## H800: 57 Week 12. Activity 2+ Richardson

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 12:46

I admire the way Richardson picks his way through the CIBER/UCL document and then presents his own reports as a model of social science excellence. He has a valid point, even if I find the stats themselves impossible to decipher. I recognise the research methodology and hope to reach this standard eventually - perhaps with the MRes after the MA?

Ciber/UCL presumes that Google generation is a fact for others to disprove.

I don't support the all lower case choices for the contents – as if written on a Blackberry. Upper and Lower case serve a purpose that aids reading, even more than say choosing between serif and sans serif.

‘The untested assumption is that this generation is somehow qualitatively ‘different’ from what went before: that they have different aptitudes, attitudes, expectations and even different communication and information ‘literacies’ and that these will somehow transfer to their use of libraries and information services.’ p5

The longitudinal study sounds like guesswork. p6

Look at a Population Pyramid.

Which part of it is unequivocally Generation X or Y?

Do you look at a ward, a town, a region, a country or a continent?

When ‘Generation X’ or the ‘Google Generation’ is applied to people its said as if it applies to the entire population.

Perhaps there’s a state in California where every child is born with an iPad in their hands.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/03/mind-vs-machine/8386/ Christian, Brian (2011) The Most Human Human

We are told that the ‘Google Generation’ are those born after 1993. Google launched in 1996. It came to prominence, six years later? Who might I ask were the first to exploit Google? Not this age group. And just because they were born in the era of the search engine super powers does not make them ignorant of books (or libraries). Regarding these in relation to learning, here again we should challenge the term. Did we not, as children, learn far more from our mother, and parents, and our immediate family. Even once at school, what fraction of teaching here compares to the great period of time we spend away from school.

The language used, as Richardson advises us, could warn of a weakness in the factual nature of the report, ‘raises enormous issues for information providers’ hints of the scaremongering you get in the press. In any case, this could only be the outcome if nothing changes but a) the technology constantly strains to find a market by serving a valuable purpose and b) people catch up, they learn new things sooner.

‘The fact is, the human race got to where it is by being the most adaptive, flexible, innovative and quick learning species on the planet’ says Brian Christian in his 2011 book ‘The most human human. A defence of humanity in the age of the computer.’

This could be applied equally well in relation to the narrative across the Richardson papers, that the differences and difficulties between face-to-face and online learning have largely been overcome. We’re getting better at it, as his research shows. Online learning is becoming more face-to-face in its nature, but also plays to its strengths and differences with technology that is common place, inexpensive and intuitive.

I wonder how much of this I can relate back to weeks 8 & 9 though ... let's go and take a look.

Also here 'My mind bursts'

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## H800: 56 Wk12 Acitivity 2

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A questionnaire is valid if it measures the personal qualities or traits that it purports to measure.

I suppose it frustrates me when opinion, even popular journalism, makes it up.

In terms of what we’ve looked at thus far I keep coming back to Prensky. Though getting into a discussion about ‘the Google Generation’ and ‘the Net Generation’ for the umpteenth time I think I was saved by the trailer for a BBC series (Radio 4 I think) in which they called the people ‘the Jam generation,’ because these people were in their teens when the Jam were big. i.e. Anything ‘Generation’ is a catch-all, conversational, accessible way to get the sense of a group of people, whether or not it has any validity, it has some cultural cache.

I liked the way some people took the two stage of Sfard and offered a third, that of application. Since starting this module I’ve come to work at the Open University Business School where ‘practice based learning’ and the value of something like the MBA programme to the employer and well as the employer is discussed, as the learning, modular, can be applied. When I started the MAODL, the earlier version of the MAODE in 2001 I was sponsored by my employer as we were developing innovative online learning and the language at least I applied in every meeting we had.

• 22 February 2011, 15:06

Re: Sfard (1998)

Sfard’s paper apart from the overcomplicated use of English seemed to miss a vital metaphor that being the ‘Application’ metaphor. What is the use of acquisition and or participation if it is not tied into application? Too often these days I find myself asking the question, “so how do you see that working in practice” only to find this has not been thought through with the any rigour.

