About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6777-6785
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain


J. Ferreira, L. Oliveira

University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
We discuss the new digital technologies, the new human skills, new literacies, related to schooling and education in general. Is there indeed a Net Generation? And if that’s so, who are we referring to?

Tapscott (2009) calls the generation born in the last century’s late 80’s the “Generation Net”, Prensky (2001) thinks of them as “Digital Natives” and Veen (2009) identifies them as “Homo Zappiens”. According to the authors, these designations refer to the specific characteristics of their “natural environment” and their consequent behaviour, such as internet references, their action on online digital worlds and the way they handle with digital information or the constant demanding of immediate answers (Veen, 2009). Prensky (2001) says that the children, teenagers and young men of the present times represent the first generation with continuous access to the latest technologies. They surround themselves with computers, videogames, digital music players, smartphones and other digital tools.

Net Generation: The Pollyanna Complex:
We assume that technological changes have made a huge impact in our culture, learning processes and ethics. In the last 20 years this has been discussed in a controversial way by technophiles and technophobics. Technophiles visualize an admirable man (net man), connecting to his peers by means of its own ubiquitous creation – the Web – and able of performing the most creative tasks. Technophobics visualise a stupid and uneducated man (dumb man), victim of the outsourcing of his best intellectual skills. We will present a literature review and try to show in which ways this duality describes, in a coherent way, the ordinary man we know.

In Between Immanence and Transcendence:
Up to which point is the discussion around technology, able to explain coherently, the social and economic issues that Western societies are facing?
In which way can Kent Anderson’s statement (2010) “The bigger problems facing this generation, like every generation before, are economic […]” be a simple and pragmatic explanation to understand the crossroad humanity lives in nowadays?
Seeing further ahead, how can we tell if our current situation is just another phase previously experienced in the history of humanity or if this is the breaking point with our past?

Turning to the concepts of Immanence and Transcendence, we identify the basic elements of this controversy and confirm if this current moment in our history is the moment of the rising of a new immanence – a new crisis born from the non-stopping conflict between the immanent and creative strengths and the transcendent strengths that maintain the prevailing order.

This text discusses and confronts ideas, concepts and visions, standing its basis on logical reasoning (deduction) and experimental grounding (induction). It takes the form of an essay based on a critical review of the literature around the main subject.

The concept of Net Generation, being operationally useful and important, is also, and mostly, a trendy buzz word that confuses educators and teachers and distracts them from the real problems of their profession. And that, especially in the field of educational technology research, helps to obliterate social, cultural and economic occurrences that should be taken in account when introducing digital technologies in the current learning processes.
author = {Ferreira, J. and Oliveira, L.},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {6777-6785}}
AU - J. Ferreira AU - L. Oliveira
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 6777
EP - 6785
ER -
J. Ferreira, L. Oliveira (2014) THE MYTH OF THE BRAVE NEW WEB MAN, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, pp. 6777-6785.