This story over at cnet, “Wired but not Web 2.0? That’s normal, study says,” reads sort of like a “Dog Bites Man” story – in other words, didn’t we already know this? Article references a recent (and actually very interesting) study put out by the Pew Internet & American Life project which breaks down the US population according to 10 types of internet users (or non-users, for one category), what the study refers to as “tech personalities”. The “omnivore” category consists of “devoted web 2.0” users, usually in their early to mid 20’s, and makes up about 8% of the population. According to the Pew report, Web 2.0 users are heavy technology users who “express themselves online and participate in the commons of cyberspace,” which basically boils down to using social media, social networking sites (like Facebook), keep up a blog or other personal webpage, do some vlogging or podcasting, make mashups, etc.
I’m going to a forum this week to talk about increasing Freshman retention at the university, and I think it would be good to bring up this study. If we want to increase student retention, we need to keep in mind how this generation (Millenials, Gen Y) lives their everyday lives, and find a way to fit education into their daily infospheres, in terms and delivery methods that make sense to them. As I indicated in an earlier post, we need to prepare for teaching the web 2.0 student. This study, I think, adds more validity to the claims I made in that post.
You can find a PDF of the Pew report here.