Two recent studies focusing on the impact that digital technologies have on children and teens in the United States raised several warning signs for the business community.
On one hand, the proliferation of information accessible from computers and mobile phones opens new worlds and opportunities to young and old alike. But the fire hose of information, and the expectation that we can now tackle tough questions and find solutions with just a few clicks or taps are also a troubling trend for business.
With an ageing population sending more professionals into retirement in the coming years, businesses will have to hire, train and cope with a new wave of workers whose approach to problem solving contrasts sharply with students from previous generations.
Washington DC-based The Pew Internet and American Life Project issued a report analysing how teens approach research and academic work in a digital world. The survey's respondents agreed almost unanimously that the internet provides students limitless access to information, 77% of teachers Pew interviewed believed that digital technologies had a "mostly positive" impact on how their students conducted research.
Yet almost the same ratio of teachers agreed with the suggestion that internet search engines condition students to assume that information is always quickly and easily available. Google and Wikipedia have become the authoritative resources of choice; only 16% of teachers in the Pew survey believed their students would seek the assistance of a librarian.
Overall the survey's 50 questions reveal a trend that is hardly surprising: students today are far more media and technologically-savvy than ever before, but in some ways are less literate and more distracted than those of prior generations.
Source: The Guardian