" The CERI Project entitled New Millennium Learners (NML) started in 2007 with the global aims of investigating the effects of digital technologies on school-age learners and providing some recommendations on the most appropriate institutional and policy responses from the education sector. Adopting a classical approach, the project comprises two different phases: the first phase explores the demand side, i.e. the changes, if any, experienced by learners. This phase is currently ongoing until the end of 2008. In the second phase, current and emerging educational responses will be reviewed.
The paper is divided into four main sections and two annexes. The first section offers an update of the evidence base presented previously in the first background paper on this project [EDU/CERI/CD/RD(2006)3].1 The first issue presented in this section examines the speed at which digital technologies and services have become an integral part of the daily lives of children and teenagers across OECD countries and the extent to which their relationships with these technologies shape their activities, including how they manage social interactions and knowledge. The second and most important issue is how far the concept of NML can be applied to all OECD children and teenagers. No matter how attractive the label of NML might be, by no means should it be used to describe a generation-wide phenomenon because the effects of digital technologies on learners are deeply influenced by factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status. The second section presents and discusses the main research findings in controversial areas such as the effects of technologies on i) cognitive skills development, ii) social values and lifestyles, and iii) educational performance. This section reveals how little is known and examines how empirical research has contributed more to highlighting the negative impacts of technology than to unveiling and documenting its positive sides. Accordingly, a plea for more empirical research as well as for more cumulative efforts is made. The third section presents areas in the project that have not yet been addressed because the relevance of these areas has only recently emerged. In particular, it discusses the importance of incorporating the voices of NML into the development of the project from now on. The final section presents some concluding remarks arising from these preliminary findings. In addition, the two annexes provide an update of the progress of the project from a managerial perspective, and the assessment and recommendations made by the Project’s Advisory Committee."