Stumbled accross this fascinating up-to-date research study into Web 2.0 usage in the UK. The author David White of Oxford University, who was also referenced in the recent JISC report on E-Learning, clearly identifies the volume and characteristics of popular web 2.0 functions. The report indicates predictably that for almost every internet Web 2.0 function (social bookmarking, content sharing, blogging, etc) the Under 18 age group has the highest percentage of users.
What is also interesting is that use of Wikis, Wikipedia, reading blogs and discussion forums is about the same in all age groups, even up to the 65-74 age bracket. It seems that some web 2.0 functions have caught on much quicker in the older age groups, perhaps due to their tendency towards 'serious' content.
There is also evidence of online games/spaces use, where games such as World of Warcraft and Half Life are predominantly favoured by young people, whereas Second Life appears to have a much broader age appeal.
Further down the report, a graph of overall engagement clearly highlights the disparity of use between the ages, but future predictions indicate a levelling off as individuals move through the age groups.
If web 2.0 functions have great potential for learning, as I have argued in previous postings, and the 40 plus age group is currently under-using them as teaching resources, then it proves a greater need for teacher education on how the internet might be put to full use. See 'Welcome to Digitalia' below for how that might be accomplished.