Online Behavior by Generation

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Slide 2 - PIP Generations Online 2009The Pew Internet & American Life Project released an interesting report (along with a PowerPoint) this morning about online behavior by generation.  If you’ve been in the edtech community for any length of time or you have actually spent time talking to your students, friends, and family about their online behavior none of the information will be extremely shocking.  At 31 I sit on the fence between Generation X and the Millennial Generation (Generation Y in this report) and I’m regularly reminded of the differences in online behavior between friends 5 years younger than me and friends 5 years older than me.  More than once I’ve been at a party in the middle of a conversation referring to links I shared on Facebook only to realize the friends who are a little older than me never saw it because they don’t use Facebook.

Even though the information may not be extremely remarkable, as I looked at the slide above I kept thinking about the way it illustrates the challenges we face in implementing new technology in education.  The generation in charge doesn’t use the tools in the same way as the generation sitting in the desks if they use them at all.  As a result, they have very little understanding of their power and necessity.  For me its a reminder of the fact that when I propose a new technology I must really educate my administrators about how the tools are already being used.

Joe

Photo: Slide02 from Generations Online in 2009 by Sydney Jones, Pew Internet & American Life Project.

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