The Netgeneration: The Internet as classroom and community. This essay is by Jennifer A. Hendricks. It was published in Current Issues in Education, 7(1).
From the site:
Classroom practice in the real world has become increasingly incommensurate with the lived experience of students. Policy dictates, packaged curricula, the commodification and commercialization of the classroom, along with high stakes testing have objectified students. Young people, consisting of all age cohorts and class fractions, have never known their world to not include the Internet. They are well versed and completely comfortable with negotiating its space. They have been utilizing this technology since before they started kindergarten, whether it was in games that they played or Internet sites they logged on to.
Much has been made of the Internet's potential to wrest power from the interests that dominate it. The Internet allows ordinary citizens to spread the word and organize resistance as a form of popular culture. In short, to fight power. As a technological artifact and a popular image, the Internet provides a site for exploring and positioning "the world.” It is necessary to recognize and critically examine other sites and or institutions as places of knowledge learning. And where do the technology savvy teens go to learn? They utilize the Internet as a major pedagogical site. As John Street (1997) contends, "…culture neither manipulates nor mirrors us; instead we live through and with it" (p. 4). It seems that we are not compelled by culture to imitate it but rather to immerse ourselves in it. In studying the culture of emerging (trans) national cybersocieties, we have arrived at a new moment in history: a moment in which such terms as class, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and ideology are no longer useful (because they assume singular "identities" for example). We are, according to postmodern theories, now in a culture that is post-national, post-ideological and post-class--a culture shaped not by "production" (labor) but by our social relations of shopping ("consumption").