Teens ages 13 to 17 were able to complete assigned tasks on the Web 55 percent of the time, compared with 66 percent for adults, according to Nielsen Norman in Fremont, a firm known for studying how consumers use technology. The teens were hampered by poor reading and research skills and were more prone to leave a site after encountering difficulties.
This goes to the heart of what I’ve been saying about modeling and teaching effective use of the technology. We’re obviously not doing a very good job with our kids, or our adults for that matter.
One other interesting note:
Teens are drawn to sites that offer interaction with others, whether it be answering an online poll or adding to public commentary on the site.
David Warlick says
I think that there has been a myth that kids are somehow culturally, or socially, or genetically predisposed to be successful with technology, and that those of us from a pre-digital generation can never hope to catch up. I believe that many among us, even teachers, have felt some comfort in this myth, and even used it as an excuse for not becoming proficient in the use of digital information.
It is a myth, and it is becoming clear that our students are not learning to use digital information appropriately. We need to help them gain the skills and realizations that will make them productive and inventive information artisans.
Will R. says
Thanks for the comment, David. I agree that there’s little predisposition to be successful with technology, but I do think that kids by and large are more fearless in approaching technology as a learning tool. The issue, as you correctly point out, is that just because they are more open to it does not mean that they are using it well. And one of the main reasons, obviously, is because they have few models of appropriate use. I believe that teachers can only truly help students gain those skills by being “information artisians” themselves, or, at the very minimum, taking the time to understand what it means to be one. And there is much work to be done in that respect.
Kevin Jarrett says
What is the URL for this study?
I’m sitting here with one of my Language Arts teachers and she *JUST* bemoaned this *EXACT* problem. So I’m showing her your blog – would like to continue this conversation with her and others within the school.