Can Google make you smart? Millennials, Screenagers and the Net Generation
A recent article in Businessweek by Don Tapscott, discusses his new book Grown up digital: How the Net Generation is changing your world (2008), and looks at the future of higher education and the way in which the web is changing the way people think and learn.
Because of their immersion in digital technology, he considers that young people (or the ?Net Generation?, as he calls them) have different ways of absorbing information to the current generation and this will have a profound impact on forms of literacy. Whereas the current generation is struggling with information overload, Dan thinks that the Net Generation are skilled at dealing with multiple streams of information and experts at picking out and focusing on the issues of interest to them.
Dan considers this generation is getting smarter and the criticism that they can?t develop a fully developed argument is not correct. He thinks that they are able to develop their own frame of reference, based on much larger amounts of information that we currently manage to deal with.
Lynn Silipigni Conway at OCLC also has written an article about the information seeking habits of the ?Millennials? (also known as the Net Generation, Generation Y or the Echo Boomers) and ?Screenagers? (14-19 year olds who have a considered close afﬁnity for communications technology). She writes that the Screenagers have little patience for ?old? forms of learning ? they want immediate results and have no time to learn how to use the library, preferring to rely on Google ? a worrying trend for higher education.
More encouragingly though, she outlines evidence that shows Millennials prefer the face-to-face interaction with librarians, relying on them to answer their questions and point them in the right direction and she makes a number of key points to help libraries to more effectively attract this group.