Just as Prensky’s concept of digital natives has been challenged, so too I think we can challenge the assumption that if we give students technology, they will use it as we expect. Luckin’s study on students’ use of web 2.0 tools (2009) certainly illustrates that some students limit their uses of technology to what they know and what they are comfortable with. Few learners in this study stated (Luckin et al, 2009, p. 96) that they engaged in collaborative learning using Web 2.0 tools and were limiting their uses to things like sharing and viewing of photos, text and “swapping ideas about homework”.
Some students in the Luckin study spoke of caution about plagiarism issues (p. 97) which could arise from sharing work (worried about getting into trouble). I have certainly had students wary of producing work that is too much the same when participating in group work, and of course, others who are happy to benefit from the group work of others. But collaboration is more than that, and does not necessarily mean students all need to produce the same (or group) outcome. In other words, collaboration is part of the process where participants work towards collaborative “meaning making” (Chai et al, 2001) which can then lead to learning by the group, as well as the individual.
It would be interesting to complete a similar study to that of Luckin (2009) to see if there has been any significant change in how students now perceive and use Web 2.0 tools in 2017. Have educators been able to encourage millennials to accept and use Web 2.0 more collaboratively and effectively for learning? Are students now using Web 2.0 tools in a more sophisticated way than in 2009?
Chai, C.S., Lim, W., So, H., & Cheah, H.M (2001). Advancing Collaborative Learning with ICT: Conception, cases and design. Ministry of Education, Singapore. Retrieved from http://ictconnection.moe.edu.sg/ictconnection/slot/u200/mp3/monographs/advancing%20collaborative%20learning%20with%20ict.pdf
Luckin, R., Clark, W., Graber, R., Logan, K., Mee, A., & Oliver, M. (2009). Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning? Practices, perceptions and profiles of 11–16‐year‐old students. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2), 87-104. doi:10.1080/17439880902921949