Networked learning, stepping beyond the net generation and digital natives

Jones, Chris (2012). Networked learning, stepping beyond the net generation and digital natives. In: Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Lone; Hodgson, Vivien and McConnell, David eds. Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning. New York: Springer, pp. 27–41.



This chapter critically examines the idea that young people have undergone a change in which exposure to digital and networked technologies has caused a step change in the character of a whole generation. The empirical and theoretical basis for this argument is reviewed and critical theoretical perspectives are assessed. Evidence from earlier research is compared and contrasted with evidence gathered from students who are said to be part of the new generation. The chapter explores the consequences of these ideas from the standpoint of networked learning. One aim of the chapter is to suggest ways in which the changes that have taken can be more adequately theorized in relation to the idea of networked learning. Arguments used to support generational change rely on a technological determinism and alternative accounts understand young people as active agents. I suggest ex-panding the notion of the agent to include persons enacting roles in collective or-ganizations. Overall the importance of the debate is that determinist arguments can close down debate and networked learning would be impoverished if this occurs.

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