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Learning and the E-Generation by Lee Farrington-Flint, Jean D. M. Underwood

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Chapter One Learning in a Digital World

Starting Points

It is two decades since Computers and learning: Helping children acquire thinking skills was published (Underwood & Underwood, 1990). This sequel text is entitled Learning and the e-generation as a recognition that the digital contexts in which individuals now learn has irrevocably changed. The new generation of students, for whom digital technologies are the norm, has grown up during the rise of the World Wide Web and uses technology at home and in school for learning and entertainment. Their use of digital media is expanding and their culture will have a major impact on the rest of society. They now use online resources as a preferred option and as a consequence headlines such as ‘Libraries dump 2m volumes’ (Atwood, 2007, p. 1) mark the move from paper to digital technology storage and the demand from students for more space for virtual-learning study areas. It is not that the students have abandoned libraries; they are simply reshaping their use. Video game playing, for example, has taught them to place less reliance on manuals or experts. Students use Google rather than use the library’s web pages: they are used to figuring things out for themselves and their reliance on the expert, in this case the librarian, is diminishing (Lippincott, 2005). Outside the classroom, everyday events such as paying the London congestion charge or finding the time of the next bus are facilitated by a savvy use of technology.

In ...

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