One can barely get through a conference or seminar these days without some discussion falling on the so-called net generation (or digital natives or millennials ... call them what you will). This wave of new learners with apparently new (and frightening) competencies are on the verge of sweeping into our higher education establishments [see Jason Frand's article on the Educause website]. And if we are to believe the current rhetoric we are simply not ready for them. To ease panic and no doubt steer clear of the Valium bottle I have become quite taken by the cognitive psychologist's view on the nature of multi-tasking - one of the privileged characteristics of the net generation. A recent Sunday Times article provided sobering reassurance that there is a debt to pay for engaging in multiple attention spanning activities i.e. multi-tasking is only really available when approaching simple tasks such as ironing and listening to the radio [I knew that !] as more complex tasks require more concentration. It sounds like common (or good)sense so perhaps this generation X-er does not need to feel quite so out of place.
David E Mayer: http://www.umich.edu/~bcalab/personnel.html
Elinor Ochs: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/ochs/
Stephen Monsell: http://psynet.ex.ac.uk/stafflist/profile.php?id=920