Are college students techno idiots? Despite the inflammatory headline, Inside Higher Ed asks an interesting question. The article refers to a recent study by ETS, which analyzed results from 6,300 students who took its ICT Literacy Assessment. The findings show that students don’t know how to judge the authoritativeness or objectivity of web sites, can’t narrow down an overly broad search, and can’t tailor a message to a particular audience. Yikes. According to the article: ‘when asked to select a research statement for a class assignment, only 44 percent identified a statement that captured the assignment’s demands. And when asked to evaluate several Web sites, 52 percent correctly assessed the objectivity of the sites, 65 percent correctly judged for authority, and 72 percent for timeliness. Overall, 49 percent correctly identified the site that satisfied all three criteria.’
Here’s what I mean. Just because about 90% of American teens regularly use the web and over half are on MySpace doesn’t mean that they know a lot (or anything) about technology or critical thinking. To think it does reflects the huge difference between how they use and think about the web and how ‘adults’ do.
That isn’t to say all ‘adults’ are as mistaken as ETS and Inside Higher Ed appear to be. Flickr is a social photo sharing site teaming with ‘adults’ driven with the same motivation teens on MySpace have: to do something fun and share it.
And just because our teens are using the web doesn’t mean they don’t need good, innovative teachers who know how to communicate with them.
[tags]technology, information literacy, technoidiots, teens, students, web[/tags]