Larry Rosen (2010), a psychologist from California State University, Dominguez Hills, applied the acronym WMD to describe wireless mobile devices which he observed have become the ICT device of choice for the first digital generation, and that choice was driven by the social interactions available via the devices. With these devices individuals are always connected and the devices are becoming more affordable, therefore ubiquitous. Rosen also points to two types of interaction that motivate young people to quickly adopt WMD’s: connections to friends and connections to communities that help them through the difficulties of adolescence; both are socially important.
According to Rosen, users of WMD’s are redefining information and interaction and their experiences are influencing their expectations of education. Users of WMD’s assume information is available everywhere and they value being skilled at finding information rather than being able to recall information. They have access to cognitive tools such as calculators and they value being facile with those tools over skill at traditional algorithms. They expect information to be pushed to them by the sources they choose and they expect to pull information from other sources as they need it and just at the moment when they need it. These characteristics of WMD-mediated information and interactions are expected to exert disruptive effects on instruction that follows the 20th century recitation script.
Rosen, Larry. 2010. Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.