I now have an answer (kind of…sort of) to one of the questions I posed back in April when talking about Second Life.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a study on home broadband adoption in the US. Pew reports that 47% of US adults have broadband at home. We still don't know if these are fat tubes or skinny tubes running into houses around the country. That would be interesting data that may exist. I haven't really looked for it.
There are certain demographic categories for households with broadband and it shouldn't come as a surprise. "In particular, broadband penetration remains high among Americans ages 18-49, those with annual household incomes over $75,000 and college graduates." These people tend to also live in urban (52%) or suburban (49%) areas. (p.4)
Hat tip to Stephen Abram.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a new research report today on Wikipedia's popularity (complete PDF).
You are more likely to use Wikipedia if you are male (39%), 18-29 (44%), a college graduate (50%), or make more than $75,000 a year (42%). Wikipedia has 24% share of traffic of the top 20 educational web sites. Google Scholar comes in at number 6, Google Book Search at number 7, and the National Library of Medicine (I guess PubMed) at number 9.
I don't think we're doing a good job promoting the electronic library resources available at the state level, like the Ohio Web Library. Anyone in Ohio with a public library card can get instant access to a bunch of EBSCO databases, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a lot more.
As easy as that is to say, we all know what the real issue is though. The reason Wikipedia gets so much use is due to the fact that it is dead simple to discover via search. The Pew report points out that Wikipedia articles have a high number of in bound links. Therefore, they display near the top of Google results thanks to the PageRank algorithm.
The latest edition of the Horizon Report is now available for your browsing/reading pleasure. This is a joint publication from The New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. The technologies forecasted along with their time to adoption include:
- user created content (1 year or less),
- social networking (1 year or less),
- mobile phones (2 to 3 years),
- virtual worlds (2 to 3 years),
- new scholarship and emerging forms of publication (4 to 5 years), and
- massively multiplayer educational gaming (4 to 5 years)
The executive summary identifies several trends and challenges impacting higher education. "Information literacy increasingly should not be considered a given." [page 4] I agree with this statement, but would like to know who really considers information literacy a given in the first place? We try our best to teach students how to use our resources, but we know we don't reach everyone and even the ones we do reach are not always receptive to learning because it's all free on the web anyway.
The authors continue, "Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the information literacy skills of new students are not improving as the post-1993 Internet boomlet enters college." [page 4] Yep. The continual challenge we face is helping our students straddle the digital and analog worlds during information research. We are also challenged to help faculty understand that their students do not approach research the same way that they did 10-20 years ago when they were in college.
I enjoy reading/browsing this report. However, I am always concerned about how I can really apply any of these technologies locally.