There is an excellent article by Diana Oblinger (Educause) in Emerging Technologies for Learning , vol.3 2008. She summarises common Web generation characteristics. "An increasing number of students - and their parents - expect academic success wuth little academic effort". They "prefer to learn by doing rather than by telling or reading. Don't just tell us - let us discover". This is very much borne out by my experience here at University of Bedfordshire in the way we are approaching the first year Business Studies curriculum. Very interestingly she sees the Web Generation as the harbingers of change - where they are today, tomorrow we shall be.I think that has been shown by the take-up of Web 2.0 technologies by librarians over the past year. She emphasises that students seem more at home with images, and this visual characteristic of the Web Generation was also picked out in a presentation I heard recently by Joan Lippincott. She acknowledges that a second-level dital divide may exist on PC age, connectivity and user support."Not all students have computers, not all are skilled users, and not all want to use technology". She also doubts whether the Web generation is naturally reflective. This is very important for academics and librarians alike as reflective practice looms so large in so much of academia.
She asks the crucial question :
"how do we ensure that information fluency becomes a habit of mind rather than of an isolated library requirement if parents, teachers, and staff do not integrate into their daily interactions with students?"
I'm not going to comment on the rest of the article, save to say that it gets more and more revolutionary!
Well worth reading!