Joanne Pratt Post 7 in reply to 5

It’s not in the reading but I was drawn to some work by the Neuroscientist V.J. Ramachandran who suggests that our human ability to think in metaphors is a mistake, but this error permits creative thinking/invention. i.e. it was a mutation that proved advantageous. I believe this too, that the variety of metaphors we come up with guides what could otherwise be a torrent of logical thinking that could not solve problems or change the world.

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## H800:12 WK1 Activity 4 The Google Generation - True or False?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011, 23:57

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Written in 2007 (published 11 January 2008). Reviewed in 2011.

Part of the Week 1 jollies for H800.

(This picks up where I left off in the Forum Thread)

After a year of MAODE, a decade blogging and longer keeping journals (and old course work from both school and uni I might add) I feel I can tap into my own first, second, third or fourth take on a topic.

Increasingly, where this is digitised my preferred learning approach is to add to this information/knowledge, often turning my ideas inside out.

We are yet to have a ‘generation,’ (a spurious and loose term in this context) that has passed through primary, secondary and tertiary education ‘wired up’ to any consistent degree from which to gather empirical research. Indeed, I wonder when things will bottom out, when we’ve gone the equivalent journey of the first horseless-carriage on the Turnpikes of England to the 8 lanes in both directions on the M1 south of Leicester – or from the Wright Brothers to men on the moon.

I’d like to encourage learners to move on from copying, or cutting and pasting in any form, to generating drafts, and better drafts of their take on a topic, even if this is just a doodle, a podcast or cryptic set of messages in a synchronous or asynchronous discussion i.e. to originate.

I lapped up expressions such as Digital Natives, an expression/metaphor only that has been debunked as lacking any basis in fact.

I fear this is the same when it comes to talking about ‘Generation X, Y or Z.’ It isn’t generational, it is down to education, which is down to socio-economic background, wealth, access (technical, physical, geographic, as well as mental), culture, even your parent’s job and attitude.

My 85 year old Father-in-law is Mac ready and has been wired to the Internet its entire life; does this make him of this ‘Generation?’

If x billion struggle to find clean drinking water and a meal a day, where do they stand?

They’ve not been born on Planet Google, so don’t have this generational opportunity.

I find it short sighted of the authors not to go for a ‘longitudinal’ (sic) study. It strikes me as the perfect topic of a JISC, Open University, BBC tie in, the filming part funding the research that is then published every three years for the next thirty, for example.

Trying to decide who is Generation X, or Generation Y or the ‘Google Generation’ strikes me as fraught as trying to decide when the islands we inhabit became, or could have been called in turn England, Scotland, Wales, Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

We could spend an unwarranted amount of time deciding who is in and who is out and not agreed.

We can’t it’s like pouring water through a sieve. The creator of IMBD, a computer geek and film buff was born in the 60s (or 70s). Highly IT literate, then as now, he is not of the ‘Google Generation’ as defined as being born after 1993, but is surely of the type?

Personally I was introduced to computers as part of the School of Geography initiative at Oxford in 1982.

Admittedly my first computer was an Amstrad, followed by an early Apple, but I’ve not been without a computer for the best part of thirty years. I can still give my 12 year old a run for his money (though he does get called in to sought our browser problems).

And should this report be quoting Wikipedia?

Surely it is the author we should quote if something is to be correctly cited; anyone could have written this (anyone did).

Reading this I wonder if one day the Bodleian Library will be like a zoo?

The public will have access to view a few paid students who recreate the times of yore when they had to read from a book and take notes, and look up titles in a vast leather-bound tome into which we strips of paper were intermittently stuck. (not so long ago).

Is there indeed, any point in the campus based university gathered around a library when all his millions, or hundreds of millions of books have been Googliefied?

Will collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Durham (Edinburgh and Dublin? Harvard ?) become even more elite as they become hugely expensive compared to offerings such as the Open University?

