Millennial Students and Technology Choices for Information Searching


  • Martin Rich


Millennial students, Web 2.0, information literacy


This paper draws together ideas about different generations of students, notably the 'millennial generation' (born from around 1982 to 2000) which encompasses a high proportion of current students in higher education, and ideas about the different types of technology available when searching for information. In the context of higher education, this is particularly relevant when students are encouraged to find out information for themselves, typically to relate this to taught material. This is connected with information literacy, as it reflects students' abilities to carry out simple or complex research. This paper focuses on why students choose particular technologies to support their research and the effect of these choices on their learning and on their written work. A particular current issue is the emergence of the generation of Internet resources collectively known as 'web 2.0' notably Blogs and Wikis — and the relationship of these to the way that students presently in universities favour structuring their work. These resources also introduce issues of authoritativeness. It is tempting to dismiss wikipedia as the work of amateurs, but where a blog has been created by a notable expert, author, or journalist, questions arise as to whether the blog should be regarded as of different value from the same person's written work. Therefore some consideration will be given to how students can be encouraged to recognise and draw on intelligent exploitation of these new resources. Underlying data for the paper is drawn from discussions with current students, both individually and in groups.



1 Sep 2008