Techno Savvy and All-knowing or Techno-oriented?: Information-seeking Behaviour and the Net Generation?


  • Barbara Combes



During the last twenty years rapid developments in technology have led to changes in the way we work, play and learn. Technology has become an integral part of society’s everyday landscape. Children growing up during what has been called the technological or digital revolution have never known a world without instantaneous communication and easy access to vast quantities of information delivered in multiple formats. For the ‘Net Generation’ of users and consumers, technology is transparent and a part of their social, economic and educational landscape. They are surrounded by information using a multitude of formats, text types, graphics and multimedia. Adult observers of these young people marvel at how they use and cope with a wide range of technologies, often seemingly oblivious to instruction manuals. The Net Generation already seem to have the skills to deal with the array of old and emerging technologies. The terms tech-savvy, web-savvy, Internet-savvy and computer-savvy are being used to describe young people in major educational policy documents and population studies worldwide. While educators recognise that their students have a different culture of use when using and seeking information delivered electronically, they struggle to come to terms with the changes the integration of technology brings to the teaching-learning environment. Teachers are continually being reminded that they are the ones who are being left behind a generation for whom the use of communications technologies appears to be intuitive. The question for researchers and educators is do students have an intuitive grasp of how to use electronic information or is this just an illusion borne of familiarity with the technology?