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Internet Myths


... develop and superimpose its culture on the rest of society' (Tapscott, 1998; 1-2 ... 'challenge to the knowledge society to give decent incomes and with them ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Internet Myths

Internet Myths
  • Dr. Norm Friesen
  • June 23, 2007

  • Is the Internet producing a new generation?
  • Does the Internet (and technology generally)
    drive social change?
  • Has the Internet ushered in a new "Knowledge
  • Does the Internet allow for you to be anywhere
    anytime or even anybody?

Myth 1 The "Internet Generation"
  • Those born since 1982 are the "Net Generation"
  • Characteristics
  • "personal, multifunctional, wireless,
    multimedia, and communication-centric"
  • multitasking, always-on communication
  • Active, creating multimedia, not just passive

  • "For the first time in history, children are more
    comfortable, knowledgeable, and literate than
    their parents about an innovation central to
    their society. And it is through the use of the
    digital media that the N-Generation will develop
    and superimpose its culture on the rest of
    society" (Tapscott, 1998 1-2 A Canadian!)

Research into Children the Internet
  • "children and young people are generally
    claiming greater online self-efficacy and skills
    than…their parents" (Livingstone, Bober
    Helsper, 2005 3)
  • skills needed to use the Internet are distributed
    not only by age,
  • also by gender and socio-economic status
    (Livingstone, Bober Helsper, 2005 3)
  • Class middle class children more "likely to
    experience the Internet as a rich, if risky,
    medium than less priveged children" (Livingston,
    Bober, 2004 415)

The 1 Rule?
  • "if you get a group of 100 people online then one
    person will create content, 10 will "interact"
    with it (commenting or offering improvements) and
    the other 89 will just view it" (Arthur, 2006).

The "Net Class?"
  • …not all of the opportunities available to
    children and young people are being taken up
    equally. Hence we chart the emergence of a new
    divide, signaling emerging inequalities in the
    quality of Internet use, with children and young
    people being divided into those for whom the
    Internet is an increasingly rich, diverse,
    engaging and stimulating resource of growing
    importance, and those for whom it remains a
    narrow, unengaging if occasionally useful
    resource of rather less significance.
    (Livingston Bober, 2004 395)

Myth 2 Technology drives Social Change
  • Technology or technological change impact society
  • Technology as a disruptive force
  • Laws of technological change
  • tipping point
  • Moores Law
  • Kurzweils Law

"Destiny wires the plains"
Encoded in Research Designs
  • Rogers "Dissemination of Innovation" Model
  • Technology disseminated through a population
  • Technology as pre-given in its uses, design,
    purposes, functions, etc.
  • technology as a kind of "unmoved mover,"
    decisively influencing education from the outside
  • Adoption and resistance as the only responses
  • Implied values "early adopters" "mainstream" or

Encoded in Research Designs
  • quasi-experimental designs that define technology
    as a treatment or control
  • Measure its effects or outcomes for education,
    violence, alienation, etc.
  • produces results deemed either controversial,
    inconclusive or as fatally flawed (Bernard
    et. al. 2004 Russell, 1997
  • In both cases, the question as to why we have the
    technologies we do, is unanswered, and unasked.

Technological Determinism
  • technological determinism the belief that
    social progress is driven by technological
    innovation, which in turn follows an inevitable
    course. Smith, 1994, p 38 also
  • optimistic hard determinism the advance of
    technology leads to a situation of inescapable
    necessity with the future being the outcome of
    many free choices and the realization of the
    dream of progress…(Marx Smith, 1994 xii).

  • progress can sometimes fail, or be stopped dead
    in its tracks
  • The persistence of the classroom, offices, and
    cities themselves.
  • adaptation has occurred in a manner that seems to
    have had the end effect of reinforcing rather
    than disrupting many conventional institutional
    practices and organizations.

  • active end-user domestication, taming, or
    appropriation of the technology (based on
    Silverstone Hirsch, 1992 see also Pinch
    Outershoon, 2004).
  • Study technology design processes technology in
    the making (ANT)
  • Empower users place designers in dialogue
  • Combined models

Myth 3 Internet the "Knowledge Economy"
  • "Technology and intellectual technology…which
    forms the foundation of the electronically
    mediated global economy" (xv), and
  • A "knowledge theory of value" in which knowledge,
    rather than skilled labour, becomes a productive
    force, creating "value added and increasing
    returns to scale" (xvii).
  • "dependent on acquiring and using information
    technology, on having (or restricting) access to
    the right information at the right time, and on
    managing information flows"

Implications for Education other Social Programs
  • "The challenge is to get students on…a
    developmental trajectory leading from the natural
    inquisitiveness of the young child to the
    disciplined creativity of the mature knowledge
  • "The new economy has placed the acquisition of
    knowledge, and the role of higher education, at
    the center of national development."

The Reality
  • Registered nurses
  • Postsecondary teachers
  • Retail salespersons
  • Customer service representatives
  • Combined food preparation and serving
  • Cashiers, except gaming
  • Janitors and cleaners, except maids and
    housekeeping cleaners
  • General and operations managers
  • Waiters and waitresses
  • Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants (US
    Department of Labor, 2004)

  • service sector employees generally require only
    "short- to medium-term on the job training"
    (Henwood, 73 2003) and the divide between
    knowledge work and service work has been
    associated with problems like "underemployment"
    and "overeducation" (Livingstone, 1997)

Peter Drucker
  • "This society, in which knowledge workers
    dominate, is in danger of a new class conflict
    the conflict between the large minority of
    knowledge workers and the majority of people who
    will make their living through traditional ways,
    either by manual work, whether skilled or
    unskilled, or by services work, whether skilled
    or unskilled."
  • "challenge to the knowledge society to give
    decent incomes and with them dignity and status
    to non-knowledge people."

Myth 4 Anyplace, Anytime, Anybody
  • The Internet overcomes time, space even the
  • Cyberspace as better than the "real world"
  • Overcomes race, gender, diability
  • Can go to class in you pyjamas
  • "death of distance" (Cairncross, 2001)

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Anytime or Anybody?
  • We are positioned in front of the screen
  • We are also positioned in terms of identity,
    place and time by the messages that bombard us
    from that screen.
  • interpellation Think of a policeman who shouts
    Hey, you there! on the street. Someone will
    generally turn around to answer that call. At
    this moment, this person is positioned, becoming
    a subject relative to the ideology of law and

  • Anyone, anywhere, anytime, invokes a kind of
    default person, place and time which is
    generally white and male (Nakamura, 2002), in a
    position of wealth and in a space and time
    generally defined in terms of production and

  • Is there some truth to these myths?
  • Are there other myths about the Internet?
  • What does this mean for research on the Internet?