Sunday, 15 March 2009

Grannies with Blackberries

The myths and realities surrounding the Google generation were discussed by Jeff Haywood from Edinburgh. The Google generation is defined as those born after the mid 90s, and is a topic which raises strong feeling, both negative and positive. The strongest debate comes out of the writings of Marc Prensky who coined the terms digital natives and digital immigrants. Jeff covered the stereotyping surrounding this generation, and the variations (I loved his phrase - grannies with their blackberries) both in generations and across continents.

He came up with ways he thought we should shape our services - all of which had a real resonance with me - especially the first one which was design, design, design. Make things look good and easy to use. If Amazon had looked like SAP no-one would have used it (I stuck the SAP bit in!).

Something that we've become very aware of is that although the Google generation might be able to use any number of web applications - they can't look after a laptop. They can Google anything, but can't always assess the quality of the information they find. These are competencies that we should be addressing.

We also need to make sure we are producing services and content which can be used on mobile devices - screens are going to get bigger and phones smarter and we need to have stuff ready now. We will only develop services for todays learners if we are aware of what they want - we must read, watch, talk, consult and listen. Partership is important - with academics, and other professional services including AV, the Library and colleagues involved with learning media technologies. Finally, we must be risky - users are bringing their own technology and we need to take risks like they do, supporting them with best of breed applications.

2 comments:

Ian Waugh said...

I thought Jeff's presentation was excellent, not at all like I expected.

'Design, design, design' - completely agree with that one. Content is everything of course, but we can't afford to put people off accessing it.

Ian Waugh said...

Video of the talk now online:

http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/publications/ucisa2009video.aspx