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Rob Parsons

Is the Revolution Justified? : The Digital Scholar: How Technology Is Transforming Scho... - 9 views

  • And Oblinger and Oblinger (2005) claim as one of the defining characteristics of the net generation that ‘they want parameters, rules, priorities, and procedures … they think of the world as scheduled and someone must have the agenda. As a result, they like to know what it will take to achieve a goal. Their preference is for structure rather than ambiguity’. This rather begs the question, ‘was there evidence that previous generations had a stated preference for ambiguity and chaos in their learning?’
  • It is amazing to me how in all the hoopla and debate these days about the decline of education in the US we ignore the most fundamental of its causes. Our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. (Prensky 2001)
    • tatiluna
      I think this statement is anachronistic. In fact, the "new students" today who do not fit into the traditional educational system are in many cases people who were raised in the system, and then either rejected it or were rejected by it in some way.  Our educational system is designed to train conformist drones, who do not know how to learn without school.  There are many who are also able to live in both of these worlds, the traditional and the new, but I think they can bring new insights to the traditional school environment.
    • Rob Parsons
      I think this is a red herring as far as technology is concerned. it's much more to do with a pervasive social issue about inclusion and exclusion, probably worldwide, but much more marked in the UK due to the enthusiastic implementation of Thatcherism by her and subsequent governments. Many students know or suspect that there is no point for them in school and schools exclude like everyone else does those pupils who are likely to be expensive. Cost has truly overtaken value as the main point of reference
  • ...6 more annotations...
    • Rob Parsons
      That's interesting. I doubt that the older generation were inherently more moral. I suspect that they regarded plagiarism more seriously because it's easier to hold censorious views about a crime that's difficult to commit. When the crime becomes easy to commit fewer people stand out against it. There is also the issue that plagiarism falls into the category of wrong doing that doesn't obviously hurt anybody - like speeding or smoking cannabis.
  • Brown (2009) reports,

    Recently, the Nielsen Norman Group study of teenagers using the web noted: ‘We measured a success rate of only 55 percent for the teenage users in this study, which is substantially lower than the 66 percent success rate we found for adult users’. The report added: ‘Teens’ poor performance is caused by three factors: insufficient reading skills, less sophisticated research strategies, and a dramatically lower patience level’.

    • Rob Parsons
      Summary: discussions about net gen are not significant. There is not evidence of significant difference between net gen and previous gens. Also there is evidence of significant variation within today's younger generation. Issue also lacks significance because we still need to cater for very large number of other gen learners.
  • A new generation is behaving fundamentally differently – there seems little real evidence beyond the rhetoric that the net generation is in some way different from its predecessors as a result of having been exposed to digital technologies. There is some moderate evidence that they may have different attitudes.

    There is a general change in society which has relevance for learning – certainly the overall context is an ICT-rich one, and people are using the Internet for a variety of learning-related activities.

    People are learning in different ways – although firm evidence of informal learning is difficult to gather, there is much by the way of proxy activity that indicates this is the case.

    There is growing dissatisfaction with current practice in higher education – there seems little strong evidence for this. Probably more significant to the culture of education has been the shift to perceiving the student as a customer. There is certainly little evidence that the dissatisfaction is greater than it used to be, but what may be significant is that there are now viable alternatives for learners. Universities have lost their monopoly on learning, which reinforces the next point.

  • Higher education will undergo similar change to that in other sectors – there are some similarities between higher education and other sectors, such as the newspaper and music industries, but the differences are probably more significant. However, the blurring of boundaries between sectors and the viability of self-directed, community-based learning means that the competition is now more complex.
  • The first is that there is lag between society's acceptance of a technology and then its adoption in higher education. Brown (2009) suggests that in society the stages of technology diffusion can be defined as critical mass (ownership by 20–30 per cent of the population), ubiquity (30–70 per cent) and finally invisibility (more than 70 per cent). If higher education were to wait for the invisibility stage to be reached before it engaged with a technology, then given the time it takes to implement policies and technology, it really will look outdated. For example, in 2007, those using social networks might have been in the minority; now they will be in the majority. This is the problem with waiting for data to determine decisions – if you made a decision based on 2007 data that social networks were largely unused, it would look out of date in 2010. What is significant is the direction of travel, not the absolute percentages at any given time.
    • Rob Parsons
      I'm not entirely sure what the argument is here; or what the evidence is. What sort of lag and how much is actually evident? And which bits of society is HE lagging behind - there are lots that haven't caught up with the interwebs at all, and others that are racing ahead.
    The Digital Scholar - Martin Weller
    I haven't read any of this book yet, but this quote is running along the lines of my own thinking for my own interaction with the web and all its tools and structures. I'm beginning to feel that many of the new tools used for organization, aggregation, and note taking are too regimented for what I want right now, too task-oriented. I'm figuring out how I learn best, and the most important part of that process that has been missing for me in the past is connection to creativity. Of course, the internet is a place where so much creation is going on and I can certainly find inspiration from it. But in terms of working out my projects using solely these new tools, I keep running against a wall. I'm not exactly sure if that's what Oblinger and Oblinger are talking about, but that's what I thought of.
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