I accept the theory that today’s students are ‘digital natives’ (see John Naughton’s column in The Observer for an explanation). Problem is, I don’t see it in practice.
When I asked a lecture theatre of over 100 first year students ‘who has a blog?’ only one hand went up. It could be that the first lecture isn’t the time to show your hand; it could be that those on MySpace or Bebo don’t think they’re blogging. More likely, though, they can’t connect a purely social, teenage activity with an area of academic study or professional practice.
In the industrial age, people had to compartmentalise. Workers were units of production at work, people with lives outside. But in the information age our skills, interests and prospects are intertwined (and the different strands can easily be revealed by a Google search). Work becomes more interesting – and more important. And the classroom becomes a window on this world, not an ivory tower.