration. (Tapscott 2009 p 11). In order for schools to adapt to the habits of Digital Natives and how they are processing information, educators need to accept that the mode of learning is changing rapidly in a digital age… Learning itself has undergone a transformation over the past 30 years… For Digital Natives, research is more likely to mean Google search than a trip to the library. They are more likely to check Wikipedia… Palfrey and Gasser 2008 p239)

3 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology The Net Generation Most of our students, moreover, are part of what we now describe as the Net Generation. This is a generation who think IM, text and Google are verbs not applications! They expect to be engaged by their environment, with participatory, sensory-rich, experiential activities (either physical or virtual) and opportunities for input. They are more oriented to visual media than previous generations – and prefer to learn by doing rather than by telling or reading. They prefer to discover rather than be told. (Becta Research Report 2008, page 13) So, as John Thompson frames the question: Is education 1.0 ready for Web 2.0 students? Brenda Gourley VC Open University, Council address Sept 2008

4 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology A new generation of learners/learning? 'Listening to What We're Seeing.' One student walks across campus listening to an iPod; another is engrossed in text messaging on her cell phone. During class, they're Googling, Instant Messaging and playing games - often at the same time. More likely to use the library as a gathering place than a resource, this is the Net Generation. They co-exist beside older students who are juggling work, childcare and eldercare. Although we see them daily, do we understand our learners? What do their experiences, attitudes and expectations mean for educational institutions? Diana Oblingers introduction to her keynote address ALT-C 2006

5 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Net Generation e-learners? What is the current engagement of university students with new technologies? In social life In higher education Is there a distinct outlook affecting an entire generation? If so what are their characteristics (new practices)? Is there any evidence of new affordances in terms of social engagement? What can we do now that was not possible previously? Does pedagogy have to change to reflect generational changes? New types of literacy – information literacy From scarcity to abundance From consumers to producers of knowledge When is a cut and paste mash-up plagiarism?

6 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology The project - methods and methodology ESRC project began January 2008 Mixed methodology to achieve a broad empirical description and a close observational approach to small samples 5 universities selected for type Urban Red brick, 1970s New University, Large Metropolitan post 92, Recent University (ex-University college), Distance University. 1 st year courses selected for range of disciplines/subject Included Net Generation and older students Three kinds of intervention Survey Interviews Cultural probes (Day experience method)

7 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Universities and courses Table 1: University types.and courses University AUniversity BUniversity CUniversity DUniversity E FoundedFounded 19 th Century Founded 1970s (Polytechnic) university status in 1992 Founded 1960sFounded 1969Founded 21 st Century from university college LocationLarge urban metropolitan Large scale distance Mid size campus outside small city Mid size with multi-site, small towns Course unitsEnglishSociology (Survey1)/ Social Science Key Skills (Survey 2&3) ScienceModern Languages Journalism Bio-scienceInformation and Communication Health and Social Care (Survey1) /Social Science (Survey 2&3) ComputingPsychology Veterinary scienceThe ArtsAccounting and Finance Social Work

8 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Surveys Survey 1 (April 2008) – snapshot Whole course survey (14 courses n = 596, response rate average 30%) 4 conference papers ALT-C paper available online and ORO 1 journal paper in press (Computers and Education) Survey 2 and 3 – longitudinal Survey 2 – Autumn 2008, 5 universities completed (14 courses n= 1098) Survey 3 – end of year 1 Spring 2009 completed (Same 14 courses as Survey 2, n= approx 716)

9 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Computer ownership 77.4 % of students owned a laptop and 38.1 owned a desktop computer In Survey 2 the ownership of laptops was 75.2% The differences across age and gender groups were at significant levels, i.e. female students (χ² =13.87, d.f. = 1, p =.003) and students 25 years of age and younger were more likely to own a laptop (χ² =26.52, d.f. = 1, p <.001) and male students (χ² =18.94, d.f. = 1, p <.001), and those age 26 years of age and over (χ² =31.03, d.f. = 1, p <.001) were more likely to own a desktop

10 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Other devices Owned (%)Shared access (%) No access (%) Mobile phone MP3/iPOD/ Memory stick/card Games console Data on ownership echoes empirical data from other studies, e.g. Kennedy et al. (2008) reported 97.3 % of medical students at a major university in Australia owning a mobile phone; 85.9 % owning a memory stick, but 85.3 % had access to a desktop computer (compared to 38.1 % in our survey 1, 63.4 % in survey 2) ECAR Annual survey (Salaway et al., 2008) on the undergraduate use of IT in the USA found similar patterns to ours – 80.5 % of students owned laptops, 51.3 – desktops; no significant gender differences in laptop ownership and minor in desktop ownership