There may be no limit to how much and how fast content can be transmitted … the entire Library of Congress in 3 seconds I am told, but there are severe limits to how much you can read and remember, let alone make sense of and store.

Is this not the next step?

To rewire our minds with apps and plug-ins? I smile at the idea of ‘power browsing’ or the new one for me ‘bouncing’ the horizontal drift across papers and references rather than drilling vertically, driven by a reading list no doubt.

I can give a name to something I did as an undergraduate 1981-1984. Reading Geography I began I the Map room (skipped all lectures) and then spent my morning, if necessary moving between libraries, particularly the Rhodes Library and Radcliffe Science Library, by way of the School of Geography Library, of course, and sometimes into the Radcliffe Camera or the PPE Reading Rooms.

I bounced physically.

I bounced digitally online as a preferred way of doing things. Though this often leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the things I could read, but haven’t read, that I’d like to read. Which is good reason ONLY to read the latest paper, to check even here if the paper we are asked to read has not already been superseded by this or fellow authors.

Old digitised news keeps like a nasty smell in the wind?

Users are promiscuous, diverse and volatile and it is clear that these behaviours represent a serious challenge for traditional information providers, nurtured in a hardcopy paradigm and, in many respects, still tied to it. (p9)

The problem with the short read and low tolerance of readers is the way papers have thus far gone from print version to digital version without, yet, thorough transmogrification.

We await new acceptable ways to write, and submit and share knowledge that is less formal and to anyone versed in reading online, digestible.

All authors for the web would do well to read Jakob Nielsen on web usability.

There is a way to do it. If it looks like it belongs in a journal or book, you are getting it wrong

Do the authors appreciate that labelling the behaviour ‘squirreling’ is self-fulfilling?

It normalises the behaviour if anyone reads about it. Whilst metaphors are a useful way to explain, in one person’s words, what is going on, such metaphors soon become accepted as fact.

There is a running debate across a series of article in the New Scientist on the way humans think in metaphors (good, can’t help it), and how ideas expressed as metaphors then set unfounded parameters on how we think (not so good, and includes things like the selfish gene, competition and so on).

This dipping, bouncing and squirreling, horizontal browsing, low attention span, four to eight minute viewing diverse ‘one size does not fit all’ individual would make for an interesting cartoon character. I wonder if Steven Appleby or Quentin Blake would oblige. ________________________________________________________________________________

Why ‘huge’ and why ‘very’ ? Qualify. Facts. Evidence. And why even, 'very, very.' This isn't academic writing, it's hear say and exaggeration.

There’s a category missing from the graph – branded information, such as Wikipedia, or Harvard Business Publication, Oxford or Cambridge University Press and Blackwell’s, to name put a few.

Where so much information is available, and so many offerings on the same topic, the key for anyone is to feel they are reading a reliable source.

The point being made later about ‘brand’ presence for BL … something we will see more of with the commercialisation of information. Even Wikipedia cannot be free for ever, while the likes of Wikileaks, for its mischief making and spy-value will always be funded from nefarious sources.

There are very very few controlled studies that account for age and information seeking behaviour systematically: as a result there is much mis-information and much speculation about how young people supposedly behave in cyberspace. (p14)

Observational studies have shown that young people scan online pages very rapidly (boys especially) and click extensively on hyperlinks - rather than reading sequentially. Users make very little use of advanced search facilities, assuming that search engines understand’ their queries. They tend to move rapidly from page to page, spending little time reading or digesting information and they have difficulty making relevance judgements about the pages they retrieve. (p14)

Wikipedia and YouTube both exhibit a marked age separation between viewers of content (mainly 18-24s) and content generators (mainly 45-54s and 35-44s respectively). (p16, ref 17)

‘there is a considerable danger that younger users will resent the library invading what they regards as their space. There is a big difference between being where our users are’ and `being USEFUL to our users where they are’.

Surely it would be easy to compare a population that have access and those who do not?

Simply take a group from a developed, rich Western nation and compare them to a group that are not, that don’t have the internet access, video games or mobile phones.

REFERENCE

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. UCL 11 JAN 2008

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