Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The pervasiveness of Google in the life of college students

Here's an interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that reports on a recent survey that sought to measure "brand strength" among groups of students age 8 to 12 and 13 to 24.  Among college age students, "Google" and "Facebook" have the strongest brand appeal, beating out traditional consumer goods like "iTunes," "Reese's Peanut Butter Cups," and "Oreos."  One implication, according to the author of the CHE article, is that teachers should find ways to tap into students built-in affinity for online search engines (and social media).  But students' search engine of choice also presents challenges to teachers as well: 

When students consulted library books and resources to complete their homework, diversions stopped.  They couldn’t use the books to communicate with buddies or download music.  The books were for one thing–learning.  Work and play didn’t meld.

Now they do.  This is worse than the old problem of students doing homework with the television on, books open and papers spread out while Friends unfolds across the room.  The older way is a form of multitasking, yes, an ineffectual one.  The newer one, though, is multitasking of a different kind.  With the laptop and Google, Facebook, etc., in action, multitasking of work and play takes place with the same instrument.

The new challenge, then, is this: with Google so popular and trusted and beloved, can teachers reduce the idle and distracting behaviors of the service and increase the intellectual behaviors of it?

And here are all the poll results which show how childrens' interests shift as they get older from things they eat or passively watch/listen to - to things they "do" (like search engines and social media):

For 8- to 12-year-olds, the findings aren’t surprising.  It’s all entertainment and junk food:

1. Nintendo Wii
2. Doritos
3. Oreo’s
4. M&Ms
5. Disney Channel
6. Nickelodeon
7. Nintendo DS
8. McDonald’s
9. Toys R Us
10. Cartoon Network

For the next age group, 13- to 17-year-olds, a different screen time emerges, along with a drop in junk food (although one of them still tops the list).

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
2. iPod
3. Google
4. M&Ms
5. Oreo’s
6. Subway
7. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
8. Target
9. Sprite
10. Microsoft

The significance grows in the next age group, 18- to 24-year-olds, for which Google rises to No. 1 and is followed by another tool often used by teachers for instructional purposes.

1. Google
2. Facebook
3. iPod
4. Gatorade
5. Target
6. Subway
7. Apple
8. iTunes
9. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
10.Oreo’s

You can read the rest here.

(jbl).

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2010/12/the-pervasiveness-of-google-in-college-students-life.html

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