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The “Net Generation: ” Implications for Libraries and Higher Education University of Oregon Library Faculty Meeting February 1, 2007
OUTLINE • Profile of the “Net Generation” • The next cohort: What can we expect in 4 -5 years? • Reshaping library services for today’s students • Implications for redesign of learning spaces • Questions & Discussion
What is the Net generation, and what are their learning preferences?
Educating the Net Generation Diana Oblinger Vice President of EDUCAUSE
Net Generation • • Born in or after 1982 Gravitate toward group activity 8 out of 10 say “it’s cool to be smart” Focused on grades and performance Busy with extracurricular activities Fascination with new technologies Racially and ethnically diverse
Saturated with Media • By 21, average Net-Gen-er – 10, 000 hours video games – 200, 000 emails – 20, 000 hours TV – 10, 000 hours cell phone – Under 5, 000 hours reading • That is 1/10 the time reading as other media
Net Gen learning styles • • Teams, peer-to-peer Engagement & experience Visual & kinesthetic Demand for immediacy
Student Preferences for levels of instructional Student in-class preferences technology Moderate IT Percentage 40 Extensive IT 30 Limited IT 20 10 0 No IT Online ―Kvavik, 2004
What should Faculty Do • • Make learning interactive and experiential Consider peer-to-peer approaches Utilize real-world applications Emphasize information literacy in courses Mix online and face-to-face Encourage reflection Create opportunities for synthesis Use informal learning opportunities
“Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. ” - Marc Prensky, 2001
What can we expect in the next cohort of students?
Next Generation • Kids approx. 15 years old today • Continuation of the net generation only with increasing intensity. • Multi-taskers • Hands on, experiential • Prefer media rich content • Gadget and Technology rich • Savvy Consumers • Expect quick results • Think technology is essential to education
Multitasking • Always doing many things • Short attention spans • Developed “hypertext minds”
Hands On, Experiential • Learn better by discovery • Doing things much more interesting than listening about things • Like working in groups and expect group work in courses • Like interactive exchange • Never read instructions
Prefer Media Rich Content • Media saturation results in intuitive visual preference • High levels of competency in visual / spatial (for example, gaming) • Focus on visual and media comes at some expense in text literacy
Gadgets and Technology • Technology is always there and they expect it work • Ubiquitous access to multiple technologies does NOT translate to being an expert user • Challenging for IT support organizations – kids have no interest in understanding how things work, they just want them to work • Can we leverage these gadgets?
Savvy Consumers • Expect to be able to choose what kind of education they buy as well as what, where and how they learn • Want choices in most things • Want to be able to customize everything.
Impatient • Want what they want right now • Part of the whole issue of multitasking • High demands on service and support organizations
Technology is Essential • It is such an important part of our world and embedded in our society, must know how to use it. • It is helpful and makes things faster • Helps poor students • Makes learning about anything anytime easier • To connect with friends
Some Debate • Naomi Baron, linguistics professor at American University thinks parents and educators have created this monster by pandering to them “at some point, what we are doing is killing higher education” • Michael Gorman, Dean of Library services at CSU Fresno and former President of ALA “this sort of end-of-history approach is dubious to me, this idea that we have reached a watershed and we have to throw everything aside and come in with new approaches”
More Debate • Robert Johnson, VP for Information Services at Rhodes College “As huge university libraries push aside their books, they are sending a terrible message to their students”. • Dale Smith, Director of Network Services at the University of Oregon “Don’t we have some responsibility to produce literate graduates? ”
How Does Generational Change Shape Library and Information Services?
Roles of Librarians & Information Professionals • Observing Changes: Libraries and information services have a front-row seat for seeing students’ learning behaviors • Faculty Response: “We mold how they learn” • The Problem for Us: How do we balance expectations of faculty and students? Richard Sweeney, University Librarian New Jersey Institute of Technology
Providing Information Resources Observations Solution? • Students are awash • Work with faculty in information and through the curriculum to convey • The library’s to students that information is harder there are different to get to than the kinds of information, results of a Google some more valuable search than others
Organizing Information Resources Observations • Obstacles to getting information seem inexplicable to students • Anything less than full-scale digitization is less than impressive Solutions? • Use technology to break down obstacles whenever possible • Indoctrinate students to the romance of dusty volumes
Teaching about Information Resources Observations • Role of librarians unclear to students • Librarians may not be where the students are, when the students are • Students may prefer figuring things out themselves, or with peers Solutions? • Participate in the curriculum and campus life • Find ways to be where the students are • Explore peer-to-peer instructional service models
Enabling Students and Faculty to Use Information Resources Observations • Students will use technology for its own sake; not so faculty • Copying, reusing, and sharing information is easy -- especially if it’s digital. But is it legal? Solutions? • Technology must enhance the learning experience • Students and faculty must have a “safe space” for using information
How Would We Like for Net. Gens to Think of the Library? • As a source of valuable and readily available information • As a place equipped for learning and study -- both physical and virtual • As a haven for a community of learners
How should we redesign learning spaces?
What are Learning Spaces? • No longer a traditional classroom or strictly defined environment • Can be anywhere that people learn – physical or virtual, classroom or chat room, on-campus or offcampus • Linked to research on “Information Grounds” -- social settings in which people share everyday information while attending to a focal activity. (Karen Fisher, UW i. School)
Informal Spaces • Students spend more time out of class than in it • Learning occurs through conversations, web surfing, social interactions • Mingle, share, make connections • Spontaneous interactions
Net. Gens • Used to dealing with simultaneous inputs while working • Different values when it comes to learning • “Let’s build it” approach • Collaborative, social creatures • Almost symbiotic relationship with IT
Technology: The Enabler • Technology is a tool • Ubiquitous access to technology • Laptops, tablets, cell phones, i. Pods, digital cameras, PDAs, etc. - Devices continue to get smaller, functionality becomes integrated • Connected any time, any place
Learning Theory and Styles • Shift from memorization to understanding • Constructivist theory: – Contextual – Active – Social • Problem-based
Net. Gen Learning Preferences • • • Teams Peer-to-peer Engagement and experience Visual and kinesthetic Service learning
Learning Activities • • • Collaborative Cooperative Supportive Active Multiple learning paths Multiple learning resources
Software and Tools • • • IM, chat Real-time polling devices Screen sharing software Online quizzes and tutorials Media files Discussion boards E-portfolios Web-based file sharing Productivity, analysis, and presentation software
Facilities and Equipment • • • Café and wireless are almost a given Comfortable, inviting environment Natural lighting Flexible seating Tables with space for all the “stuff” Accessible, adaptable, integrated facilities
Facilities and Equipment, cont. • Flexible IT infrastructure and complete IT integration • Shared screens: smartboards, projectors, LCD panels • Printing • Digital media workstations • Multiple platforms, devices
Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. -Niels Bohr
Ideas for Questions & Discussion • Where can we find opportunities for collaboration -- between libraries; between libraries & other academic support partners? • How do we make sure we support faculty who want to transition their teaching and curriculum? • Does having an educated populace benefit society or is a college education a private good for the individual?
Questions & Discussion, continued • We as service and support organizations have built arcane mechanisms that force the student and faculty to understand history and organizational structure to find help. What can we do about that?
Ideas for Questions & Discussion, continued • The Net and Next Generation kids are used to customization, from cell phone covers, to the look and feel of the PC desktop, to web sites. What should we do to provide a customizable college experience?
Thank You! Andrew Bonamici [email protected] edu