11 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Choice of Technologies Students tended to use the same technologies for study as they did for social purposes or for entertainment (Pearsons correlation coefficient, p <.001 for all the survey items) For example, students aged 25 years of age and under tended to use text and instant messaging, social networking sites and Internet telephony more frequently than older students (p <.001, one-way ANOVA) Gender were not as pronounced: female students tended to use text messaging and social networking sites more often (p <.001, one-way ANOVA)

12 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Use of Social Networking 68.3 % of the respondents in the sample participated in online social networks (e.g. Facebook, Bebo, MySpace) at least on a daily basis or more frequently Variation in terms of frequency of use between Age of students - 25 years of age and under and older students (F(1, 587) = , p < 0.001) Amongst Net generation age students (25 and under) 81.7 % used social networking on at least a daily basis, whilst only 5.1 % never participated in online social networks. In comparison 55.7 % of students aged 26 years of age and older reported they had never participated in social networking sites and only 24.3 % of them reported the frequency of usage reported by younger students. For the four age bands – 20 years of age and under, 21 to 25 years of age, 26 to 35 years of age and older than 35 years of age. Younger respondents reported more frequent use of social networking websites (F(3, 584) = , p < 0.001), e.g. only 4.3 % of those aged 20 and younger never used this technology compared to 78.5 % of those aged 35 years of age and older.

13 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Intra-generational difference Item Means and F values on Self-Reported Frequency of Technology Tasks among Net Generation Students (5-Point Scale, One-way ANOVA, d.f. = 1 ). 20 and under21-25 Read and send Use mobile phone messaging4.81*4.66* Instant messaging3.75*3.36* Participate in online social networks4.32*4.06* Read and write blogs Use Wikis Play games Download/ stream music Download/ stream TV/ video2.81**2.29** Upload audio, images or video to social networks 2.47**2.32** * p <.05 ** p <.001

14 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Expected use of ICT (Survey 2) < 1 hr1 to 2 hr2 to 3 hrs>= 3 hrsTotal NetGen Leisure357 (38%)245 (26%)167 (18%)177 (19%)946 Study274 (29%)311 (33%)190 (20%)167 (18%)942 Non-NetGen Leisure68 (53%)25 (19%)11 (9%)25 (19%)129 Study41 (32%)45 (35%)18 (14%)25 (19%)129 Total Leisure425 (40%)270 (25%)178 (17%)202 (19%)1075 Study315 (29%)356 (33%)208 (19%)192 (18%)1071

15 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Actual use of ICT (Survey 3) < 1 hr1 to 2 hr2 to 3 hrs>= 3 hrsTotal NetGen Leisure107 (18%)121 (20%)136 (22%)245 (40%)609 Study116 (19%)184 (30%)137 (22%)174 (29%)611 Non-NetGen Leisure42 (43%)29 (30%)10 (10%)17 (17%)98 Study20 (20%)31 (31%)18 (18%)30 (30%)99 Total Leisure149 (21%)150 (21%)146 (21%)262 (37%)707 Study136 (19%)215 (30%)155 (22%)204 (29%)710

16 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Some general conclusions Digital and networked technologies infuse most students lives and the material context claimed for a Net Generation exist There are age related differences but no single identifiable generational set of changes Social Networking and communication technologies are at the centre of age related differences The Net Generation age group is itself divided by age internally There are other significant factors including, institutional mode and gender apart from age Networked communication has a high degree of salience Students are often physically alone but usually digitally connected SNS e.g. Facebook and Mobile (Cell) phones Digital networks help maintain distant links (eg. Home from university/university friends from home)

17 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology References Jones, C., Ramanau, R., Cross, S.J., and Healing, G. (forthcoming) Net generation or digital natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers & Education. Jones, C., and Cross, S.J. (2009) Is there a Net generation coming to university? Association for Learning Technology Conference, Manchester Available from: Jones, C., and Ramanau, R. (2009) The Net Generation enters university: What are the implications for Technology Enhanced Learning? M-2009: Proceedings of the 23rd ICDE World Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education including the 2009 EADTU Annual Conference, 7-10 June 2009, Maastricht NL. Jones, C., and Ramanau, R. (2009) Collaboration and the Net generation: The changing characteristics of first year university students. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: CSCL2009: CSCL Practices. Kennedy, G., Gray, K. and Tse, J. (2008) 'Net Generation' medical students: technological experiences of pre- clinical and clinical students, Medical Teacher, 30:1, Salaway, G. and Caruso, J. B., with Mark R. Nelson (2008). The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008 (Research Study, Vol. 8). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2008, available from Project web site: ( )http://tiny.cc/9lvBC

18 The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology Acknowledgement We would also like to acknowledge the assistance of our collaborators at the five participating universities, in particular Susan Armitage, Martin Jenkins, Sheila French, Ann Qualter and Tunde Varga-Atkins. We would like to thank all the student volunteers who have helped us throughout our research.


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